Posts Tagged ‘Slavery’

Author: Ben Kaye - Librettist, Co-founder
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July 2nd 2014
Four men and a woman have been jailed for conspiring to traffic women into the UK for sexual exploitation.

The gang trafficked more than 100 women into the UK, some of whom were forced into prostitution and raped…

 

It couldn’t happen here in the UK, could it?

Story here…

 

I’m assuming that WordPress will not work to display this link, so here is the link in full:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-28123869

 

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Author: Ben Kaye - Librettist, Co-founder
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June 26th 2014
Seven people from the same family have been sentenced to 66 years in prison between them after they were convicted of trafficking three Polish nationals into the UK.

We continue to hear from some people who simply do not believe that Human Trafficking exists.

Thank you to City Hearts, who were instrumental in the rescue of three Polish people Trafficked into the UK and the successful prosecution and jailing of seven Traffickers.

Extract:

The three victims were lured to the UK with the promise of paid work and a better life.

As soon as they arrived, their identity documents were confiscated

The victims were subjected to a catalogue of violence and degrading treatment.

One night, having been held captive for approximately 12 months, one of the victims managed to escape, subsequently living on the streets for four months before finding assistance from a charity called City Hearts.

Sound familiar?

www.itv.com/news/london/update/2014-06-20/7-people-sentenced-for-human-trafficking-offences

#‎freedom‬ ‪#‎cityhearts‬

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Author: Ben Kaye - Librettist, Co-founder
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June 25th 2014
Audience reaction to Anya17 in San Francisco

 

“It is an extraordinarily powerful and emotional work. A tough and uncompromising story and the fact that it was in the form of an opera seemed as natural as breathing. There has never been anything like this on stage in San Francisco. Bravo a tutti at Opera Parallele.
While we were in the theatre some very young women being held as sex slaves were rescued in a trafficking sting mere blocks away. “
Mike – 23 June

“STRONGLY recommend ANYA 17. Today at 4pm is the last show, if you haven’t seen it go get your tickets. It’s more than just an opera… it’s an amazing, eye-opening msg bringing awareness around human trafficking… I saw it on FRIDAY and I am still thinking of it. THANK YOU Opera Parallele for bringing awareness on such an important subject to our community through music and theater.”
Raeeka – 22 June

“I saw Anya 17 tonight. I want to say amazing, but in truth it was difficult and disturbing. I think that is the point… Congratulations to you and everyone else for such a difficult piece.”
Quincy – 22 June

“Really proud of Opera Parallele…they are doing important things. Experienced a great piece of theatre tonight.”
Leah – 20 June

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Author: Ben Kaye - Librettist, Co-founder
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December 16th 2013
Together in Legislation…

uk-politics-25389760

All of us who have been involved with Anya17 are very encouraged to learn that the increased public awareness and pressure exerted by so many Anti-Trafficking / Slavery initiatives and organisations in the past years has resulted in proposed legislation to recognise and attempt to address the multiple issues of modern day Slavery in the UK.

 

Anya17 was written to raise awareness of modern day Slavery, and the Sex Trafficking of adults and minors in particular, and perhaps therefore surely we should take some satisfaction in having helped spread the message and raising awareness of these issues?

 

The real truth is that we know many of the NGOs supporting Anya17 have differing opinions and reservations about the proposed legislation as it stands. All of these conviction-driven NGOs are trying to do ‘the right thing’, so understandably many of these indispensable organisations attack the problems from slightly different angles.

 

Many are on ‘the front line’, dealing with victims every day, some are on ‘the front line’ but concentrate their efforts on rescuing children… or on rescuing adults. The greatest strengths of some are in advocacy, awareness, cooperation, legislation or in the prosecution of Traffickers.

 

The real work is therefore just beginning…

 

The important thing we all must recognise is that:

 

WE ARE ALL DOING THIS FOR THE SAME REASON – TO ERADICATE THE TRAFFICKING, EXPLOITATION AND SLAVERY OF HUMAN BEINGS.
The next few months will be a very difficult time – a time in which alliances may be brokered, broken and re-formed, perhaps ultimately to the detriment of less-influential organisations, or more importantly, to the victims.

 

Politics is a slippery, difficult game. I just hope that whatever becomes Law will be for the benefit of ALL victims – past, present and future.

 

LET THERE BE NO POLITICAL  ‘DIVIDE AND CONQUER’


It is far more important to provide a united front in terms of proposed legislation than to allow our different initiatives to fall into dis-unity. If this happens then the Government will be provided with a real opportunity to negotiate with various ‘major’ players and ‘pick and choose’ in terms of the legislation proposed. The Human Trafficking Foundation has provided leadership, a Forum and an ideas-exchange, and I hope that they will be able to pull together our disparate ideas but unified goals into a coherent initiative, against which any opposition to new legislation may not find any defence.

 

Only time will tell… but please let us not waste the time, nor the opportunity. Let’s just make it happen.

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Author: Ben Kaye - Librettist, Co-founder
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December 7th 2013
Second Review of Anya17 in Germany

“No champagne this evening, no Premierengeschnatter (Premiere Chatter). Only concern. And silence. Then applause, roaring loudly after seventy minutes of silence…”

 

No champagne this evening, no Premierengeschnatter. Only concern. And silence. Then applause, roaring loudly after seventy minutes of silence. No known opera evening in Meiningen Kammerspielen, for many reasons. The subject is not a unusual in musical theater: the prostitute, the prostitute. But it is not those romanticized as the Alban Berg’s Lulu or Violetta in Verdi’s “La Traviata”. Instead, it’s about young flesh, fresh from Eastern Europe, numbered. Thus, no suitor has to bother with pesky name when he ordered the goods woman.

Forced prostitution. To raise this issue on a stage as well, as it creates through the means of music that pretends less images rather in the minds of the audience that has to Adam Gorb not a composer still married. “Anya 17″ has the Briton called his chamber opera, translation superfluous, as superfluous as the concrete location of the plot. Anya’s story could play anywhere between Eastern and Western Europe: A poor girl who loves for the first time. Want to believe the nice thing about this life in the West, which promises you the beloved. And then without it ending up in a dump. For money to buy, day and night.

Tell that everything is from the perspective of women to men has librettist Ben Kaye the marginal roles intended for, ugly roles: love vorgaukelnde decoy Uri that sex with love be confused Free Gabriel (both parts sung by Rodrigo Porras Garulo) and the brutal pimp Viktor . Stephanos Tsirakoglou shows him as a patronizing dealer who supplies the market only what this requires. And for that the hand is staying.

The market wants girls like Anya, whose dismay flashes her fate from each shooed views from every gesture, from each desperate tone of Anne Ellersiek. He also wants girls like Natalia (Carolina Krogius), happy girls, raped by father, clarified by strangers at age ten, twelve working the streets. He wants girls like the blind Elena (Camila Ribero-Souza), bruised resigned to their existence. But he does not want a girl like Mila (Elif Aytekin) whose body apparently suffers from this market than for a Free favor could find him. The reason has to die is disposed of.

Director Mareike Zimmermann leaves the four women occur in nude Suites, like bathing suits with sewn breasts and buttocks. The alienated, makes the scenes appear grotesque. The sex is just as ugly as those men who thus make a deal in this oppressive intensive production. The viewer comes when looking at the stage like a voyeur before looking to a container with mirror foil, the times reflected, sometimes gives a view of the scene free.

What happens twice in the music Gorb that makes kicks and punches audible. According opulent with two musicians on percussion is the fifteen-member Court Orchestra under the direction of the first Kapellmeister Leo McFall occupied. It leads – enriched with quotes – sound in two opposite spheres. After kicking off with folklore bonds it changes with the flight to the West. Commented it the glittering world of the goods ironically with Broadway and jazz. In the score, there are so cliché, as well as on stage plenty of cliche-affected can be seen, the touched yet or perhaps because. At the end of a little hope for Anya.

More still affected after all the pain, blood, fear. No known opera evening.

Further performances on 8./14. December 10 January 8 February every 20 clock

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Author: Ben Kaye - Librettist, Co-founder
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November 21st 2013
Breaking News: Slavery in the UK today…

Many thanks to Richard Wistreich at the RNCM for alerting the Anya17 team to this story. I can only say that fact is often more terrible and disturbing than fiction:

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/nov/21/three-women-rescued-from-decades-of-slavery-live-coverage

Apologies all if this link doesn’t work – I’ve only tried three times.

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Author: Ben Kaye - Librettist, Co-founder
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October 26th 2013
“Mein Name ist Anya” – Anya17 highlights Human Trafficking in Deutsche Zeitung and is invited to “go national” across Romania

We couldn’t be more delighted that the Romanian premiere of Anya17 prompted a fact-based report on Human Trafficking in Deutsche Zeitung (Romanian Edition).

Following the performance, the President of Pro Prieyenia Arad (a partner in the performance) received a call from the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Bucharest, inviting Pro Prieyenia Arad and The Friendship Foundation (UK – Romania) to go national with both the Anti-Trafficking Symposium and Anya17! We couldn’t possibly have hoped for a better result!

On that note, it was also wonderful to hear about individual audience experiences of Anya17. The following is typical:

“The standing ovation, which followed what seems like minutes of ‘gob-smacked’ silence, indicated the general audience response. A senior police office from South Africa declared to me the following day that the opera had changed the direction of his vocation.”

Let’s all keep our fingers crossed and hope that in addition to Romania, Germany (Nov 28th), San Francisco (next year) that Anya17 continues to raise awareness of the horrors of Human Trafficking.

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Author: Caroline Clegg - Director
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February 15th 2012
Anya17: Director Caroline Clegg’s invitation to listen to the survivors

I would firstly like to express my gratitude to the extraordinary young women that we met at the recent Charity visit and to the volunteers and all good men and women who continue to give not only their time and resources, but “a part of their hearts” to people who have suffered at the hands of traffickers, slave gang masters and, often times, their own family members.

I have been involved in creating theatre work on the issue of slavery – and that is what trafficking is – for five years now. Firstly in creating Slave – A Question of Freedom; secondly a new piece of drama on grooming, Takeaway Teenager (June 2012) and presently Anya17 and I can say that the reality still continues to shock me intensely. I am saddened daily at the slowness of change which results in more people like the women we met suffering.

Sometimes the sadness translates into feeling impotent, despondent and ineffective as an artist. I wonder if we really contribute to making a difference. We are simply translators. We make choices of how to present someone’s story and throughout the creative process we develop a narrative that we hope will provoke, relate and reveal, in this case the underground world of buying and selling girls as sex slaves.

Once we have a show we hope that the audience will bear witness, become reactive and perhaps demand that more be done to stop this trade in humans. But will they?

For some, the opera or play may stay in mind for as long as it takes to drink a gin and tonic at the bar. For others it will it be like reading the newspaper; a repulsive story for a few moments but once read it will be discarded because it is not an issue that affects them and there is the mortgage to be paid, the kids need new shoes and yes whilst it’s very sad, there is nothing we can do is there…. Is there?

But perhaps it could help people to listen and listen with hearing and understanding ears to their stories until we, governments and security forces can’t pretend to be deaf anymore?

I don’t believe that not listening because it is too upsetting is an option, because only in hearing will those who have been trafficked gain freedom and justice.

Imagine listening to a girl; someone’s daughter, someone’s mother, someone’s sister, telling you that they had met a man, fallen head over heels in love and followed her boyfriend or by now fiancé to a new place to make a life for themselves.

When they arrive at that place she is beaten into submission, half starved, drugged and locked in a room where up to thirty men have sex with her every day. There could be a girl like that living on your street.

There are thousands of girls (and boys) in the UK now in this situation and they need help. During the recent Charity visit I had the privilege to meet three incredible women who had escaped and survived similar terror. The effect of meeting them was not only deeply humbling but emotionally challenging and thank God, because it stoked and renewed my anger and determination to give voice to their testimony and celebrate not only their dignity and courage but their indomitable will to survive and to rebuild their lives. After five years of work in this area you would think that you would be immune, that you had heard every possible horror. But every girl or boy is an individual human being with equal rights as you and I and part of his or her life has been stolen and they deserve to be heard.

Thank you again to the Charity and especially thank you to the remarkable young women for allowing me to sit and bear witness to your stories, to share a cup of tea and cake with you and see you smile especially as you told us of being reunited with your children and families. But mostly, thank you for distressing and disturbing me and for giving me a chance to listen and react.

As I re-read the opera that night, tears streamed down my face as the girl’s stories became embedded in the notes on the page. The screams within the melody were their screams loud and clear and the silent bars of violence, rape, murder and degradation were the silenced voices of those still enslaved.

I am realistic enough to know that an opera will not stop the sex trade and it will not stop men wanting to go to a brothel. But I do know that if you watch Anya17 you will be changed and with change comes action, and with action those at this Charity and others around the world will have a voice.

As I said above, as artists we are simply translators of stories which we then present on stage to give their voice a platform on which to be heard.

Please come and listen and ensure that those who have escaped, the survivors, are not victims but victors. It is our duty to keep this issue on the front pages and in the forefront of the minds of politicians who have the power to make real change.

Thank you for reading.
Caroline Clegg

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Author: Caroline Clegg - Director
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December 19th 2011
Anya17 Director & Cast: First Read-Through

Anya17’s award-winning Director Caroline Clegg explains her ethos of using the Arts to raise awareness of modern day slavery and the victims of sex trafficking, and why she has chosen to be involved with the opera…

On Monday December 12th I had my first read-through with the cast of Anya17.  Although Anya17 is an opera, it is useful to speak the libretto as text at this stage prior to the singers learning the notes. I feel privileged to be working on this important project and would like to invite every person who reads this blog not only to come to see the performance, but also to join Anti-Slavery International, for only with action will we end slavery.

For the past five years, and intensively for the last two and a half, I have been immersed in the issue of slavery with particular reference to Mende Nazer.  I read her book, Slave six years ago and adapted it into the award winning play Slave – A Question of Freedom with my company Feelgood which has just finished its second tour.  It is the true story of her abduction, rape and slavery in Sudan and the UK.  She was one of the lucky ones and escaped in 2000.  Now she uses her voice to help those who remain voiceless namely the 27 million nameless in slavery today who cannot speak out.

Working on the play has taught me a myriad of things, the most important being that we as artists and story tellers have a paramount responsibility to be strong advocates for the victims and to represent their stories authentically.  Enslavement is the cruelest and most inhuman act one human being can perpetrate on another and the very fact that in the 21st century it is as prevalent today as it was 200 years ago is abhorrent.  In Anya17 we will tell the story honestly, without compromise or neglect for the truth and we invite you all to come and watch, particularly if you are a man.  Let’s not shirk this issue.  Slavery today is predominantly perpetrated by males, particularly in sexual slavery.  And yes, let’s use the word slavery.  Trafficking is just a means of transportation.  People are being bought and sold into slavery.  What else do you call it if someone is forced to work 7 days a weeks, 18 hours a day without pay and they are locked in a house without any means to escape or communicate with the outside world?  People are sold to become domestic slaves in someone’s house, or as part of an unpaid gang to work on building sites, in catering outlets making sandwiches for supermarkets or as drug mules or commonly as prostitutes servicing up to 30 men a day.  Right now there could be someone in your street or town who is enslaved and you would know nothing about it.

A modern slave is de-humanised, brainwashed into non action, because she has been drugged and terrorised into thinking that if she tries to escape not only will she/he be killed but his/her captors will also find their family and kill them too.  Often the enslaved person forced into prostitution is simply known by a number  – hence Anya17 or in Mende’s case ‘abda’ or ‘yebit’ meaning slave and person worthy of no name.  Imagine if your son or daughter, your mum or your sister, being groomed and seduced to go to London for a ‘job’ and you never saw them again!”

Our generation is charged with ending slavery.  William Wilberforce spent 36 years in getting parliament to make it illegal now we have to stop it all together.  The Victorians stamped out a visual transatlantic slave trade; now it is up to us to eradicate the secret and dangerous underground trade in people.

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Author: Ben Kaye - Librettist, Co-founder
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October 26th 2011
House of Lords

Ben Kaye ~ Human Trafficking Foundation Chairman Anthony Steen ~ Adam Gorb ~ House of Lords

It was a great honour indeed for Adam Gorb and I to be invited to The House of Lords on October 17th to represent Anya17 at the inaugural HTF Media Awards. Never having visited Parliament before, the sense of occasion was even more heightened as we were ushered past the thousands of tourists, through the private gates and into this extraordinary centre of power, declaimed by its extravagant, almost gothic architecture and interior restrained magnificence.

Neither Parliamentary film footage nor the ubiquitous London postcards could have prepared me for the scale or opulence of The Lords. Both Adam and I though spent our time wisely though, talking with many representatives from Human Trafficking Charities and political figures about Anya17, as well as listening to speeches from Trafficking victims and media figures.

Having seen so many ‘shots’ of The Houses of Parliament from across the river it was strange to see the London Eye and so many other new landmarks from the deeply historically-entrenched perspective of The Lords. Despite the radically-altered skyline I couldn’t help but be transported back to Pepys, the Great Fire and strangely enough the freezing of The Thames, together with its accompanying Chestnut sellers, braying their wares from behind glowing braziers on the ice – such is the lot of a poet!

From an Arts perspective I was absolutely bowled over by a truly extraordinary exhibition of charcoals by the Artist Rosalie Watkins, whose powerful work portrayed a Trafficking victim ‘Kira’. If you haven’t seen these utterly exceptional works of art then you absolutely MUST visit http://www.rosaliewatkins.co.uk/rosaliewatkins.co.uk/Human_Trafficking_Project.html

In essence though our presence at The Lords was an opportunity to rouse the media and raise awareness of Sex Trafficking in particular and more generally Human Trafficking in the UK. Could I therefore take this opportunity to thank Tamlin Vickers at the HTF for the invitation following our Award nomination. Press, BBC three regions TV and much other coverage swiftly followed, including an additional promise of coverage from BBC Radio 3.

My next blog will cover my visit to No. 10 Downing Street and the possibility of a performance in Strasbourg in April courtesy of Bob Walter MP and the UK’s Presidency of The Council of Europe.

Auditions for Anya17, (and filming) begin in just over a week, so I’ll no doubt be back in touch very soon!

Oh yes… Funding! To date we have received no funding whatsoever, so if you would like to help (and incidentally become the owner of the very ‘first’ T Shirt design before it changes in a few days time) please spend the equivalent of a couple of double mocca chocca chinos and you can say that you were in at the beginning! http://anya17.spreadshirt.co.uk

Please be aware that the back of the T Shirts contain sexually explicit content appropriate to the cause. For younger wearers I recommend the ‘Front Only’ option.

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