FIVE seven-foot-high "gift boxes" have been assembled in London
to highlight what campaigners describe as the "deceitful promise"
made to victims of human trafficking, a crime that is expected to
increase during the Olympic Games.
The boxes, decorated like a present on the outside and covered
with true stories of trafficking victims on the inside, are the
work of the Stop the Traffik campaign and the UN. Staffed by 400
volunteers, three of the boxes will remain throughout the Games at
St Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, and Southwark Cathedral.
Two more will be moved around the capital during the same
The Revd Steve Chalke, founder of Stop the Traffik, and a UN
special adviser on human trafficking, said: "It's a wonderful piece
of public art. On the outside, it's a gift: it's enticing, which
tells you what trafficking is. On the inside, it's a trap. Each
surface inside tells you the real story of a person trafficked
The stories include that of Hanna, a 16-year-old sold in Nigeria
after her parents were deceived into believing that she would be
given a better life in the UK. On arrival in London, she was made
to work as a domestic servant, exploited for almost ten years,
physically abused, and denied contact with the outside world. She
eventually ran away, and her captor was convicted.
There is evidence that human trafficking has increased in the
host cities of previous sporting events. During the Olympic Games
in Athens in 2004, the Greek minis- try of public safety reported a
95-per-cent increase in the num- ber of human-trafficking victims
Human trafficking, which can include forced street crime, sexual
exploitation, and forced labour, is as big a problem as the illegal
arms trade, the International Labour Organisation states, and is
the second largest criminal industry in the world, after drug
trafficking. The UN estimates that more than 2.4 million people are
being exploited in this way by criminals at any given time.
Each gift box includes details of a confidential free police
helpline. Any concerns can be reported on 0800 7832 589.