Stop the Traffik, UN Launch Freedom Campaign

( [email protected] ) Oct 14, 2009 12:42 PM EDT

Stop the Traffik and the United Nations are looking to mobilize young people in the global campaign to end human trafficking.

The Start Freedom campaign was launched at the U.N. headquarters in New York on Monday to help young people make a change for trafficked peers.

It offers resources, including lesson plans, that teachers and students can use to explore the issues surrounding trafficking and what they can do to help put a stop to it.

The campaign culminates in March next year with Start Freedom Week during which those who took part can share their stories as part of the Greatest Freedom Show on Earth.

One 15-year-old campaigner said, “I read about a girl trafficked from the U.K. to Italy, she was forced to work on the streets, beaten, threatened and repeatedly raped. I thought about my life: school, mum and dad, hanging out, parties … freedom."

“It makes me sick that people treat each other like something you can buy at a market. People are not like mobile phones or coats. My school is taking part in Start Freedom. I’m glad we found a way to tell the world we care.”

Trafficking statistics are harrowing. At least one person is trafficked across international borders every minute, 80 percent of them being women, and around 1.2 million children are trafficked worldwide every year. Many end up in forced labor or the sex trade.

Stop the Traffik was founded by Steve Chalke of the Oasis group of Christian charities and schools. It campaigns to raise awareness of the scale of the problem and empower individuals and communities to stamp it out.

“Whether you’re at work, school or home, if you don’t stand up for those hidden in your community, who will?” said Victoria Kuhr of Stop the Traffik. “Young people sometimes feel like they can’t make a difference but we know that’s not true and this new project is going to inspire a new wave of activists set to change the world!”