Human Trafficking in the UK and Beyond

Hear “trafficking” and of what do you think? Women being shipped around South East Asia for sex work? Crowded sweatshops in India?

These are undoubtedly huge issues but the extent of human trafficking today is more far-reaching than many realise. On Tuesday’s meeting we kicked off our new campaign with a visit from Euan of Stop the Traffik, who volunteers in the Glasgow branch of the international charity. The grassroots group raise awareness in communities to make it more difficult for traffickers to slip through the net.

Key points from the talk were as follows:

–          Trafficking should not be confused with an immigration problem.

–          Trafficking equals slavery.

–          Traffickers’ prerogative is the exploitation of vulnerability.

On the same day that we held our meeting, the National Crime Agency released a report which shows that the number of trafficked people in the UK has more than doubled in the past year. They stated that their estimate numbers will be far below the actual number, which remains hidden from view. Euan suggests that the increased statistics may be down to an improvement in detection processes. Apparently there are more slaves in the world today than there ever have been in the past.

Victims of trafficking can be lured by the promise of marriage or work. They can be forced into prostitution, unpaid labour, domestic slavery, or crime activity. Violence, rape and induced drug and alcohol addiction are all used as weapons of control. Psychological control is a less detectable but equally dangerous method.

Euan gave some specific examples of trafficking in the UK. One young Nigerian girl was promised marriage in the UK but found herself being forced to work in a brothel. When she became pregnant, she was forced into abortion, then later turned out onto the street. In another case four Czech men seeking work were enslaved in Birmingham and made to live in slum-like conditions.

The internet has put vulnerable victims within the reach of traffickers in ways that were not previously possible. The “business” is the second most profitable of all organised crime. When considering why the industry is catching up with drug-dealing in terms of money quanitites, Euan says: “You can sell a body again and again.” These chilling thoughts can go some way to explain why the problem continues to grow.

Stop the Traffik are focussing on two international campaigns at the moment, targeted at the cotton industry and the chocolate industry. Fairtrade branding only refers to the picking and harvesting of the cotton. The manufacturing stage goes un-policed and many Western clothing chains are oblivious to the fact that people in the factories they buy from have been trafficked or are being underpaid. Children, particularly in West Africa, are often used to collect cocoa beans for no payment. One Amnesty member from Ghana suggests that people there might give their children to family members to be worked on their farms for nothing, so the children themselves are not aware that they are being abused. Consumer awareness can put pressure on ignorant Western companies to decrease demand for cheap labour and tackle the problem.

In April, Stop the Traffik will be lobbying at the Scottish Parliament to push a proposed bill which addresses the issue. Amongst other things, it outlines a new victim support service and a single coherent definition of what human trafficking is. Unfortunately the Scottish Parliament have not yet backed the bill, instead turning attention to Westminster’s Modern Slavery bill, which is more focussed on crime rather than the implicated human rights abuses.

If you are in Glasgow during the Commonwealth Games, look out for Stop the Traffik’s ‘Gift Boxes’ popping up on the streets, which lure in passers-by with an attractive exterior then reveal to them the realities of human trafficking on the inside.

Have a look on for more information.


On a brighter note: SECRET POLICEMAN’S BALL!

Hopefully you have all got your tickets by now and are looking forward to an evening of jokes and merriment.

If not then get them for the reduced advanced price of £5/7 (with after-party) up until midnight on Friday by clicking here:

Also if you missed it and want a taster for the event, here’s an article that qmunicate let me write about why it will be so wonderful:

See you there folks.

Tuesday 18th February: STOP THE TRAFFIK Presentation and the Secret Policeman’s Ball!

Hi everyone,

Thanks to those of you who took part in the Guantanamo Bay demonstration last week – it was wet and drizzly but we still managed to get around campus a bit! Here are the photos and blog. There was actually an article in The Guardian last Tuesday about a legal challenge to the force-feeding of detainees, which many are being subjected to. Here is a short video that describes this brutal practice.

If you haven’t yet voted in the Rector election, here are some responses from candidates about their commitment to human rights.

Next meeting: Tuesday 18th February, Committee Room 1, QMU

Human Trafficking

We are starting our next big campaign by having a discussion about recent cases of human trafficking  in the UK. A guest speaker from Stop the Traffik Glasgow is coming to give a presentation and we can discuss ideas for campaigning on this issue.

Visit for more information.


Saturday 22nd February: GU Amnesty’s 6th Annual Secret Policeman’s Ball + Afterparty hosted by Philanthrobeats!



I hope you all have your tickets by now and are bringing along friends/neighbours/relatives. If not, get them online:

Last Week of Publicity

We will be flyering all week so please give us a hand if you have time to spare, and take a bundle away with you from the meeting to hand out in all your classes. Remember that we are having a bake sale on Wednesday 11am – 4pm for further publicity, so please bring cakes and/or enthusiasm!

We will also need people to help us set up on the night so if you are free beforehand then your help would be much appreciated!

GU Amnesty Climbs Goatfell!! 29th-30th March

Well we certainly tried last year but it was quite snowy…However, fingers crossed we’ll make it to the top this time!

This is a great trip and a great way to raise money. The walk isn’t too difficult so if you are keen but unsure then I would encourage you give it a try! Of course, if you have any questions then send us a message. Here’s the event page.

Don’t forget…


Action for Change, AIUK HQ London, 28th Feb – 1st March

Booking is now open and it’s FREE! Let us know if you are keen and we can help you to arrange travel to London.

See the event page and website for details of the agenda and the booking form.


Finally, one of our members is raising money by JUMPING OUT OF A PLANE, and all for a great cause. Louise would love some more sponsors, so have a look at why she’s doing it and chip in if you can.


Keep wrapped up in those ponchos,


Tuesday 4th February: SPB and Guantanamo Bay Banner-Making

Hello GU Amnesty!

A big welcome to our new members who signed up at the re-freshers fair and to our new committee members as well. The results of our EGM last week are as follows:

Campaigns Coordinator – Ali Cooper

Press Officer – Ellen MacAskill

Ordinary Board Member – Alex Pancheva

Last week was especially busy with the events by the Coalition for Syrian Refugees, including the panel discussion, the challenge and the ceilidh. We raised over £600 for charities supporting Syrian refugees! It was great to see some of you at these events and you can read all about it on our website with Ellen’s first blog as Press Officer.

We are back in our usual spot on Tuesday for a more light-hearted meeting after last week’s hard-hitting documentary about Syria. Thanks again to Amby from UNICEF on Campus who came along for the discussion and if you missed the documentary ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ then you can find it here: **This documentary contains footage of burn victims, including children and young people.**

Coca-Cola Petition

GU Amnesty’s petition to Coca-Cola has been live for about a week on The petition demands that Coca-Cola put the LGBT rainbow on their products to truly support LGBT people as they continue to sponsor the Winter Olympics in Sochi. At time of writing, we have about 8,000 signatures!!

Our Publicity Officer, Nikola, has been tweeting celebrities all over the place and asking them to show support for our campaign. Please join her by tweeting everyone you know! Here’s the link.

Next meeting: Tuesday 4th February – 5pm Committee Room 1, QMU

We will be having a meeting to make some banners for the Secret Policeman’s Ball as well as campaign materials for the Guantanamo Bay demonstration which will hopefully be happening in the next couple of weeks.

See below for updates on the Secret Policeman’s Ball publicity campaign.

Proposed agenda for the next few weeks:

Tuesday 11th February: Human Trafficking (Campaign for February/March)

–          A discussion about recent cases in the UK

–          Presentation from Stop the Traffik Glasgow. Last semester we made plans to run a joint campaign so I will get back in touch with the group and check their availability to come and talk to us.

Tuesday 18th February: Illegal organ harvesting in China with Guest speaker, Yuyu Williams

–          Every year we hear a presentation from Yuyu about the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China.

–          Documentary film screening of ‘Free China: the Courage to Believe’

Saturday 22nd February: GU Amnesty’s 6th Annual Secret Policeman’s Ball + Afterparty!

Our multi-award winning night of comedy is back. Once again we are bringing you the biggest student charity fundraiser on campus, hosted by Billy Kirkwood.

Our afterparty is being kindly hosted by Philanthrobeats who have recently gained official charity status and have raised money for many excellent causes since their first club night in 2012. Check out their website to see their events and how to get involved!

This year looks to be even bigger and better – remember to get your tickets in advance! Here’s the event page for those on Facebook and website page for those who aren’t.

Important updates – Flyering and photo competition

We have now received the posters and flyers and are ready to go crazy with publicity!

Debbie has created a Doodle for flyering so please add your name and spare an hour or so to hand out flyers on campus.

Very soon we will be launching a competition to see who can take a photo of themselves with a poster/flyer in the strangest place. More details will be announced at the meeting on Tuesday but the winner will receive a prize, so don’t forget to take away flyers from the meeting!

Upcoming events with Amnesty International UK

Action for Change: Friday 28 February & Saturday 1 March 2014 – Human Rights Action Centre, London
FREE activism training event for Amnesty Student Groups, perfect for new groups and new committee members.  Booking opening soon!  Keep an eye on

AIUK’s National Conference & AGM: Saturday 12 & Sunday 13 April 2014 – Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh
This is the annual event where Amnesty members and activists from all around the UK come together for a weekend of learning, discussion, and decision-making. We’re a membership-led organisation, so decisions made at the AGM are reflected in what we work on, and the way we work.
Student Human Rights Reporter Competition
Amnesty, the National Union of Students, the Observer and Unreported World are proud to once again be running a competition to find the Student Human Rights Reporter of the Year. The first prize is two weeks’ work experience at the Observer, a behind-the-scenes tour of Channel 4 News, and an award to be presented at the Amnesty International Media Awards 2014.

The competition deadline is 20 June 2014. Please see here for the Terms & Conditions and details of how to enter.

Any student can sign up for AIUK’s monthly emails by filling in this quick form.

I can’t believe it’s SPB month already! Let the countdown begin.

See you Tuesday,


Happy Holidays Everyone!

This has been a very successful first semester with our LGBT and Women’s Rights campaigns and our pub quiz, Jamnesty and Christmas carolling fundraisers. Our first meeting back will be on Tuesday 14th January for our Secret Policeman’s Ball publicity launch and social. We will then be starting our Guantanamo Bay campaign as well as continuing our plans for the Coalition for Syrian Refugees panel discussion event that we are helping to organise.

There will be more details next year, this is just a heads up. We have done a fair bit of letter writing so far, so I found this video to illustrate why it is so important in the hope of making you feel good for all your efforts. I hope you have enjoyed this semester, and have a fantastic holiday!

The Importance of Letter Writing

See you all in the new year,



Refugee Rights, Destitution and SPB Publicity

Hey everybody,


It’s nice walking around campus seeing the orange Secret Policeman’s Ball posters everywhere. Plans are pretty much all in place and we’ve even got tickets on sale both online and in the real world at the QMU box office. A fair few took tickets away last week to punt to their friends, so can you guys make sure that you bring either the tickets or, preferably, the money along to the meeting tomorrow – 5pm – QMU – Committee Room 1.

This Week:

It’s a really good topic this week, we’re going to be focussing on Human Rights for Refugees and focussing on the problem destitution especially in the UK and especially Glasgow. It is a real eye opening subject and one that has a pretty big impact on almost everyone who encounters it. It is at once a pretty sad indictment of the state of human rights in the UK and a pretty inspiring example of how some small groups are making a big difference.

It will mean a wee break in format though. No tables this week, we have a presentation and video followed by a postcard writing action.

Secret Policeman’s Ball Chat:

We’re getting closer and closer to the big day and its time to start sorting out who is going to flier where and when. If you want a piece of the fliering action please fill in rota on the Doodle here:

Coming Up:

  • Secret Policeman’s Ball – 9th February
  • Lecture by  Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International UK – 31st January

See you tomorrow,


Ball Success and This Week’s Meeting


Hi everyone!

The Secret Policeman’s Ball on Saturday night was a huge success! It was packed out and we made an amazing £1672.35 update: £2007.35!

A massive thank you to everyone who helped plan, promote, sell and came along- we did ourselves proud! We’re going to throw a wee celebration party sometime soon so I’ll keep you all in the loop about that, and some of the pictures are already up on Flickr.

This week’s meeting

We’re in committee room 1 in the QMU, Tuesday at 5pm.

We started watching Lord of War last week so we’ll continue watching that to keep in the Arms Trade Treaty mood! (see below for info about our upcoming event).

Coming Up

We’re hosting this Amnesty International Scotland event on campus. I’ve posted the official e-mail below:

Monday 13th February 2012, 10am – 11am.

Scottish campaigners launch Amnesty campaign

Scottish arms control campaigner, David Grimason, will be joined by politicians, campaigning organisations and activists at Glasgow University on Monday 13th February, to launch Amnesty Scotland’s campaign for a global Arms Trade Treaty.

David Grimason, who has pushed for tighter controls on the arms trade since his two year old son Alistair was shot and killed in a Turkish cafe in July 2003, will speak about his experiences and involvement in nearly ten years of arms control campaigning.

David Grimason said:

“It is incredible to think that we may finally be on the brink of delivering something that will prevent the devastating impact that the arms trade has on families around the world. After nearly a decade of governments saying that something must be done, now is the time to finally do it.

“It is up to our politicians to ensure that they put people’s lives ahead of profit, but it is also up to the people of Scotland to make their voices heard and demand that the UK is at the forefront of championing a comprehensive treaty on the sales and transfer of weapons.

“Every day more than 1500 people die from armed violence, the majority of these in countries which are not at war. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to really make a difference to the lives of so many. We have one shot, we must not squander it.”

Shabnum Mustapha, Programme Director for Amnesty in Scotland, said:

” It is mind-boggling to think that we have international treaties governing the selling of postage stamps, bananas, and even dinosaur bones. But when it comes to weapons and the impact that an irresponsible arms trade has on the lives of hundreds of thousands of people around the world, there are no controls.

“We need the UK government to stay true to their word and ensure that a treaty governing the sale and transfer of arms is comprehensive, is enforced and puts human rights at its heart.”

Monday 13th February marks the first day of a week-long conference where countries will debate how the final negotiating conference will operate, as well as some of the content of the treaty including aims and objectives, scope and reporting mechanisms. The final scheduled Treaty negotiating conference will be held at the UN Headquarters in New York from the 2nd until the 27th July this year.

Amnesty International is urging the public to increase pressure on the UK government by writing to party leaders and asking them to publicly commit to lead the way in securing a robust Arms Trade Treaty – for more

Amnesty International will be joined by Oxfam Scotland, Scottish Refugee Council and the Glasgow Human Rights Network. The event will include a panel discussion followed by a Q&A. Amnesty International will also launch its Scottish campaign briefing at the event.

Where: Lecture Theatre D, Boyd Orr Building, University Gardens, Glasgow G12 8QQ

When: 10am – 11am, Monday, 13 February 2012

So it sounds like a great, informative way to spend a morning’s hour! Other than this, we’ve got a ceilidh with STAR and the Red Cross in March, a band night and a club night in the pipeline; I’ll send you more details as I know them. As always, if you want to organise anything, have any ideas, or just want to get more involved, let us know!

Once again, thank you so much for all your help for The Secret Policeman’s Ball. All the hard work paid off – it was an amazing night!

See you tomorrow at the meeting!


Please join our Facebook group:

Secret Policeman’s Ball This Week!

Hello everyone!

Hope you are all well and happy.

Tomorrow’s meeting

We’re in Committee Room 1 in the QMU at 5pm. It’s on the third floor and if you’re lost we’ll have some Amnesty folk in the foyer to direct you!
We’ll continue looking at the arms trade, and start watching Lord of War, and Amnesty endorsed film about the trade. We’ll also get tickets sorted for The Secret Policeman’s Ball (which is this Saturday- eek!). If you took tickets away, please try to bring in the money to tomorrow’s meeting! If you have some spares, bring them back in, or if you can still sell some please keep them!

Coming up

– The Secret Policeman’s Ball 2012: THIS SATURDAY 4th February, 7:30pm. Our annual night of stand-up comedy and sketches is almost upon us! Loads of you having been working hard on this selling tickets, flyering, postering etc, and it’s the final push this week. If you haven’t got a ticket yet, do snap one up asap as they are selling faster now: here’s the online booking link:, and here’s the Facebook event page:!/events/195138300581324/. You can also buy tickets from the QMU box office!

– Arms Trade Treaty event with Amnesty Scotland: Monday 13th February: We’re in the planning stages of an event with Amnesty Scotland raising awareness about the Arms Trade treaty. At the moment we’re planning on having a few speakers, a debate and some interviews; as I get the details I’ll let you know! In the meantime follow this link for background information:

I’ll see you all tomorrow at the meeting or on Saturday at the ball!


Please join our Facebook group:

Meeting Tomorrow 24 January 2012


Hi Amnestiers!

Hope you have all had a good start to your week.

This week’s meeting

This week’s meeting is on Tuesday (tomorrow!), at 5pm in QUDOS in the QMU. We’ll be talking about the Arms Trade and taking a couple of actions, as well as continuing to prepare and plan the Secret Policeman’s Ball.

Coming up

– THE SECRET POLICEMAN’S BALL 2012, Saturday 4th February, 7:30pm, £5: Our annual night of comedy is two and a half weeks away! The 5000 fliers (!) have arrived so the big job in the run-up to the event is to get rid of them! I’ll distribute them among you at tomorrow’s meeting. Here’s the event page:
Tickets are also available here:
And you can also buy them at the QMU box office!

– Cake stall this Friday: We’re running a cake stall on Friday to drum up some publicity for the Ball. We’ll sort out a rota at the meeting tomorrow.

Ticket info: If you have a bunch of friends you want to sell tickets to you can grab some tomorrow. If you took some away last week and have money please bring it tomorrow or next week- thanks! We really rely on the enthusiasm of members to guarantee the success of the event, so keep plugging it to everyone you know!

See you tomorrow!


Please join our Facebook group:

Second Meeting of 2012 and Update!

Hi everyone!

Sorry this mailing is a day late!

Thanks to those who came to the pub quiz with Mary’s Meals last night – we had a great turnout! Hope you had fun! I’ll let you know how much money has been raised when it’s all counted up.

This week’s meeting

This week we are back in Qudos in the QMU, 5pm, Tuesday.

We’ll continue to focus on Guantanamo Bay, then for some encouragement take a look at some Amnesty success stories over the last few months! If you’re new this semester, we’ll have a table dedicated to introducing the charity and society.

As well as this, we’ll crack on with Secret Policeman’s Ball planning!

Coming up

THE SECRET POLICEMAN’S BALL 2012, Saturday 4th February: Our biggest event of the year is less than three weeks away! If you’ve not heard of it, this is a night of stand-up comedy and sketches all hosted by the brilliant Billy Kirkwood- keep your eyes peeled for posters up around campus and in the QMU. Tickets are only £5 and are available from the QMU box office and online at snap ’em up!

Last week we had loads of people offering to help- thanks so much! We have thousands of fliers arriving this week so we need plenty more people to scatter them around Glasgow. Here’s the event page for more info:

We also want to hold a bake sale to help promote The Secret Policeman’s Ball and a Guantanamo campaign on campus, but we’ll discuss that tomorrow and I’ll send you more details if you can’t make it to the meeting.

See you soon!


Please join our Facebook group:

Secret Policeman’s Ball!

The Secret Policeman's Ball 2012

The Secret Policeman’s Ball is back! On Saturday the 4th of February Glasgow University Amnesty International are hosting their fourth annual SPB: an award winning night of the best comedy Scotland has to offer.

We’re delighted to announce that double Bafta Award winning comedian Billy Kirkwood is back to compere for the fourth year running. Also giving you a lot to laugh about this year are: Graham Mackie, Chris Forbes, Sian Bevan, Barry McDonald, Des O’Gorman, Keir McAlister, Scott Gibson, and Jay Lafferty.

With a line up comprised of some of the best comedy talent in Scotland you barely need another reason to attend. But of course we’ve got one. The Secret Policeman’s Ball is a student-run benefit show being held in aid of Amnesty International. The work that Amnesty International does is vital in the fight against human rights abuses, and the positive impact that their work has is felt by individuals all over the world.

So join us for a night of comedy, laughter and high-jinks that’ll give you something to feel good about long after the show is over!

The Secret Policeman’s Ball 2012 is being held on Saturday 4th February at the Queen Margaret Union, University Gardens. Doors open at 7:30pm. Tickets are £5 and are available from the QMU box office and online at