Manchester must unify to tackle sex crime shame, warns first female bishop

The awareness of human trafficking, forced marriage and exploitation is the responsibility of the ‘whole community’ and not just Manchester airport, says the new Bishop of Stockport.

The Right Reverend Libby Lane, the first female Bishop, made one of her first official public appearances in her new role to launch Manchester Airport’s Travel Safe Week.

The initiative  supported by the Stop the Traffik charity – aims to train airport workers to identify vulnerable passengers and put a stop to human trafficking through UK ports and airports.

She was joined by Councillor Sameem Ali, a local councillor in Manchester; who campaigns to help girls and women who are vulnerable to forced marriage to know where to find help.

FIRST APPEARANCE: Bishop of Stockport supports Travel Safe Week

The Right Reverend said: “It’s important that faith communities stand alongside statutory bodies, voluntary organisations like Stop the Traffik and businesses in standing up for those who are most vulnerable.

“I want to honour the work already being done by Manchester Airport, as well as the airlines and companies based here – and above all the work of Border Force and our Police – in protecting those in danger of violence and exploitation.

“This is not just a problem that belongs to one part of our community alone: the problem of human trafficking, forced marriage and exploitation belongs to the whole community.

“The solution is therefore also to be found by the whole community, together, by sharing responsibility and creating awareness.”

According to Stop the Traffik, 9.1million men, women and children are trafficked across borders and within their own country at any given moment.

Unicef claim that 1.2million children are currently trafficked every year.

It is also the second largest source of illegal income worldwide, exceeded only by drugs trafficking.

MM reported last month that sex crimes are ‘rife’ across Manchester, as vast incidents of sexual violence, human trafficking and genital mutilation are going unreported.

Kate Allison, a spokeswoman for Manchester Action on Street Health (MASH), an organisation which aids sex workers, said: “We are extremely busy. We were increasingly busy last year. We saw over 1,100 individual women.

“What we are seeing is an increase in women returning to sex work, who had previously stopped who are doing a bit as a response to a financial crisis.”

The article reported that while sex workers are vulnerable to violence, the hidden and stigmatised nature of the work meant that victims are less inclined to report incidents.

Stop the Traffik claim that human trafficking is the fastest growing global crime.

Throughout Travel Safe Week, Manchester airport will display posters and leaflets in different languages to raise passenger awareness.

Image courtesy of Sammis Reachers, with thanks.

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