Sophie Hayes | Human Trafficking Q&A
Today, Face to Faith is hosting special video conferences on Human Trafficking. When Sophie Hayes, a British girl who has escaped trafficking, heard about our video conferences, she wanted to contribute. Sophie believes that educating young people through programmes like Face to Faith is incredibly important for keeping children safe from human trafficking. In order to help the Face to Faith students and the wider world learn about the importance of faith communities working to stop human trafficking, she took the time to answer some Q and A’s about her experience.
Why do you think it is important for students around the world to talk about human trafficking? Would it have helped you to have had conversations with other people your own age about Human Trafficking?
Human Trafficking is an extremely important topic that must be discussed in schools at an early age, this is a global issue that is one of the worlds fastest growing crimes and yet still there are millions that don't know what Trafficking is. Education is a fundamental element that will ultimately raise awareness for both boys & girls as well as impact in the demand as our younger generations will be more equipped with knowledge.
I wished I would have know more about trafficking and the whole grooming process, If I had the knowledge I've no doubt my future (and past) would have been very different.
How did you make it through the difficult times when you were being trafficked? Do you have any faith that you drew upon?
Once the severity of the situation had hit me, my mind and body had already been taken. Not only did my trafficker control every move I made, he took over my thoughts until I could think no more, I became empty like a ghost. The only way I could cope was the pray that one day it would all be over. I wouldn't say I had faith back then, however looking back it was faith that kept me alive. I would pray every night without fail and say the following 'Please God, Please keep me safe tonight, please don't let anything bad happen to me, please don't take my life'.
When things were at their worst I had to believe that no matter what I would see my mum again.
We heard you were in the Vatican recently, can you tell us about what you were doing there? What do you think faith communities can do to help stop human trafficking??
During my talk at Catholic Bishops Conference against Human Trafficking at The Vatican, I learned faith communities have a huge role to play, for example the there are 1.8 Billion Catholics across the world if each of them learnt about Trafficking at mass the world would be far more equipped to support the end of modern day slavery. All faiths have a role to play as there is influence and a wide audience to reach to make a change. Also, across faith groups there is more sense of community and it is communities that can help reduce/report human trafficking.
What is one thing you would tell our Face to Faith students about staying safe from human trafficking?
From an early age we are taught in our schools not to talk to strangers or take sweets, we're also told about the dangers of alcohol, drugs and guns however our children aren't told about the dangers of having their lives taken by a Trafficker. One key thing I would say is to get the knowledge, understand what trafficking is, read the signs and if you think someone is at risk do something and tell someone. If something doesn't quite feel right the likelihood is that it isn't.
• Get the knowledge
• Tell your friends
• Make this world a hostile place for traffickers to operate
I was what most people would consider to be a normal, happy girl, nice house, nice family, good job and yet I wasn't safe. In any situation of danger we always think 'It will never happen to me' this is proof that things do happen far closer than you think.
Thank you all for learning about Human Trafficking.
Find out more about the Sophie Hayes Foundation here: