A call for action over modern-day slavery

Clothes collection for Stella's Voice. From the left, Liberty Barnfield-Jones, Sasha Barnfield-Jones and Chiara Clarke.'130605M-A339

Clothes collection for Stella's Voice. From the left, Liberty Barnfield-Jones, Sasha Barnfield-Jones and Chiara Clarke.'130605M-A339

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As worldwide agencies report up to 30 million modern slaves and rising, a woman from Brackley is hoping others will join her in the fight against an inhuman trade.

When trained counsellor Sasha Barnfield-Jones was confronted by a client suffering the psychological damage of human trafficking she was horrified to discover slavery was on the increase.

She has now volunteered for the Scotland based charity Stella’s Voice and has already collect 50 bags of clothes and bed linen to help equip a new 100-bed refuge in Moldova.

Mrs Barnfield-Jones said Moldova may be a distant country but the impact of human trafficking is widespread.

She said: “Back in 2011 there was a group of girls found in Bicester that had been trafficked and held for years, and recently there have been cases identified in Oxford.

“I’ve also worked with a charity called OXCAT (Oxford Community Against Trafficking) after they recognised girls had been trafficked to Oxford.

“And I realised it was in our community and it’s not just about distant European countries.”

Mrs Barnfield-Jones decided to work with Stella’s Voice after visiting Moldova with her husband to see some of the work done by the charity.

She was shocked to find out human trafficking had just overtaken drugs as the country’s largest export.

She added: “It is incredibly shocking they are exporting people, but you never think ‘where do they go?’

“We’re all aware of human trafficking globally, but we don’t actually seem to understand they are being trafficked from that country to our country. Everyone thinks slavery ended with William Wilberforce in 1833, but it’s now bigger than ever.”

In Moldova children in orphanages are left to fend for themselves at the age of 16 and Stella’s Voice works with orphanage directors to guide young girls and boys towards the refuges where they can be kept away from human trafficking gangs.

Stella’s Voice already runs a 70-bed refuge and is working towards a second refuge.

Mrs Barnfield-Jones has already enlisted the help of a small group of volunteers and shopkeepers to help collect clothing. They also hope to raise cash by sleeping rough for the night in Brackley.

A fundraising ball is set to take place at the Plum Park Hotel near Towcester in October. Mrs Barnfield-Jones is taking a team of four including a headmaster and tradesmen to help out at an orphanage in August.

Anyone who wants to help, or has clothes, bed linen or furniture which is in a good condition, can donate it to Stella’s Voice via Mrs Barnfield-Jones by calling her on 07790 961252.