Visitors to Trafalgar Square were recently stunned when they witnessed top stars from the stages of London’s West End theaters suddenly hold a spectacular “flash mob” in support of the nonprofit organization Love146, which campaigns to end child sex slavery and exploitation.
|A scene from the event
((Photo: Mark Murfitt)
The event took place on Monday, April 11, 2011 starting at 5:00 PM, and the singers and dancers performed a routine to a specially arranged version of Little Bird (by Scottish Grammy and Oscar-winning artist, activist and campaigner, Annie Lennox), to highlight the shocking fact that child trafficking is a major problem in Britain.
Rachel Tucker, star of West End hit Wicked, was joined by past and present divas of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Charlotte Riby, Portia Emare and Gemma Atkins.
They were backed by over a hundred dancers from an array of West End musicals including We Will Rock You, Dirty Dancing, MAMMA MIA!, Grease, Wicked, Love Never Dies, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, The Wizard of Oz and the English National Ballet.
“The campaign is dubbed ‘Can you See me’ because the crisis is all too often hidden and taboo – when in fact it is going on in towns and cities throughout the country, right in front of us,” said a spokesperson for the event.
It featured a young girl dressed in red carrying a sign with that poignant message.
Christian Elliott, who is the Love146 “Can you See me” Campaign Director said: “Many UK citizens do not believe that child trafficking is a problem in their own neighborhood and that it’s only a problem in less developed countries. This is simply not true. In the UK there are boys and girls from as young as 11 being trafficked into Britain from all over the world. They rapidly become victims of exploitation and are incredibly vulnerable.
|The crowd gets larger in Tragalgar Square
(Photo: Mark Murfitt)
“We must unite and play our part in making this abhorrent crime history. For a country that promotes human rights around the world and has some excellent services for children and young adults, it is a scandal that, in 2011, the UK has little or no designated aftercare or reintegration services for trafficked children.”
Love146 is commissioning an independent report to highlight the need for safe accommodation, specialized aftercare and therapeutic services for trafficked children. The charity will shortly be releasing the findings of a survey of local authorities’ responses to trafficked children in their areas.
Rachel Tucker, star of West End hit Wicked said: “All of us were shocked to hear the terrible fate of children even in our home towns and cities. This is our way of trying to raise awareness, and getting people behind Love146’s campaign to make a real difference to some of the most damaged children in the country.”
Martin Houghton-Brown Chief Executive of Missing People said: “The tragedy is that we neither know the true scale of the problem nor have a comprehensive plan to resource the solutions to children being trafficked into, out of and within the UK. Delivering effective, safe and secure care for children suspected of being trafficked is an essential step in providing a safety net for children who are at risk.”
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A spokesperson for the group went on to say, “Love146 works toward the abolition of child sex slavery and exploitation through prevention and aftercare solutions, while contributing to a growing abolition movement. Slavery is still one of the darkest stories on the planet but for Love146, the hope of abolition is a reality. Love146 believe in helping grow the movement of abolition while providing effective, thoughtful solutions. Love146 believe in the power of Love and its ability to affect sustainable change. Love is the foundation of the organization’s motivation.”
Love146 was founded in 2002 (as Justice for Children Intl.). In the UK Love146 is a registered public charity (UK Registered Charity Number 1137048). In the US Love146 is a 501c3 nonprofit organization.