Activism

A breastpump from a stranger – Anti Slavery Day

18 October, 2013

I was still pregnant with Juno when I got a call from my mum asking if had a breastpump. “Um, nope… she’ll be getting it straight from the tap” “Of course, you wally, it is for someone else”. Mum went on to explain that she needed it for a young woman in who had just given birth to her baby boy 13 weeks early. She was pumping with the hospital machine but wanted her own one- it would have made her only and first posession in a year. She had nothing but the clothes she was wearing and now a tiny, fragile new baby to call her own.

I tweeted about this, got an enormous response and by lunchtime Mum was able to deliver the pump.

Oksana had arrived alone at the West London hospital two days before, clearly in very early labour. Her baby was born and while Oksana sat in ICU with him, coaxing out from her and in to her boy the breastmilk that would save him, a Ukranian nurse coaxed from her her story.

Haltingly Oksana revealed that she had spent the last year as a sex slave in a London home. She had begun the journey here expecting to work hard, to save, to do what she needed to do to change the course of her life, from one of dire poverty to one of earning enough, acheiving and realising dreams. But not this. She wasn’t prepared to do this.

Her story is her own story but is starkingly similar to the stories of so many others. The stories of the 21 million modern day slaves across the world.

She was a victim, but felt like a criminal. Her captors took her papers and made sure she knew it was illegal to be here. She feared for her future if she stayed and feared for it if she left.

My mum works for the Salvation Army as the co-ordinator of their Anti-Human Trafficking work. Across the UK they have secret shelters and a network of volunteers driving rescued victims to new temporary homes and new lives. They work with the police and each week discover crowds of people trafficked to the UK, modern day slaves.
anti slavery day

This is her on BBC Breakfast just this morning. Do I sometimes wish she didn’t work 12 hour days and had more time to babysit while we go out and stuff our faces with pizza? Yeah, maybe, every so often. But then I realise that most of all I am so proud of the way she pours out her life so that people can be free. It is a bit more important than 2 4 1 Wednesdays at Pizza Express.

Today is Anti Slavery Day and the Salvation Army is asking that people come to understand the signs of trafficking, as it happens for the most part right in front of our noses. If you begin to notice anything suspicious do call their hotline. It is also possibly to donate to support their anti-trafficking work. Read more about it all here. And read the two-part series my friend Mel Wiggins has written, it tackles the comlpexity of the issue and gives ideas about how we can impact some of these, things like labour and education.

That moment that Oksana was dropped off a street away from the hospital, bleeding on a kerb and crying in fear for her baby was also a moment filled with hope. It marked the beginning of two new lives.

PS For more parenting/ travelling / thrifty blogging follow through Facebook or Bloglovin or even just enter your email to get them pinged into your inbox. No spam just a bit of my heart poured out and some weird humour…


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10 Comments

  • Reply Laura Montgomerie 18 October, 2013 at 10:10 am

    Wow wow wow! Your mum is awesome.

    I started supporting the stop the traffik campaign years ago when it was first launched.

    It’s sad to see that in this modern world that slavery and poverty still exists.

    • Lucy
      Reply Lucy 18 October, 2013 at 7:59 pm

      Yep, it is incredible, eh? Just unfathomable.

  • Reply Rebecca Watts 18 October, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    What an inspiring mum you have! x

    • Lucy
      Reply Lucy 18 October, 2013 at 7:59 pm

      She really is 🙂

  • Reply Kevan Yates 18 October, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    Can see were you get it from. I know you must be as proud of your mum as I’m sure she is of you.

  • Reply LondonHeather 19 October, 2013 at 6:22 am

    Oh gosh, what an incredible story. And an incredible mum! Will be clicking through the links to find out more.
    LondonHeather recently posted…New Favourite Song: Says by Nils FrahmMy Profile

  • Reply Thalia Kehoe Rowden 19 October, 2013 at 8:39 am

    Thanks for this, and thanks to your Mum and all her team for their work.

    We have friends in India doing something a bit similar in that context, and building Freedom Businesses in the red-light areas of a big city (http://freesetglobal.com/who-we-are/our-story.html).

    Slavery is (still) a global scourge, and it must be eradicated. Thanks for drawing attention to the Salvation Army’s work and equipping.
    Thalia Kehoe Rowden recently posted…The Sacrament of Housework #4: My 11 Best Stolen Home Organisation TipsMy Profile

  • Reply Vickyb 20 October, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    Great post about such a sad topic. Blessings to your mum for working so hard to help those that need help. And blessings to Oksana and her new baby, and all other frightened new mums – sending out hope for happy new beginnings x

  • Reply Tosca Lahiri 24 October, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    I remember your “weird humour” Lucy very well 🙂 You haven’t lost it from childhood. well done for being yourself.

    I met your mum for coffee…(and I remember cake too!) a few months ago – she is working so hard and so well – it is amazing what she is doing in what must be a very difficult area of work.

    Love your blog Lucy.
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  • Reply headinbook 20 November, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    Beautiful and heartbreaking. Making connections between want and willingness to help is part of my everyday; fighting the reason for the want in the first place is another battle altogether, and it is no wonder you are proud of your mum.

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