Wednesday, 9th June 2021

We're delighted to share the entries to our #HopefulFutures competition and announce our winner, Layla Carruthers, who has won an Instax camera!

The competition was launched following a very challenging year for all of us, particularly for young people affected by trafficking who often face long term uncertainty about the future. But with an improving picture, hope is on the horizon. 

While we're all excited to get much of our old lives back, we don’t have to return to how things were. We can use our shared experiences of the past year to advocate for change so that all young people have the freedom to live the life they’ve dreamed about. 

That's why we launched our Hopeful Futures photography competition — to bring people together under the vision of a more hopeful, stable future for all young people. This is something ECPAT UK has long called for as part of our stable futures campaign.

Following open, public submissions, the photos were judged by a panel made up of campaigners from our youth groups for trafficking survivors, ECPAT UK volunteers and staff.

We were inspired by all of the entries we received, and our panel had a hard time judging! However we're delighted to announce our winner: Layla Carruthers. Layla is the winner of a brand new Instax camera! Layla's photo caption read: 

This was taken a few days ago when our football team was finally reunited together and could play a match. The atmosphere was so cheerful and exited. Everyone there was enjoying themselves and doing what they loved.

Photo of a girls

Image credit: Layla Carruthers

Youth group members K and T shared how the photo reminded them of how they felt when they were finally able to reunite as a group and that the caption 'freedom is doing what you love' perfectly captured how they feel. Our panel said:

We scored this high because it reminds us about the freedom we felt during our last youth group outing at Hyde Park. It just made us smile and feel so warm – we loved the composition with the green emphasising being outdoors and active, the blades of grass blurred in the foreground and the sense of people just bursting out of the picture. It conveys community and intimacy all at once – with the sense of us having been allowed into a very special private moment.

It spoke to us all about being able to do what we love together and really made us feel so much about our time here at ECPAT UK including during Covid-19 and the challenges we have had as a team in building our relationships, working hard and having fun. We love the simplicity of the message and the emphasis on relationships, team work and loving what you do and being free to do it.

Our winner was followed by two runners up, who will receive a bundle of Tony's Chocolonely chocolate which was kindly donated by the chocolate company.

Our first runner up, Nur, shared in her caption: 

I wondered “What will my future look like?” I looked here and there and all I saw was white snow everywhere. At that moment, I just remembered my sister once said to me, “Your life is like a canvas and it is up to you how you will colour it. Shape your future with things that you like. Even if it is hard, the end picture will just as majestic as others.”…

…As I looked up, I am determined that the sky is my limit. Whatever challenges I face in life will shape myself and my future. And for that, I am ready for whatever life offers to me. And this is what freedom feels to me. Insecurities shall not bring me down but further push myself.

Photo of blossom taken by Nur

Image credit: Nur

Second runner up, Theo Parry, shared in his caption:

This photo shows birds in the city during lockdown. There was a considerable increase in the number of birds in the garden last year. With the sight of industry blurred in the background, it shows how we can work with and live with nature for a better future.

Photo of a bird taken by Theo Parry

Image credit: Theo Parry

See our shortlisted entries and their captions below.

Add your name to our stable futures campaign