Friday, 5th June 2020

I just want to say enough is enough. BLACK LIVES MATTER! We black people are human beings and we expect from you respect, equality, and to respect our dignity. STOP BEING RACIST! I just don't know how I can put it into words. Deep down its always been painful but now it's out there in the open. It's now time for the government and people who make decisions to make change. Hearing a 4 year old ask the police if they are going to kill them is heartbreaking. I express my existence as a black woman. I want there to be justice for black people and minorities. I believe there should be equality for all. Equal access to opportunities. It's a fight to be where we are and who we are - don't make it even harder.

N, member of ECPAT UK's girls and young women's group

I haven’t been able to sleep because I keep thinking of what they did to that man George. I don’t understand how they could just kill him, he had dreams and wishes. How could they just take that away?

S, member of ECPAT UK's girls and young women's group

Do you know how difficult it is to be a black youth in this country? You're given an image of who people think you are

P, member of ECPAT UK's boys and young men's group

People have to fight back, it has to end

J, member of ECPAT UK's boys and young men's group

The murder of George Floyd by police in the USA has shone a light on the racism, injustice and inequality that black and minority ethnic people experience globally and the systemic and global inequality that historic ideas about race have produced. We stand in solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter campaign and all those protesting against racism.

We know that many of the problems experienced by the children and young people we work with and for derive from systemic racism and inequality. We understand that they face huge challenges as victims of exploitation and members of black and minority ethnic communities - that they are more likely to live in poverty, have problems accessing education, experience the criminal justice system, live in unsuitable housing and disadvantaged areas, have greater need for mental health support and suffer other health inequalities. We also know that Covid-19 presents more risk to them.

Our youth programme provides a safe space for young survivors of trafficking to support each other and directly guide our work – from our strategic direction down to the language we use. We stand with our young people and strive to do better for them - to improve our advocacy for them, to empower them to speak out and campaign against injustice and steer our work to better represent the rights and needs of trafficked children and young people.

But we know we have a long way to go. We are committed to increasing the direct involvement of young survivors in our governance and campaigning, and to knowing when to step back and elevate their voices. We are committed to taking action to promote equality and justice, to challenging ourselves and to learning and reflecting on what more we can do to follow through on our commitments to anti-racist practice and the young people we serve. We commit to listen, learn and do better. 

Through our work we know that really positive things can happen in response to really awful things and how powerful that can be. At ECPAT UK we are committed to anti-racist practice and fighting all forms of inequality and injustice - wherever we find it and wherever it stands in the way of children’s and young people’s rights.

This week, our youth group members have come together in solidarity, shock, outrage and grief. They wanted to share their thoughts and feelings below to initiative conversations that create change in our community and beyond.

We're all human first and foremost, before anything else. There should be respect because we’re all human just like each other

T, ECPAT UK youth programme member

What we’re seeing in the UK is a cover up. Racism in this country is just as bad it is just covered up more. The police in our country covered it up too

A, ECPAT UK youth programme member

If you’re a black male and you speak up and try and express yourself when you are angry, you are more likely to be sectioned for your mental health, you’re more likely to be shot

NP, ECPAT UK youth programme member

There’s racism everywhere. They do it here in a smart way where it doesn’t as clearly affect you but you are still affected

J, ECPAT UK youth programme member

Why is it that if I come from the USA I can easily get a visa but not if I'm from Nigeria?

C, ECPAT UK youth programme member

In some countries the police seize people’s passports but people don’t really talk about it because it affects Africans not Black Americans or Black British

L, ECPAT UK youth programme member

This is from the beginning of the slave trade. We’re not over it - slavery still happens but in a different way

H, ECPAT UK youth programme member

White people stay out in the countryside, to stay away from the areas where we live. Some people are surprised, they never see black people

JN, ECPAT UK youth programme member

I hope for everyone to be happy. When people are happy they don’t have time to think about hurting or racially abusing someone

T, ECPAT UK youth programme member

I want a world where money doesn’t equal power and everyone has all they need

K, ECPAT UK youth programme member

I wish for everyone to be treated equally... Human is human

TA, ECPAT UK youth programme member