The life of evangelical churches and their spiritual leaders has been portrayed in some recent films and series. Can they help us start conversations?
Police experts, the city hall and anti-trafficking movements raised awareness on sexual exploitation of women in Valencia (Spain). A workshop linked pornography to the eroticisation of violence.
“We don’t sell people in my neighbourhood”, is the title that was given to the Day of Awareness Against Human Trafficking that took place last February 10th in Valencia.
Three main activities shaped the day, organised by the ‘Gloria’ Gospel Choir, the ‘Agustina de Aragón’ Evangelical Church and the Valencia Network Against Trafficking, in collaboration with the Bank ‘La Caixa’.
Spain is the first country in the European Union and the third in the world in terms of human trafficking victim reception. More than 14.000 trafficking victims for the purpose of sexual exploitation are identified per year. According to UN figures, 90% of the women in prostitution in Spain are or have been victims of human trafficking.
With these hair-raising figures in mind, the day began with a workshop called “One click away: pornography, the eroticisation of violence and rape culture”. Geraldine Baque and James Austin analysed how pornography affects the conception of women as objects and the normalisation of violence towards them.
In the evening, the conversation moved to a round table talk about sexual exploitation, brought together by experts. Carlos Barrado, National Police Inspector of the UCRIF Brigade, spoke about how the mafias deceive women in their place of origin in order to bring them to Spain for prostitution. On her part, Mónica Gutiérrez, a ‘Caritas Valencia’ lawyer, explained the difference between trafficking and smuggling and some important aspects in legal terms.
Isabel Lozano, the Councillor of Equality and Inclusive Policies from the City Hall in Valencia, was also present at the event, and explained the different initiatives that are being carried out by the Valencian Government to put and end to this scourge.
Rut Fernández and Sara Pérez, both Christians and volunteers of different associations that are fighting human trafficking, were also at the table. Sara shared a reflection on prostitution and the so-called “Free-will Myth” which is used to justify the violation of human rights simply on the grounds that “there are girls that are in prostitution because they want to”.
Rut spoke about the work being done on the streets by the association ‘Silla Vacía’ (The Empty Chair) and the different resources that exist for women who manage to escape, such as the ‘Casa Refugio’ (The Shelter) from the association Amar Dragosté, in Madrid.
The day concluded with the music of the ‘Gloria’ Gospel Choir. During its 25 year trajectory, one of the choir’s commitments has been to give voice to those who do not have one, raising awareness about modern day slavery in all their concerts.