I’m Izzy, and if you’ve reached out to STOP THE TRAFFIK at any point in the last six months, chances are, I may have dealt with your inquiry. A large part of my role with STOP THE TRAFFIK involves interacting with others – be it supporters, law enforcement, businesses, students or team-mates – and ensuring their request gets resolved. Communicating with such an eclectic mix of people can mean that my days are varied, with no concrete idea of who I’ll have spoken with by the time I leave for the day.
There’s excitement in that unpredictability; in the open-endedness of potential conversations and the idea that each will be unique. Whilst not overtly glamorous, I believe that developing meaningful relationships with both donors, partners organisations and team-mates is of genuine significance to the progression of our organisation.
As you might expect, part of my role involves answering the phone. For the most part, I’m shepherding calls to team-mates or fielding cold-callers. In the wake of a crisis – like the devastating news that broke of the 39 Vietnamese nationals found in the back of a lorry in Essex, UK in October last year – the calls, which came in a flurry, were from journalists fervently seeking our opinion as they structured think-pieces and posed interviews. Rarer still though, are calls from potential victims – or indeed victims of – trafficking. As a prevention-led organisation, our day-to-day administration is a little removed from those we serve to protect, with most reports of potential trafficking coming in through our STOP APP for formal analysis. When our paths do cross, my role becomes that of intermediary, passing them on to organisations where their needs can be served best. This could be to other NGOs, local government bodies or, in instances that require an urgent response or rescue, the police. At times like these, maintaining a level head and doing all that you can to pick out the relevant information is integral.
So often, potential cases are shut down before they’ve even begun due to lack of evidence or efficient victim support. While we do not always remain updated after referring victims on to third-parties, sometimes, we can triumph in small victories.
I remember one call that came into the office from someone staying in a residence they believed was being used as a pop-up brothel. The person I spoke to was agitated, so nervous of being overheard through flimsy walls they were stood on a busy main road several blocks away; I could hear the noise of the street behind the voice at the other end of the line. They had limited time to confide and the information was relayed to me in skittish fragments: bursts of passionate recollection followed by ponderous second-guessing. I was able to build trust with them over the course of the call, extracting information that ultimately led to an arrest being made.
Another part of my role is helping the Communications team with fundraising. In part, my role involves taking findings from our research and intelligence team, and piecing them into a story that illustrates exactly what it is that we do. As a preventative organisation, translating numerical data into visuals that are indicative of our work can sometimes feel daunting. Luckily, under the guidance of our talented Communications team, I’m able to collaborate on projects that feel like a worthy reflection.
Since I started last July, I’ve helped with both the #Rewind campaign and, more recently, the ‘Just like Christmas’ campaign. In the latter, we wanted to create an insight into our recently published Greater Manchester homelessness and exploitation report – an alarming glimpse into the vulnerabilities faced by the area’s homeless and rough sleeping population. Shot on a shoestring budget, I was part of every step of the project – from the initial brainstorming right through to the filming and eventual analysis of incoming donations.
Ultimately, we are turning our findings into a story so that our supporters can recognise the impact we can make with their help. The power of good communication is not just a way to further us as an organisation, but to let our supporters know they are valued and vital to our shared goal – ending human trafficking, for good.
As a friend of STOP THE TRAFFIK, I’m sure I don’t need to tell you about what it is that we’re trying to achieve. STOP THE TRAFFIK is an organisation that is making a global impact but is still small enough to have values entrenched in genuine cordiality, and I hope this is something you can agree with. We are poised on the periphery of change, and I am certain, that no matter how small a role I play, I am supported by a team that makes it feel instrumental.