A kind-hearted doctor has organised the fourth Aberdeen A21 Walk For Freedom to raise awareness of the existence and scale of modern slavery in the world today.
The silent walk will be held in the city centre next month – two days after National Anti-Slavery Day on October 18 – to help remind people human trafficking does not reside in the books of history alone.
In 2016, statistics showed there were an estimated 40.3 million victims of modern slavery, with a quarter of them children.
Event organiser Dr Jamie Smyth, 25, said: “If you think slavery isn’t close to home, think again.
“Recently two people in Aberdeenshire were convicted and it was revealed Aberdeen has more brothels than any other Scottish city.”
Increasingly common in Scotland, 213 cases were reported last year, and alarmingly, 60 of those cases involved children.
According to Jamie, in the UK alone 13,000 people are currently experiencing slavery; however, only 1% will be rescued.
The Walk For Freedom’s key distinguishing factor is a single-file line of participants dressed in black, with tape covering their mouths to represent the slaves without voice.
“We had around 100 people join us for our walk last year at the Beach Esplanade,” said Jamie, who works at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.
“This year we are bringing it in to the heart of the city centre to raise the profile further as there aren’t too many people at the beach in late October.”
Jamie hopes the change of location will draw even more people to the organised walk.
“Anyone who is passionate about being a voice for those who don’t have one is welcome to come along and join us to help support this worthwhile cause.
“We want to encourage as many people as possible to get involved, in the hope one day soon we can help stamp it out.”
Cristine Caine, A21’s Founder, said: “One step at a time. One dollar at a time. One life at a time.
“We will abolish modern-day slavery.”
The organised walk will start at Marischal Square at 11am on Saturday October 20.
Those wishing to participate should come dressed in black. For further information contact firstname.lastname@example.org