NO MORE TRAFFIK
“Black Santa is a beautiful testament to Belfast. I think when people think of Belfast, they think of a city divided but there is a wonderful history which has seen people putting their religious or political or any other views aside and coming together for the greater good.”
No More Traffik was founded by Pete Kernoghan in 2012 and focuses on raising awareness to stop modern slavery and human trafficking. It’s fitting that it was started here in a city that was one of a small number which did not open up its ports to the slave trade. Pete says: “This was a cause which united people right across our communities - Catholic, Protestant and dissenters - and it is something that Belfast can be deeply proud of”.
Pete believes standing against injustice is part of the DNA of the people in this city, and this is partly why the Black Santa Sit-Out has become a much-loved tradition.
“Belfast has this deep DNA of being anti-slavery and anti-exploitation and being able to protect its own and other people. Belfast has countless stories where people have come together to support people who are on the margins, who are suffering or less fortunate or at risk. Every year Black Santa embodies that.”
It’s a fact that modern slavery can happen anywhere in the world and so the work that No More Traffik does is vital.
“We know the training we give works. A clinic which was breaking the law was caught after an employee who worked there went through our programme and knew what to look out for. She contacted the police and was able to make a massive difference simply by being aware. There have been countless stories of midwives, nurses, health care officers, police officers who have gone through the training and identify and spot cases.”
No More Traffik has been receiving grant money from Black Santa for the last two years. It has helped in developing their training resources and after the year the world has had with Covid-19, it will become even more important heading into 2021.
“The grant will enable us to be more efficient with our online training and make it more interactive. It’s about unlocking the knowledge that is in the room so the people not only get the fundamental information but also then are supported to learn how people are slipping through the gaps and experiencing exploitation.”
In a time when people need more support than ever, the importance of the help the Black Santa Sit-Out can give to so many different charities is clear. It is something that Pete will always be proud of.
“I am proud to be associated with Black Santa through No More Traffik, and overwhelmed by the generosity of the organisers. It means so much that the work we do in the charity matters to the Cathedral team, and is a perfect example of the engaged and caring culture of this city.”
To find out more about Home Start Craigavon, visit their website here.
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