17 September 2021: Human Trafficking Foundation Anti-slavery day awards 2021:
Please note that voting is only open to individuals working in some way with the anti-slavery sector, and only one vote for each category is permitted. Voting closes Friday 24th September. Read more here: https://www.humantraffickingfoundation.org/anti-slavery-day-awards-voting-2021
We long for the day when creating awards to highlight anti slavery work are completely consigned to the past…. Until then … our signatory Migrants At Work is in this frame and it’s founder and leader Ake says:
I had a dream
When I was working in the cocoa plantation; one day, my brother explained why we had hectares of plantations but struggled to feed ourselves. He also explained what a diplomat was and supposed to do to protect our interest overseas. After listening to him, I say I will become an Ambassador to end child labourer.
I left the Ivory Coast as a child labourer at the age of 10.
At 37, I earned my BSc in International relations.
At 38, I became a trade union regional organiser. At 42, I resigned because my employer said I could not communicate effectively in Writing & in public. I resigned because of racism in the trade union and took the Union to court.
At 43, I set my organisation, Migrants At Work Ltd, to tackle labour exploitation and discrimination.
At 44, my organisation was commended by the Integration Community Awards for Equality, Access, Rights.
“Judges were impressed by Migrants At Work’s impact and achievements, especially with a very small budget. The organisation is filling a pressing gap in access to information and rights-based support, at a time when Trade Unions are facing a tremendous amount of pressure. The Community Integration Awards commends Migrants At Work’s inclusive and dynamic response to Covid-19, adapting the project to respond to pressing needs on the ground. In the context of more migrants and BAME workers being driven into exploitation, working at the forefront of the pandemic and at great risk, this work becomes only more important. (Integration Community Awards’ judges).”
The EU says “
MaW has been drawing our and the Network’s attention to pertinent issues with regard to EU citizens and their family members. This was largely done in the context of the implementation of the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement, but also beyond. We continue to look forward working with Migrants at Work to map any systemic issues around the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement (applications, exercising of rights granted by the Withdrawal Agreement).
(Daniel Fleischer -Ambrus , European External Action Service,
EU citizens’ rights programme lead)”
At 46, my organisation has been nominated for shortlisted for the category Empowering Survivor Voices for the Anti-Slavery Day Awards 2021.
Today I am working in partnership with the EU delegation to the UK, UN global compact, IOM, GLAA, NOMI, Migration Work, CCC, BCC, many more organisations and beautiful people.
I am not an Ambassador, strictly speaking, but I am working with government officials to end labour exploitation.
I have a beautiful wife and two beautiful girls. I have a happy life because I am who I want to be.
The point of my journey is this, being born in one place defines you but does not determine who you are. Live your dreams. Do not ever let anyone tell you that you are not good enough.
I am one step away from that dream.
Vote for Migrants At Work – a win will support more migrants
Migrants at Work
‘Migrants at Work tackles labour exploitation and work-place discrimination of migrant workers and is led by those with lived experience of the issue. One area they focus on highlights issues caused by the Home Office’s ‘right to work check’ system, through which migrant workers are regularly mistakenly told they do not have the legal right to work, thus losing jobs in part through errors in the system. This then heightens risks of Modern Slavery. This issue is not well understood by employers or by migrant workers.’
‘Migrants at Work works in partnership with migrant communities, individual migrant workers, employers, Government departments, NGOs and EU Embassies to raise awareness and understanding and to seek policy change and legal challenge around this issue. ‘