Wealden and Eastbourne Soroptimists learn about human trafficking

Eastbourne Soroptimists returned from their summer break in September to hear a talk about Human Trafficking by criminologist Cliff Grieve.

The club, with members throughout the Eastbourne and Wealden area including Hailsham, Polegate, Willingdon and Seaford, is part of Soroptimist International, a world-wide women’s organisation who campaign and support projects, locally, nationally and internationally for women, families and the environment.

Mr Grieve told a soroptimists meeting at Chalk Farm Hotel, Willingdon that it was important the serious problem of trafficking was understood by law enforcement agencies and governments throughout the world.

It is the third largest source of income for organised crime internationally – only Arms and Drugs Traffickers were higher.

He explained that migrant labour was smuggled into a country through the asylum system with people being coerced, exploited and kidnapped.

Figures show 75 per cent of woman and children are trafficked to Europe, USA and Japan.

The UK is a major final destination with 1,000 women known to have been trafficked into prostitution since 2003.

There are various world-wide campaigns including Kent County Against Human Trafficking with representatives from Soroptimists, Rotary, Fair Trade and academics from the University of Kent and Christchurch who work together to raise awareness of the problems and Purple Teardrop who raise awareness and support safe havens for victims. Crimestoppers also take anonymous reports.

The next meeting was a talk ‘Too Young to Get Old’ by Christine Webber, a writer, broadcaster and psychotherapist.

Her latest book “Too Young to Get Old” examines the situation of the ‘Baby Boomers’ who are facing their older age quite differently from previous generations.

Her book is aimed at 50s and 60s but she commented it was initially difficult to get published – most of those assessing manuscripts were in their 30s.

She said: “Our generation had lots of benefits, with the 1944 Education Act we had free education including university where you got a grant to study and free health care from NHS with the Pill giving us the chance to choose to have fewer or no children.”

The survey she carried out showed 65 per cent of the Baby Boomers were happier now than when young so it was time to consider how to spend the next decades.

Most wanted to live long, fit lives then suffer a very short old age and die quickly.

To achieve this aim she suggested, eat well, exercise regularly preferably 30 minutes daily of different kinds of exercise, keep and make friends - experts saying loneliness is as bad for you as smoking, and ensure your home is near transport and a thriving area.

The beach clean at Pinnacle Point, Eastbourne on September 18 had to be postponed because of the weather.

The club have undertaken the twice yearly clean as part of the Marine Conservation Society’s project.

Club member Jean O’Neill took part in the Funraisers Dragon Boat Festival last month on Bewl Water, Lamberhurst.

She joined the combined crew of 20 Soroptimists and Girl Guides, who raised more than £2,400.

The “SIGGS” (Soroptimist International and Girls Guides) crew will share the money between three charities,Cancer Research UK, Pestalozzi International Village Trust at Sedlescombe and Girlguiding Sussex East.

Jean, who is a university lecturer, paddled in the Soroptimist team when they took part in the event five years ago.

Their next fund raiser for the club presidents’ charity Eastbourne Lifeboats will be a Barn Dance on November 26 at Hellingly Village Hall.

Further information from 01323 769004 or www.soroptimists-gbi.org