G.I.F.T. (Global Intiative to Fight Trafficking) is a United Nations project which STOP THE TRAFFIK has been a partner in since 2012. As the Olympic games in London approached, the UN and STOP THE TRAFFIK developed… a project to raise awareness of human trafficking at a large scale. This was a ‘GIFT Box’ – simply put, a bright coloured box that looked like a giant present to grab the attention of passers-by, that contained in it true stories of human trafficking. The boxes went down so well in London that they have been developed elsewhere: New York, Brazil for the World Cup, Slovakia, and now… Northern Ireland.
The GIFT Box NI contains three stories of people who were trafficked into and around Northern Ireland – one for forced labour, and two for sexual exploitation. Adam, Anna and Alicia’s stories are true, and they are also hopeful: they all came to an end that was positive for the individuals involved.
This is a key feature of the boxes: they aim to empower those who see them by reminding us that change can happen, and that we can be a part of it.
The GIFT Box project has been useful in raising the awareness of the general public, and in allowing victims to self-identify.
Northern Ireland’s GIFT Box, or GIFTBoxNI, was funded by the PSNI with Assets Recovery Community Scheme.
It was launched at Belfast City Hall by the Lord Mayor, and has been visited by Justice Minister David Ford, Chief Constable George Hamilton, NCA Directoral General Keith Bristow, the NI policing board, several politicians and many members of the public. It has traveled to the Titanic Centre, Stormont, Tennents’ Vital, Belsonic, Coleraine University for New Horizon, CFC Belfast, Portadown, Banbridge Outlet Centre and has plans to be at several events around Belfast in October before traveling to Derry for Halloween.
The box is free to all. If you have an event or a community centre/school/business you would like to host the box at, please get in touch.