Today is International Women's Day. To celebrate the women close to Cattanach, this week we will be sharing blogs from 3 organisations that provide invaluable support to mothers and their children. We start our week with a blog from Survivors of Human Trafficking In Scotland (SOHTIS).

#ChoosetoChallenge Exploitation

The 8 March is here again and we celebrate Women’s International Day in a year that has been marked out like no other. Where words barely used before have become our everyday speech, remote working and video communications have taken on a whole new meaning and lockdown has meant a new level of isolation.

Many of us have spent these extended lockdown periods in relative comfort and as weeks have grown into months of restrictions in movement and contact with others, I have been caused to reflect on others for whom this was their reality before the pandemic ever began.

For women like:

‘J’, a young British woman vulnerable sold to a gang and sexually exploited for years before being identified as a trafficked person by a nurse in the NHS.

‘M’, an elderly British woman who was held in domestic servitude for years before a tradesman visiting the home raised concerns and she was recovered.

‘P’, who was forced to beg every day on the streets and give her earnings to her traffickers.

Hidden and unseen to most of us this trade in buying and selling of women goes on every day across the UK including Scotland. From the very early stages of recruitment, the effects of trafficking are profound and enduring, with studies finding that women and girls trafficked for sexual exploitation experience higher levels of PTSD than those experiencing intimate partner violence and those fleeing from war or mass violence.

At Survivors of Human Trafficking in Scotland, we believe everyone deserves to live in freedom with dignity and respect. We #choosetochallenge exploitation every day of the year. Our Project Shine team are working to recover women from trafficking and exploitation and empowering them to live the lives they choose. Join us today, hold your hand up high and #choosetochallenge exploitation, together we can end the trafficking of women in Scotland.