...for the joy of freedom
At Just-Ice we simply love making a difference. All the delicious ice cream and sorbets are about helping restore dignity, hope and a future for people who've been held in modern slavery in this country. As well as this, half of our profits go to existing charities who prevent, rescue and rehabilitate child soldiers anywhere in the world. Our long term goal is to set up our own charity that will do this directly, working with local partners. Both these massive issues are complex and often misunderstood so below is a brief summary of what goes on and various links to help you understand more. Part of the ongoing battle is about awareness and education so if when you follow the links you can like them or retweet them that would be great.
Caution: everything below is tough reading. Once you hear these issues you may, like us, be grabbed for life. Perhaps once you've read this you understand why, although bonkers at first, Ice Cream is such a great means to tackle such a dark subject; everyone loves ice cream, have an ice cream and you feel good. Hence, the joy of ice cream for the joy of freedom.
The Unite Nations defines Human Trafficking as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons by improper means (such as abduction, fraud or coercion) for an improper purpose including forced labour or sexual exploitation. It is a heinous crime against humanity, which treats people as mere things that can be bought, sold and discarded; a violation on their very humanity, and grave human rights abuse.
Sadly it is big business too. Its a $150 billion industry just for forced labour. Its estimated there are around 24.9 million people (this varies) held in slavery globally. And its happening in our towns and cities here in the UK. People are often conned into coming to the UK for a job, only to be beaten, have their documents stolen and forced to work in terrible conditions for no or little pay, under threat of their families back home being killed. They are trapped and fed the lie that the police cannot be trusted. It is a living hell.
There are many excellent charities and orgaisantions working to stop this and we work with the excellent Hope for Justice who rescue victims of modern day slavery in the UK. Once rescued, there is a 45 day period where accomodaiotn is provided in what is called the national referral mechanism, but after this period, they are back on the trees again, and at risk of retrafficking. Hope for Justice provide fantastic legal support, and when we heard that survivors needed employment as a major step in their recovery, the dream of Just-Ice was born. In conjunction with local partners, we want to be that next step for survivors, providing employment, housing, and every necessary support from language skills to life coaching, and professional support for full recovery, with the goal of healthy, self-sustained independence and community involvement.
The use of children in warfare is beyond understanding. Its impossible to accurately count but the UN estimates there are 300, 000 children used in warfare, not just as fighting soldiers, but also as cooks, spies, porters and 'wives' for the adult fighters. It is one of the most shocking human rights abuses, and is heartbreaking.
It is not all rebel militias, although mostly, but some state armies ar involved. It is not only Africa (although more common), but Asia and South America also.
It is a complicated array o factors, but a common story involves militia attacking a village, killing many but sparing enough children to take captive and gradually through a process of extreme trauma, grief, humiliation and coercion, force the children to learn how to shoot and use their weapons. Sometimes plied with drugs to numb and control them, they quickly learn that violence and obedience are the only things that will see them survive. And so a beautiful innocent child is turned into a weapon of warfare. For more details on this process see the excellent book, They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children, by Lt. Gen Romeo Dallaire, who was the commander of the UN peace keeping force during the Rwandan genocide in 1994.
Stopping this is extremely difficult, as is rescuing and rehabilitating affected children; once you've been a child soldier it is no easy road back to normality, and certainly their childhood has been robbed. But we believe they still have a future. And so we want to do all we can to raise awareness, campaign, and raise funds to help and facilitate those who prevent, rescue and rehabilitate children used in warfare, until it is eradicated completely. Help us do this. We hope to set up our own charity to help with this in the not too distant future so watch this space.
Sky News: Britain's Hidden Slaves
Sky News reporter Adele Robinson goes behind the scenes with Hope for Justice for a year and accompanies them on a recent rescue.
BBC News reports on arrests and rescue in Derby, Sept 2017
A decent raid in Derby resulted in 5 arrests and 10 people rescued from slavery in an ordinary house on an ordinary street. It could be yours.
BBC World Service
This BBC world service report on Child Soldiers features audio from former child soldiers