Trafficked women join Amies 'freedom' choir at Bethnal Green to get them over trauma
PUBLISHED: 19:23 19 February 2017 | UPDATED: 20:36 20 February 2017
A music project has been started in London's East End to help rescued women including teenage girls to overcome the trauma of being trafficked into forced prostitution or domestic slavery.
Weekly choral singing workshops for 60 young women aged 16 to 25 are being held at Bethnal Green’s Oxford House community centre to help them into independent living.
“All these women have come through harrowing circumstances,” choir director Adwoa Dickson explains.
“They have all been trafficked into the country and forced into prostitution or domestic servitude. But we help them focus on their futures instead of the past.”
One of the young singers, Grace Aliwa, was rescued and placed in foster care.
Her experience left her with very little trust in anyone, few friends and a lack of interest in socialising.
She put up barriers with other members when she first joined the choir, but gradually involved herself more.
“Singing makes me feel better about everything,” she tells you. “I love the choir and get to sing with girls from lots of other countries. I have made a lot of friends.”
Youth Music, the charity supporting Amies Choir, has launched a ‘Give a Gig Week’ campaign to support them and other music projects for vulnerable youngsters. The 100 fundraising gigs up and down the country run from March 24 to 31.
The charity is appealing for musicians, bands and music lovers to put on a gig in all kinds of venues, from people’s own homes to pubs and concert halls.
The charity’s chief executive Matt Griffiths said: “The choir shows how music can help transform their lives and grow more confident. It’s hard to imagine the trauma of being trafficked.”
The aim is to have 100 gigs taking place up and down the country in just one week.
The workshops at Oxford House develop the women’s choral techniques, giving them musical skills and helping them to overcome the trauma and isolation of their experience of being trafficked.