WOMEN’S LIVES: Do you know what’s going on in your street?

Finola Brennan

Reporter:

Finola Brennan

WOMEN’S LIVES: Do you know what’s going on in your street?
Do you know what’s going on your street? In your town? In your county?

Do you know what’s going on your street? In your town? In your county?

A recent short play and workshop called “The House”, presented at Letterkenny Regional Cultural Centre, challenged the audience in a powerful way to spot the signs of Human Trafficking.

The House, produced and directed by Pat Byrne of Sole Purpose Productions in association with No More Trafficking, has been shown 12 times in the last few weeks.

Powerfully scripted by Eddie Shillue, it underlines the complexity of the crime of Human Trafficking and seeks to raise awareness and enable individuals and communities to take action to end this horrendous inhumanity and worldwide gender discrimination.

No More Traffik is a charity working in Northern Ireland to highlight the crime of Human Trafficking both locally and globally through awareness and action. Sole Purpose Productions is a professional theatre company founded in 1997, based in Derry. It exists to use new theatre to investigate and illuminate social and public issues.

A moving and powerful play, excellently performed, ‘The House’ gives a disturbing and riveting insight into sexual exploitation and Human Trafficking.

The scene is set. An old house in a city street appears to be abandoned, but seems to be lived in by a group of women not from the area. No one in the area notices the new occupants. Marie, a community volunteer watches a young woman who stands staring out the window at the same time each day. Can Marie get anyone to listen to her worries about what is going on in the house?

Human Trafficking starts in a community but it can be stopped by the community and this is the central theme of ‘The House’. After the drama which lasted about 20 minutes the audience participated in a workshop which challenged them to consider, reflect upon and suggest changes to the script which might have changed the desperate situation of the young women imprisoned in the house.

‘The House’ highlighted the complexity, isolation, fear and dehumanisation that informs and controls those affected by Human Trafficking. The workshop went further and enabled the audience to conclude that we all collude when we do nothing!

The House illustrates how Human Trafficking can be so easily hidden behind the mask of private rented accommodation, hotels etc. It clearly demonstrates how easily vulnerable people with no community, no connections can be moved from place to place and held against their will.

Poor or no English, threats against themselves or members of their family, no passport or the fact that their passport is held by someone else, a distrust of authority, lack of access to medical care, depression, manipulated by drug dependency are just a few of the reasons that were highlighted in ‘The House’.

In 2014 An Garda Síochána conducted 79 human trafficking related investigations and 46 suspected victims were identified. We also know it happens in every country in the world, that it is the second largest source of criminal income worldwide (the first is drugs) and that 80% of trafficked victims are women and girls according to the US Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report 2007.

Sole Purpose Productions is a professional theatre company founded in 1997, based in Derry. It exists to use drama and the arts to investigate and illuminate social and public issues.

This production of ‘The House’ was hosted by the Donegal Anti-Human Trafficking Group and was financially supported by Donegal Local Development Company.

A sincere thanks is also extended to the staff of the Regional Cultural Centre for all their assistance and support.