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Fighting against human trafficking

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Fighting against human trafficking thumbnailBARRY Traynor with some of the children he has helped with the Friends of Africa charity.

A NEWRY social worker is hoping to raise as much money as he can ahead of his month-long humanitarian trek to the Zambia-Congo border in January.

Barry Traynor, who has been working with Dromantine charity Friends of Africa for the past nine years, is hosting a fundraising night in Bellini's on Saturday, November 26, to raise money for the group's shelter, aimed at helping children living on the African streets.

Due to the HIV/Aids pandemic on the continent, hundreds of thousands of children have been left orphaned and face a life of physical and sexual abuse. In many cases, children can vanish due to living on the border of Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, raising the fears of human trafficking.

Barry, who is from The Meadow, explained that the Friends of Africa shelter provides the vulnerable children with medicine, food, clothes and most importantly, a roof over their heads.

“On the streets it's very violent, there's a lot of physical and sexual abuse," said the 39-year-old.

“Kids can often end up in prostitution, they can be raped and there's even incidents where children can vanish because they're right along the border.

“We take them off the streets, provide them with any medical help that they need, we make sure they're fed and clothed and then the lengthy process begins of trying to find a relative or trying to find them a home.

“If we don't find a relative they can stay in the shelter for as long as they need.

“It's the front line of emergency work and saving lives. The shelter is the difference between life and death, hundreds of thousands of children end up on the streets."

Barry, who spent a year at the shelter in 2011, praised not only Friends of Africa for funding the shelter, but also the Eamonn Morgan Trust, which was set up in memory of the 24-year-old Newry man who died in an accident in Qatar last year.

Both Newry charities have been raising vital funds to keep the shelter open and provide the children with better life opportunities.

The Backbone Blues Band will be providing the entertainment on the big night in Bellini's and Barry wanted to stress that every single penny raised will go directly to the shelter.

“Anytime I go out to Africa I pay my own flights and none of the money we raise is spent on me, it goes directly to the shelter," said.

“It'll buy food, medicine, clothes, provide education and it will help children find their families.

“There's no middle man and there's no wastage. People can be wary with their money these days and rightly so because it's hard to come by a few quid but it's all used direct.

“It's unreal, you really see just how much a little can go a long, long way when it's used appropriately."

If you're interested in either going to the fundraiser or donating towards the shelter you can call Barry on 07525 652 537.

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