They say love makes the world go round but everywhere I look I see hate. Today I hear of a Somalian woman who lost her unborn baby after being subjected to a violent racial attack in Buckinghamshire. Police officers have sent over from Warsaw after a Polish man was murdered in Harlow, Essex. An Asian shopkeeper was killed in Glasgow over a difference of religion. Foreigners who have lived quietly in Britain for years are now scared for their lives.
Ever since Britain voted to leave the European union in June, there has been a spike in hate crime. For some, Brexit has given some people a legitimate reason to hate others and, worse, they have acted on it. It has to stop.
At raTrust we work with the most vulnerable members of society – sex workers – many of whom have been trafficked from their own country and forced into prostitution. Day and night, they put their lives at risk as they make money to feed their children or pay their pimp. Although many members of ‘respectable’ society use their services, they aren’t interested in helping them or ensuring that they’re safe. And in the current climate, they are at risk more than ever.
Last week, raTrust – a volunteer-run charity that receives no public funding – was itself the target of hate. We were accused of cloning a person’s credit card and stealing thousands of pounds. We were horrified to hear this but a quick check of our accounts proved that this was not the case. We dealt with the person privately and professionally but not before people – many of whom have no dealings with our charity – took to Twitter to call us “scum of the earth” and claim that our work was a “scam”. This was hurtful, not truthful and more importantly, damaging to the good work we do and the people we help. But those people don’t care. After all, who cares about the prostitutes and drug addicts, people with HIV and AIDS? Well, we do.
We’re still waiting for an apology.
Humans are regarded as the most intelligent species yet we could learn a thing or two from animals in the wild who help each other when in need. So a bird raises the alarm when it sees a predator and an injured dolphin is carried up for air by fellow dolphins. Humans, however, are happy to let each other get eaten alive or sink to the bottom. This hate crime has to stop.
Dominika Rejmer – Director and founder, The raTrust.