Community Hero Campaign in partnership with Elizabeth Arden
This month Sparrow Society and Elizabeth Arden have chosen to honour an incredible woman whose passion, dedication and commitment to end human slavery has helped many trafficked women and men in South Africa find freedom.
Congratulations to Katie Modrau, Country Manager for A21 South Africa, a global NGO fighting human trafficking around the world! Katie, thank you for making a positive impact in our country. You deserve to be honoured as a hero!
Ah man, I am so honoured! You don’t necessarily consider yourself a hero when you are doing what you are passionate about, you just know you need to be doing it. Thank you for the spoils!!!
Can you please tell us a bit more about A21?
We are a global counter human trafficking organisation that believes slavery is wrong on all levels. We believe strongly that every single person can stand up to this injustice and that if we all play our part, we can be the last generation sold. Within what we do we aim to Reach the vulnerable with the message of prevention, Rescue the victim and Restore the survivor.
Would you mind sharing a bit on your story and how you got involved with A21 and doing the work you do?
I found out about human trafficking in my last year of university. I just couldn’t shake it, I was totally shocked that it was a reality. I believe in my core that every single human life is valuable, and trafficking is something that puts a money price on a person and tells them they are expendable. Just like something on the shelf at a grocery store. I also have seen that so often people are lured and held in slavery because they have never been told their worth, so they think that somehow what is happening to them is ok. So after I finished my degree I moved overseas to intern with A21 to learn what I could. The aim was to bring what I learned back here in SA. I never dreamed A21 would send me home to plant the office here 2 years later.
What are the current statistics on human trafficking in South Africa and the world?
Globally the stats range from 27 million enslaved to an estimated 45 million. Which ever stat you land on, it is millions of people.
The reality 99% of victims in slavery will never be rescued while only 1-2% of traffickers are ever convicted. So we work hard to change this, flip it around. But slavery isn’t just a global problem it is a local problem too. According to the Global Slavery Index, we have at least 247000 slaves in South Africa and it is estimated that 46% of our population is vulnerable to falling prey to trafficker’s deception. We take that last statistic very seriously. We need to be educating those most vulnerable on how to protect themselves from being lured and exploited. Imagine if we could prevent trafficking before it even happened?
Yes, that is so true! What is your specific role and how would you describe a typical day in Katie Modrau’s shoes and office?
I am the Country Manager for South Africa so basically that just means I need to make sure we grow and expand in influence and reach and are strategically targeting trafficking and what it looks like in our local context. But I have an incredible team who go over and above to see this happen. A typical day in my shoes is lots of emails and connecting with our team to make sure they have what they need to do what they do. HA! What we do is quite heavy so I try to be a bit of a fun master and keep it light hearted where possible in the office. Team spirit and development is everything, so a lot of my focus is here.
You have some incredible partners supporting A21! Would you mind telling us more?
Yes, we have trained almost all the ground and cabin crew staff for Comair across the country and next year will be looking at training regionally (Zim, Namibia etc). And recently Pick n Pay has had rolling adverts in all of their store TV’s warning people of human trafficking and promoting the 24/7 Resource Line that we operate. We will be rolling out training to their stores in Western Cape going forward. Partnerships like this are key, we all have a sphere of influence and we all have the ability to educate people around us. Both of these partnerships have started with ONE passionate person. And look where we are now?
You annual Walk for Freedom is happening soon! It sounds amazing and inspiring?
YES! This is our 4th annual walk. It is global walk in over 50 countries around the world where people walk in a single file kitted out in A21 T shirts and yellow bandanas. The aim is simple: Shine a spotlight on the 27 million men, women and children trapped in modern-day slavery. The belief is that by fundraising and rallying thousands of people, this event will be the catalyst for the rescue and restoration of human beings being exploited as mere commodities. It is a tangible, practical and doable thing for every single person. All of us can put our feet on the pavement and use our steps to make a difference.
Is anyone allowed to join Walk for Freedom and where can they go to sign up?
THE MORE WALKERS THE MORE EPIC IT WILL BE. You can sign up at a21.org/walk and all the information about the walk closest to you will be sent. The T shirts and bandanas you can buy from our office or at the walk itself.
What other ways are there for people to help and give their support to A21?
Everyone can effect change. Maybe it’s by inviting us to raise awareness in your school or workplace, maybe it’s by becoming a monthly partner and donating to us each month or organising a fundraiser. It’s not how you can do it all on your own, but what small thing can you do as PART of the solution.
If someone wanted to get more information on A21 where can they go?
If you ever see something that looks suspicious or have any questions on human trafficking,
please call our 24/7 resource line on 0800 222 777.
Well, there you have it – what an amazing women that deserves to be honoured!
Thank you also for all the nominations received for our Elizabeth Arden and Sparrow Society Community Hero Award! We have so many incredible girls in South Africa serving their community and making a difference! If you nominated someone that didn’t win or know of a women that deserves to be celebrated, send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org. She might just be our next HERO!