How a Storybook Is Helping Children Trapped in Exploitation

Despite the pandemic, the tragedy of modern day slavery continues, and sadly many of its victims are children.

In the face of these huge challenges, The Brave Bear Trust is working to stop even more children falling victim to exploitation.

Rob James interviews Heather Lewis, CEO of this ground-breaking initiative.

Tell me Heather, what exactly is the Brave Bear Trust?

Heather: There are more people living in slavery right now, more than at any other time in history, with an estimated 45 million globally and 100,000 in the UK. Brave Bear Trust seeks to help keep children everywhere safe from exploitation and to achieve this by engaging, educating, empowering and equipping children aged 8 to 10, alongside their supporting adults, so they learn how to keep themselves and others safe.

How did it all begin?

Heather: Brave Bear Trust was established in 2020 following the publication of a children’s story book entitled Brave. The book was written when I was raising awareness among schoolchildren while working for Red Community, a charity which exists to combat modern slavery in Wales.

I obviously wanted to address the subject appropriately and sensitively and so, inspired by Toy Story, I ‘brought to life’ the coffee roasting machine used at ‘Manumit’ coffee roasters, which employs survivors of trafficking. I explained how coffee is made from crop to cup, how it is important to pay people for the work they do, and that we need to treat people fairly and with value. As a result of this I conceived the idea of writing a book about ‘Rory’ the coffee roaster.

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(c) The Christian Today, used with permission.