[This article was written for the Manukau Courier and published 23 March 2017 – link]
For those that may not know me, among a number of things, I’m an abolitionist and chief executive of a charity called Stand Against Slavery.
What the heck does that mean you ask? Well I thought I might tell you about what a day looks like for someone who is fighting for a slave free world, that is, an abolitionist – whilst being largely based in New Zealand.
Let me take you back to Thursday February 23. I’d just finished breakfast and off to the wharepaku [toilet] to… well you know! Just then a text came through… it’s 7:01am. All the text says is, “Watch Breakfast TV1 NOW”. So I reach for the remote and turn on the TV and reply to the text with, “On now… is something coming?” “Yes, Minister Woodhouse, about new initiative. Will be after the news.”
And now we are off for what will be an active day of emails, phone calls, press releases, website updates, social media posts, and radio interviews.
As I’m watching Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse reveal to Hillary Barry that from April 1st there will be penalties for employers who breach immigration and employment law, I’m thinking why I didn’t have pre-knowledge of this hitting the media?
During the interview, reference to the worker exploitation research we published in December was mentioned and so I text my colleague from before saying “great reference to the research.” As I’m thinking about what comes next I get an email from the Chair of the Human Trafficking Research Coalition… it’s 7:14am. The coalition sponsored the research conducted by the University of Auckland. It’s a big deal and it’s great that this important piece of work was featured in the media again. The Chair is suggesting a press release and this means I have a job to do this morning. About 45 minutes later I get a follow up email with some suggested words from the Chair. What she’s produced is excellent. I respond to the group to say that at 9am, if no one has any changes it will be published to all the media outlets on my email list. At just after 9am I push the send button.
About five minutes later I get a call from Radio 531 PI and scheduled my first media interview later in the morning. A couple of hours later I get a call from Newstalk ZB for Larry Williams’ Drive show, for an interview at 4:05pm. In between times I post links to online news articles on our social media page and update the research website with more links to media.
By 5pm things had died down and I can think about what’s next on my to-do-list… “write Manukau Courier column”. And somewhere in there I got to the wharepaku! Til next time, ka kite…
Peter the abolitionist!