Rebecca Hurrell, Leeds Uni’s campus police officer raises awareness of the journey these drugs take and how underage workers and slaves in third world countries are often exploited in the process.
“When you think about taking drugs, what do you think about? Do you think about what a great night you’ll have? How no harm will come to you? Do you only think about you and your experience? Do you ever think about the journey of those drugs? Where they came from? Who was involved in getting them to you?”
“Let’s think about the immediate delivery of the drugs, your local dealer.
How old do you think they were when they started dealing? 12? 11? 10? Why did they start to deal? Peer pressure? Wanting those trainers or was it much more sinister? I’m sure you have read all about child sexual exploitation in the news as of late, well most drug dealers are there because of a similar grooming experience.
An older person approaches them at a young age, offers to take them for a McDonalds, to buy those trainers everyone else has got, to give them cash, to be their protector like a new big brother or sister. It’s not until their trust is won that they are asked ‘How are you going to pay me back for those trainers? All that food?’ Then the pressure is applied. That young person is then effectively stuck dealing drugs, with the likelihood of an early death. Most don’t believe that the police will help them out; after all the police are the bad guys in this world…?”
“What about the bigger picture? About the third world countries that produce drugs?
What about the families that have no choice but to produce the chemicals for the drug lords? If they don’t they won’t be able to eat. What happens when the rival drug lord wants their product? They come round with guns and will slaughter the whole family. The whole family. Just to get that product. Just to ship that product to you so you can have a ‘great night’.”
“Cannabis farms in the UK, what’s going on there?
It’s that struggling father in a deprived country, who has a wife and three children to support, he’s just lost his job and his family are hungry. How is he going to feed them? He meets someone who offers him work, tells him that he can get him to the UK where there is a well paid job waiting for him. After he’s been in the UK for a year he can move his family over, so he has no choice but to go and send money back to them until they can come. He’s taken to a meet point and put in a shipping container on the back of a lorry; he already knows what he’s been told isn’t true but he’s already handed his passport over as they told him that they needed to sort his immigration out… they also have guns. Guns they will use. He does as he’s told and is smuggled into the UK. He’s taken to a deprived area in the middle of the night and put in a house. He is shown how to feed and water the cannabis plants that are just beginning to grow there. He is told that if he leaves the house he will be arrested, if he tries to get help he will be arrested and his family back home will be killed. So he stays, he does as he’s told. One day there is a loud bang on the door and four masked men run in the house with baseball bats and balaclavas. They hit him with the bats until he can’t move. They steal the plants. When his boss returns he is beaten again. He has been trafficked.”
“This is what is behind your ‘great night out’. Think about it before you think that drugs don’t harm anyone.”
–PC Becky Hurrell, Police Officer for the University of Leeds.