Sordell exploring the world of human trafficking
2:00pm Tuesday 19th March 2013 in News
THE vile world of human trafficking is not a topic you might expect a footballer to take under his wing, let alone one at the tender age of 22, but then Marvin Sordell is not one to shy away from tough subject matter.
Wanderers' young striker has already stood up tall against racist and abusive behaviour he suffered at the hands of Millwall supporters earlier in the season, and has overcome issues with form and confidence to become a part of the team now surging its way towards the Championship play-offs.
But off the field, Sordell has taken up a very different cause. During a trip to Serbia last October, when England's Under-21s were themselves subjected to some fearsome racist abuse from the home supporters, he read a book entitled “Trafficked,” the terrifying and true account of Sophie Hayes, a regular 20-year-old girl from Yorkshire who was forced into the sex trade.
“I don't know whether it was the book or the timing but it is very empowering,” Sordell explained to The Bolton News. “The book was scary at times and goes into a lot of detail but the amount of courage she showed to get through the situation she was in and afterwards to recover from it, it inspired me even more.”
Sordell praised the story on Twitter, which prompted a response from the author herself.
“She is a remarkable young woman and from that point I just said if there was anything I could do to help, I'd love to because what you are doing on your own is hard. But it is also remarkable.
“Because of the industry I am in and the contacts I have access to then I could possibly arrange to help raise a lot of awareness for your cause and some money towards the charity.
“It is a very tender subject. It is human trafficking but it is also sex trafficking.
“When you think of people that have been trafficked you think or those in poorer countries. But I have been educated by the book and by her that it is a worldwide problem.
“We have got to realise it happens everywhere and happens to everyone. It doesn't matter whether you are a white male, 16, who goes to the best school in the country or a seven year-old girl from Kenya. When a trafficker is looking at you, it makes no difference. All they see is money.
“There a lot of issues involved that make some people want to step back but I just want to help.”
Those Twitter conversations led to the creation of the Marvin Sordell Foundation and the organisation of a gala dinner in London in April as its first big venture.
Sordell has chosen two charities – The Sophie Hayes Foundation and Sport For Freedom – to benefit from the funds raised and has used the power of social networking to help the idea become a reality.
Wanderers fans may smile at that last bit.
The club expressed concern in the past over how much Sordell – and other players – have used Twitter and have now issued an online code of conduct.
Some of the more risqué fans now sing that Sordell “Tweets what he wants” but the player insists that the situation is well under control and has been passed by his manager.
“The song makes me laugh,” he said. “Twitter is a very powerful tool. To be honest, I don't really see the problem side of it. It's only a problem if you make it one.
“If there were certain things that I shouldn't have said, it's done now, it's in the past.
“I just think it is an extremely powerful tool and without it, this event would not be happening.
“I wouldn't have contacted Sophie, got any auction prizes, the acts, and that's just putting it out there boldly. And then there is the advertising that can help with the event.
“If used in the right way, it can be a very positive thing.
“I have explained to the manager exactly that I use it for and that I would be sensible and since then everything has been smooth sailing.”
For tickets to the event, which will include a performance from the West End cast of Les Miserables and other surprise musical acts, contact email@example.com or 020 76920909.
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