Sign the Petition for Equal Representation of Women in TV drama

Labour Party

Following on from the recent event in the European Parliament on the representation of women in TV and film, the Vice-President of Equity UK, Jean Rogers, has sent me an online petition which I would urge all of you to sign.  You will be in good company as it has already been signed by Julie Walters, Phil Davis, David Soul, and Helen Mirren, amongst others, and  has around 7,000 signatories in total. 

The petition is addressed to the major UK television channels, including the BBC, ITV, and Channel 4, and calls on them to take measures to redress the gender imbalance on UK screens.  Currently, although half the TV-watching public is female, only 36.5% of characters in TV drama are female.  What’s more, while men over the age of 45 are frequently seen in leading roles, women of a similar age often seem to disappear off the screen.

Please would you follow the link here and let the TV companies know that very many of us want  equal representation of women on TV.

Iranian Woman sentenced to Death by Stoning

Labour Party

Kobra Babaei, an Iranian woman, is feared to be at imminent risk of stoning to death after her husband Rahim Mohammadi was hanged for “sodomy” on 5 October.  According to an interview given by the couple’s lawyer Mohamad Mostafaei, earlier this year, they had turned to prostitution to support themselves financially after a prolonged period of unemployment.

Rahim Mohammadi and Kobra Babaei, who have a 12-year-old daughter, were both unable to find work for prolonged periods and were very poor.  Reports state that “they realised that certain officials were willing to help them in exchange for sexual relations with Rahim’s young wife” and had therefore turned to prostitution in order to support themselves.

They were both convicted of “adultery while being married”, which carries a mandatory sentence of death by stoning.  According to the lawyer, Kobra Babaei is at imminent risk of stoning now that her husband has been executed.

It really is totally unacceptable and completely appalling that both stoning to death for adultery and hanging for sodomy are still around in this day and age.  Please make your views known and try to save Kobra by signing the petition organised by Amnesty International here.

Human trafficking petition receives over 1,300 signatures

Labour Party

human handsAs regular readers to my blog will be aware, almost a month ago I launched a campaign to highlight the issue of human trafficking and started a petition intended for the Met Police commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson to halt his proposal to close the Mets dedicated human trafficking unit.

I’ve received a huge amount of support so far and the petition has almost 1400 signatures to date. The campaign has received support from my MEP colleagues, MPs, local councillors and GLA members. In addition the Public and Commercial Services Union, and Anti Slavery International have also shown their support.

I will present my petition to Scotland Yard this Friday ahead of the decision which will be made by the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) between 16 -18 November.

Opponents argue that the unit doesn’t save enough people to warrant it staying open but when you hear the stories of those it does save you understand why it’s so important.

Only last Friday the Met Police reported that a Hungarian human trafficker who regularly raped and beat his girlfriend over a period of two years and then brought her to the UK, forcing her to work as a prostitute, has been jailed for 16 years.

The head of the unit, detective inspector Steve Wilkinson said in a statement following the conviction, that the human trafficking unit ‘continues to work towards freeing exploited victims from their captors and ensuring that we continue to successfully bring the traffickers to prosecution.

‘We hope that this result will encourage any other victims to come forward and speak with police who may have felt that they couldn’t do so before.’

But if the MPA decides to cut the funding of the dedicated unit then where will those victims go? And who should they turn to? If there isn’t a dedicated unit how will a greater number of traffickers be prosecuted?

As I have said throughout this campaign, the unit requires the dedicated and specialist knowledge of trained officers to do this role and successfully catch the perpetrators.

Not only will fewer victims feel they can come forward but even fewer prosecutions are likely to take place as a result.