Yoga set to stop traffickers

LAURA WESTBROOK
Last updated 10:35 05/03/2012
STUFF.CO.NZ

Yoga enthusiasts around New Zealand will roll out their mats as part of the global campaign Yoga Stops Traffick. Laura Westbrook reports.

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STRIKE A POSE: Marianne Elliot, co-organiser of Yoga Stops Traffick.

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All the women and children living at the Odanadi rehabilitation centre in Mysore, India have a unique story to tell. Some have been rescued from brothels and sex traffickers, others from child marriages, some from commercial or domestic servitude.

Alanna Krause volunteered at the organisation while in India doing her yoga teacher training. On her return to New Zealand, the Wellington yoga teacher decided to combine her two passions.

For the next five days, yoga enthusiasts in 26 locations around the country will host events from yoga classes to film screenings to raise awareness and funds for the Indian anti-trafficking organisation Odanadi Seva Trust.

It's part of a global campaign called Yoga Stops Traffick, which is held in more than 30 countries around the world. This is the first time it will be held in New Zealand.

"It's a very accessible way to get involved in this issue," said Krause.

"Human trafficking is a huge global issue that has lots of different aspects, but one way if you attend this event you can get involved."

Odanadi is a registered charity in the US, the UK, and the Netherlands, as well as India. Krause has promised 100 per cent of the donations will go to the organisation.

Co-organiser Marianne Elliott, a yoga teacher and former UN human rights monitor, said, "Human trafficking is an issue of massive global concern. There are more slaves today than at any other point in human history and 1.2 million children are trafficked every year."

While many may question what yoga has to do with human trafficking, Krause said it is part of the rehabilitation programme at the centre, which also provides medical care and job training to reintegrate the women and children into society.

"Kids there just love it. It's a great way to feel like you're taking care of yourself, you get stronger physically and mentally. There are lots of health benefits that go with it so you can imagine people who've been through physical and mental trauma - it's helpful for them."

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