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Concert for Captured Hearts - huge success


‘Concert for Captured Hearts’ sends Valentine message to victims of human trafficking


Edinburgh classical musicians showed a spotlight on human trafficking in Scotland and raised over £1,000 for Amnesty International at annual concern.


It wasn’t your typical Valentine but it was both important and a gesture of love and concern. On Sunday the 15th of February people were writing heart-shaped notes to the Scottish Government in support of pending legislation against human trafficking at St Mary’s Cathedral on Palmerston Place in Edinburgh.


It was part of this year’s classical music concert in Edinburgh to support Amnesty International. The theme for this year’s concert was modern slavery in Scotland, dubbed the Concert for Captured Hearts. The group promised to deliver these Valentines to the government in the hopes of getting proposed against modern slavery passed as quickly as possible.


It was the fifth year that St Mark’s Amnesty Group has sponsored a concert for Amnesty. It’s the brain child of Lindsay Martindale, a long-time member of Edinburgh’s St Mark’s Amnesty Group. The concern started five years ago with Martindale, her cello and a pianist.


This year’s concern gave people in Edinburgh a chance to hear some of the Capital’s best classical musicians. The programme included Richard Strauss’s‘Don Quixote’ and Antonin Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 (From the New World), performed by the Orchestra of the Canongait conducted by Robert Dick. Soloists were Martindale and violist Asher Zaccardelli, both from Edinburgh.


“This virtuoso piece for orchestra was performed with loads of colour and commitment, showing lots of inner detail from a large orchestra,’ said Ástmar Ólafsson, a music teacher in Edinburgh [or add description here].


Ólafsson had praise for the soloist too: “The exceptional soloists portrayed the main character and his sidekick, Sancho Panza with lyrical beauty, wit and full credit has to go to Ms Martindale for a particularly poignant portrayal of Don Quixote' s death bed scene.”


Bringing what’s hidden in the shadows to light


Along with the heart-shaped notes to the government there were heart-shaped biscuits served at the break.


The concerts organisers wanted to shine a light on this issue because so much of human trafficking takes place in the shadows, hidden from view in private ‘sex flats’ or in dodgy domestic situations. This is according to a report on trafficking in Scotland by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission.


The report found evidence for both sexual exploitation and forced unpaid labour and documented some horrific incidents, including the story of a woman forced to work as a prostitute as she listened to her young daughter crying in the next room.

There were 55 potential victims of human trafficking in Scotland in 2013, the last year that we have numbers for, according to the National Crime Agency. Prosecution for human trafficking in Scotland lag behind England and Wales, however.


Last year, Jenny Marra MSP Labour consulted on a bill that incorporated most of the commission’s recommendations. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced this year that the Scottish government would bring forward measures to improve how Scotland deals with human trafficking and exploitation, to make sure Scotland remains, “a hostile environment for human traffickers, while continuing to support the needs of victims.”


Both Marra and Justice Secretary Michael Matheson have endorsed the concerts and the St Mark’s Group’s efforts to shed light on the subject.



Jenny Marra said: “I have always had a strong admiration for the work Amnesty International do and events like the ‘Concert for Captured Hearts brings human trafficking and its victims to the forefront of people’s minds – incredibly important given the growing numbers of people being trafficked in Scotland and across the UK.”


Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said: The work being done by Amnesty to raise awareness of the evils of human trafficking and exploitation is vitally important and I fully support this event taking place. Working together is the only way we can rid Scotland of the scourge of this awful crime.”


We don’t usually think of human trafficking as a particularly Scottish problem but it’s happening today right here’ said cellist Martindale, who began what has become an annual concert to support Amnesty in Edinburgh five years ago. “So when people are thinking about love we want to call attention to those whose hearts have been captured and support efforts to make Scotland hostile ground for human trafficking.’



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