Category Archives: Children

Exhibition on Modern Day Slavery

Dame Anne Begg MP attended one of the most dramatic and distressing exhibitions ever promoted in the House of Commons highlighting the hidden nature of Modern Day Slavery.

The exhibition, built by students from the Central St Martin’s College of Art, depicts the four different kinds of slavery hidden away in our society.  Curtains, doors, drawers and tea chests concealed the stories and photographs of survivors.

The survivors who shared their stories with the Human Trafficking Foundation to create the exhibition attended the opening.  Among them was Cristina, a Romanian girl sold by her mother into prostitution in Birmingham when she was 16 and who narrowly escaped being snatched from her local authority care home by her traffickers.  There was also a man, duped by a job advertised in Hungary, and on arrival here forced to work without pay, compelled to open a credit card account operated by his slave master, forced to claim benefits for non-existent children.

No one knows the real numbers involved.  Yet, the Serious Organized Crime Agency knows that at least 2,000 victims are found each year.  However, they believe that is the tip of the iceberg and that for every victim found, another ten remain hidden.  The Human Trafficking Foundation concludes there must be up to 20,000 slaves in the cities, towns and villages of the UK.

Of these victims that have come to light, 6% are known to have come from Scotland.

Dame Anne visits House of Commons exhibition
Dame Anne visits House of Commons exhibition

MP for Aberdeen South, Dame Anne said “Due to recent local press coverage on this issue this week, we are all aware that there are deeply traumatised people who have been trafficked to the UK and abused living in Aberdeen.

“That’s why I recently held an event on International Women’s Day to raise awareness of human trafficking and I want to ensure that everyone in Aberdeen is more alert to the signs of modern day slavery.  I hope students in schools, public service workers, the police, as well as those in private business will join me in this task.

“In parliament, I have already tabled a question to the Minister asking that frontline staff are fully trained to recognise the signs of human trafficking. I want to see modern day slavery put at the top of the political agenda.”

Anthony Steen, Chairman of the Human Trafficking Foundation said: “What is amazing is that trafficked children, unlike adults, are offered no special care in spite of what they have been through.  They have no safe haven since in local authority care hundreds of trafficked children go missing each year.

Maggie Law Maritime Museum

Dame Anne Begg MP was delighted to officially open the Maggie Law Maritime Museum. Dame Anne, who is honorary president of the Maggie Law Maritime Museum Committee, also gave the keynote speech to an invited audience in the Gourdon Village Hall.

Dame Anne unveiled plaque
Dame Anne unveiled plaque

The project has encompassed many of Dame Anne’s interests by not only involving two local schools in developing the museum as an Education Centre but also by ensuring the museum is fully accessible by developing concepts such as the Armchair Tour. This means that anyone who has a loss or restriction of mobility can access the Heritage Trails by laptop through a video and commentary, from the comfort of the Museum, or from their own home.

Two mobility scooters have also been purchased by the Museum.

The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association have offered their advice and support to Museum to enhance the coastal and Heritage Trail for people with their guide dogs.Dame Anne delivered the keynote speech

The new website was also launched and more information on the Museum can be accessed at

Make IT Happy, Make IT Safe

Dame Anne Begg, MP for Aberdeen South, is supporting the Make IT Happy competition, a UK-wide technology challenge for primary school students aged 9 to 11.

Dame Anne said “This year’s competition has been specially designed to help children use the internet safely and creatively. Staying safe online is an important skill even for primary age children, and the competition helps them learn how to make the most of the internet without putting themselves at risk.”

£1,200 will be awarded to each of the regional competition finalists, with the overall winning school taking home an additional cash prize of £4,000. Winners will also be invited to attend an awards ceremony to be held at the Houses of Parliament in London in June 2013.

The closing date for entries is April 6, 2013. For further information and details of how to enter, visit the website at

Prize Giving Ceremony

On Friday 14th December Dame Anne presided over a prize giving ceremony for the winner and runners-up of her 2012 Christmas Card Competition at the ASDA, Bridge of Dee.

Christmas Card Competition
Christmas Card Competition

Primary 1 pupil, Lucas Norwood from Hamilton School was selected as the winner by judge Shelagh Swanson, Owner and Resident Artist at Oil & Glass in Torry.

Six runners up were also chosen and they were: Catherine Bell, P1, Albyn School; Bethany South, P2, Kirkhill Primary School; Ceili Reilly, Class 5, The International School of Aberdeen; Kelci-Jade Beedie, P5, Kirkhill Primary School; Fraser Joss, P6/7, Culter Primary School; and En-Li Soh, L6B, Albyn School.

And Dame Anne was joined by a special guest to help hand out the prizes.

Santa joined Anne to help hand over the prizes
Santa joined Dame Anne to help hand over the prizes

Thanks to the generosity of local businesses, the winner and runners up were awarded some fantastic prizes, with the winner receiving a Nintendo 3DS. Thanks also go to Asda for hosting the prize giving in their cafe.

Winner Lucas accepts his prize
Winner Lucas accepts his prize

Dame Anne said: “Over the years that I have run my Christmas Card competition, it has really grown and I am always amazed at the quality and creativity of the entries I receive every year.

“We received almost 1,000 submissions this year and it is clear that the pupils put a lot of time and effort into their designs. I would, therefore, like to thank all those who took the time to submit an entry this year and I enjoyed meeting the winner and runners-up in person to hand over their prizes.”

Dame Anne’s Christmas Card Competition – winner announced

The winner of Dame Anne’s Christmas Card Competition has been announced as Lucas Norwood from the Hamilton School. The competition was judged on Monday 19th November by Shelagh Swanson, Owner and Resident Artist at Oil and Glass in Torry.

Cards on display at Asda, Bridge of Dee
Cards on display at Asda, Bridge of Dee

With 1,000 entries from schools across Aberdeen South, it was very challenging for the judge to pick only one winner. Dame Anne said: “There were so many fantastic cards from school pupils across Aberdeen South and I appreciate the effort that they have put into their submissions this year. I am, therefore,  delighted to be able to present everyone who entered with a certificate.”

Thanks also go to to Asda Bridge of Dee who have kindly displayed all the cards on the windows along the checkouts. If any of the pupils who submitted entries want to take their card away with them they are more than welcome to do so. Asda will also be hosting the prize giving for the winner and runner up.

Finally, thank you to all the local business who made donations towards the prizes for the winner and runner ups.


Lucas Norwood, Glamis – P1 at Hamilton School.

Runners up

  • En-Li Soh, L6B, Albyn School
  • Ceili Reilly, Class 5, The International School of Aberdeen
  • Catherine Bell, P1, Albyn School
  • Bethany South, P2, Kirkhill Primary School
  • Kelci-Jade Beedie, P5, Kirkhill Primary School
  • Fraser Joss, P6/7, Culter Primary School

World School Milk Day

Dame Anne was delighted to be invited to Woodend Nursery to celebrate World School Milk Day and the benefits of drinking milk.

Dame Anne said “ I am supporting World School Milk Day and the school milk scheme as I am aware of the positive effect it has in encouraging children to drink milk throughout their childhood, ensuring they develop healthy bones. I remember drinking milk as a child and I still love it.”

World School Milk Day is organised by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations and is celebrated in over 30 countries around the world.

The Department of Health is currently reviewing the Nursery Milk scheme and you can complete the public consultation before 23rd October here:

Aberdeen South youngsters face unemployment as price for this government’s economic failure

Young people in Aberdeen South are paying the price for this government’s economic failure as long term youth unemployment in our area continues to sky rocket

Unemployment figures released today have shown that the number of young people claiming Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) long term has increased by 500% in Aberdeen South in the past twelve months.

Commenting on today’s unemployment figures, Aberdeen South MP Dame Anne Begg said:

“Today’s unemployment figure offer no let up for young people in Aberdeen South who are still paying the price for this Government’s economic failure.

“When I was elected in 1997, the real issue was not just youth unemployment but long term youth unemployment and it is clear that this is becoming an issue again.

“It is known that the longer there is a delay in a person getting their first job, the harder it is for them to not only find work but also to find a job with promising career opportunities. Long term youth unemployment, therefore, can have a devastating impact on the life chances of an individual.

“It is also particularly concerning that we have seen an increase of 500% in the past year in Aberdeen where unemployment is low and we have an expanding economy.

“This Government has got to wake up to this crisis and take action now. It is clear that any employability help for young people needs to focus on supporting the long term unemployed into work. That’s why they should start with Labour’s Real Jobs Guarantee and get our young people back to work.”

Dame Anne backs plain packaging after Aberdeen South statistics revealed

Dame Anne has backed Cancer Research UK’s campaign ‘The answer is plain’ supporting the plain packaging of tobacco products with the aim of reducing the number of underage smokers. In response to the government’s “Stoptober” campaign, Dame Anne emphasises that “although smokers should be encouraged to stop, the government needs to also tackle the root causes of why people start smoking.”

Dame Anne has discovered that approximately 2,550 children in Grampian are regular smokers. Furthermore, almost a quarter of Aberdonians smoke frequently. Dame Anne said: “These statistics are shocking. The number of children smoking is clearly far too high and should be addressed. Most smoking-related deaths in the city are preventable and reducing the number of smokers – especially underage ones – is critical to this.”

Research shows that plain, standardised packaging makes cigarettes less attractive to children. On average, eight in ten smokers start by the age of 19. Dame Anne said: “It’s crucial that the government works to de-glamorise smoking as much as possible and expose the true risks of the habit to children, which will significantly reduce the chances of them starting smoking later in life.”

Cancer UK described current packaging as “a seductive marketing tool that attracts young people in to a habit that kills half of all long term smokers.”

Dame Anne stated: “Underage smoking is a distinct problem in Aberdeen South and I am eager to investigate ways of preventing it. Plain packaging is a widely recommended solution and I am keen to see this introduced.”

“Whilst I encourage the government’s efforts to promote ‘Stoptober,’ it needs to dissuade people from smoking in the first place, which many say is caused by the attractive packaging.”

“Young people can be easily tempted by advertising and with the vast majority of smokers starting before the age of 19, stubbing out teenage smoking must be a government priority.”


Boys’ Brigade Baton

On Wednesday 15th, Dame Anne recieved the Jubilee Baton on behalf of the Boys’ Brigade in Aberdeen, which contains the Queen’s message to the Brigade Council which is being held in London on 14th to 16th September.

The baton was handed over to representatives of the Boys’ Brigade at Balmoral on Tuesday evening and is travelling around as many Battalions as possible before the council in September.

Over 60 guests attended and enjoyed a short display from the boys.

Boys' Brigade
Boys’ Brigade