Human rights struggle icon Helen Bamber dies

22 August 2014

I only met Helen Bamber once: we were both doing a TV interview and chatted over a cup of tea while we waited to get called in. It started as one of those “What are you going to say?” conversations so we could avoid treading on each other’s toes in the interview and hopefully cover more ground for the viewers. But as the topic we were discussing was human trafficking it quickly moved into that dark territory of a discussion of human beings inhumanity to other human beings.

It was an issue that Helen had devoted her life to, from her first encounters at Bergen-Belsen with the industrialised horror of the Nazi genocides, to her work with victims of violence and torture down the subsequent years. In spite of the darkness of the subject the conversation was lit by Helen’s warmth and wit.

The Helen Bamber Foundation, which she founded continues her work and Anti-Slavery is honoured to work with them as part of the Anti-Trafficking Monitoring Group. I can only imagine the grief and anguish that her loss causes to her friends, family and clients, who she continued to see until she had to stop about a year ago. All of us in Anti-Slavery extend our deepest sympathy.

The world is a sadder place without her.

Aidan McQuade
Director of Anti-Slavery International