Tumbling Lassie announcement marks Anti-Slavery Day

18 Oct


A nameless girl from 17th Century Scotland is to be the spearhead of a fundraising event to aid victims of modern slavery.

Known only as “the tumbling lassie”, the girl was “bought” from her mother and used by a travelling showman as a performing gymnast until she fled and was given refuge by a couple.

The showman went to court and demanded damages from the couple, but the judges dismissed his claim, and the official report of the case stated: “But we have no slaves in Scotland, and mothers cannot sell their bairns.”

A group of advocates raised about £14,000 last year at a Tumbling Lassie Ball and donated the money to two charities which work at home and abroad with victims of human trafficking.

Now, on Anti-Slavery Day (18 October), the group, the Tumbling Lassie Committee, has announced plans for another Ball.

Supported by the Faculty of Advocates, it will be held in St Paul’s and St George’s Church, York Place, Edinburgh, on Saturday 28 January, 2017, marking the 330th anniversary of the decision of the Court of Session in the Tumbling Lassie case, Reid v Scot of Harden, which was delivered on 27 January, 1687.

“Trafficking in persons is a worldwide problem. It affects men, women and children, who are trafficked for a range of exploitative purposes,” said Maryam Labaki, who serves on the committee with fellow members of the Faculty of Advocates, Alan McLean, QC, Patricia Comiskey, Eric Robertson, Janys Scott, QC, Iain Mitchell, QC, and Isla Davie.

“Modern slavery is a growing issue and the Tumbling Lassie Committee aims to raise awareness and funds to help support work done in Scotland by Trafficking Awareness Raising Alliance (TARA) and globally by the International Justice Mission (IJM) which provides support and aid to the victims of trafficking.”

On the morning of the Ball, a seminar looking at recent changes in anti-trafficking legislation north and south of the Border will be held in the Faculty’s Mackenzie Building. One of the speakers will be Parosha Chandran, a human rights barrister and an expert on human trafficking. She received the Trafficking in Persons Hero Award 2015 from US Secretary of State John Kerry in Washington DC for her work in developing the rule of law on trafficking in the UK and abroad.

For more information, go to www.tumblinglassie.com or contact the committee at tumblinglassie@gmail.com