A child at the centre of a 17th century court case has been chosen as the figurehead of a fundraising event to aid victims of modern slavery.
The "tumbling lassie" is again to be the theme of a charity ball run by a group of advocates in aid of two charities which work at home and abroad with victims of human trafficking.
The name comes from a 1687 Court of Session decision about a girl who 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. When the showman went to court demanding damages from the couple, the judges dismissed his claim, reportedly stating: “But we have no slaves in Scotland, and mothers cannot sell their bairns.”
Last year the first ball held in memory of the "tumbling lassie" raised about £14,000 for the two charities.
Supported by the Faculty of Advocates, the new Tumbling Lassie Ball will be held in St Paul’s & St George’s Church, York Place, Edinburgh, on Saturday 28 January 2017. The date marks the 330th anniversary of the court's decision 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 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 the impact of recent changes in anti-trafficking legislation north and south of the border will be held in the Faculty’s Mackenzie Building.
Today (18 October) is Anti-Slavery Day.