What’s being done?
Scams and Older People
Child Sexual Exploitation
A government priority
Tackling modern slavery is a priority for the government. Most of its focus is on improving transparency in business, to encourage companies to stamp out slavery in their supply chains, and on strengthening the ability of Border Force staff to detect traffickers and victims at the border.
In 2015, as part of the Modern Slavery Act, the government created the post of Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, with a UK-wide remit to boost the powers of law enforcement agencies, ensure perpetrators are adequately punished and improve protection and support for victims.
In 2016, a taskforce was set up to coordinate the government’s response to modern slavery, and the Prime Minister Theresa May allocated a further £33.5m to the cause.
In September 2017, the International Development Secretary announced that the UK would increase its development spending on tackling modern slavery to £150m.
Private sector supply chains
The Modern Slavery Act requires every UK company with turnover of more than £36m to publish an annual ‘slavery and human trafficking statement’, detailing what they are doing to identify and eradicate these crimes in their supply chains. These companies must put a link to the statement on the homepage of their website. Around 12,000 companies are expected to be affected by the rule, though at present there is no centrally-held list of the companies.
Stronger Together is an initiative that aims to reduce modern slavery in supply chains by providing guidance, resources and training to organisations. If you work for a business that has a supply chain, or is in the construction sector, you can find a host of free resources at www.stronger2gether.org or watch the introductory film here.
Slaves On Our Streets media campaign
In September 2017, the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner launched a media campaign called Slaves On Our Streets, in partnership with The Independent and Evening Standard. The three-month campaign took the form of a special investigation into modern slavery. You can read more about it here and the full report on the campaign here.
As part of the campaign, British firms were encouraged to sign up to a statement pledging vigilance against modern slavery. Marks & Spencer, Waitrose, Clifford Chance, Subway and the City of London Corporation were among those that signed.
The Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority
The GLAA was given police-style powers in May 2017 with a remit to tackle exploitation across the UK labour market. In its first year of operation, it inspected 245 businesses, launched 181 investigations, and arrested 107 people.
The Co-op’s support for victims and awareness among customers
Last year, members of the Co-op, the UK’s fifth-largest food retailer, voted to include modern slavery in the company’s three-year strategy, starting with a national awareness-raising campaign for customers on the risks and realities of modern slavery in the UK. The Co-op also teamed up with charities City Hearts and The Snowdrop Project to launch the ‘Bright Future’ project, which will provide employment opportunities for up to 300 survivors of modern slavery through a work placement scheme supported by around 20 major UK businesses including BP, Tesco and the Body Shop. The Co-op itself has already recruited 19 survivors to full-time jobs in its shops and warehouses.
BT and the Modern Slavery Helpline
BT has teamed up with the charity Unseen UK to run the Modern Slavery Helpline and Resource Centre. As well as providing a 24-hour phone line offering advice to people who want to escape from slavery, and those who want to report suspicions, the Resource Centre is a central hub of information and advice to the public, statutory agencies, businesses and the media.
In October 2017, the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner and the Local Government Association produced a guide for local councils on their role in fighting modern slavery. You can download it here.
In October 2016 the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, jointly with South East England Councils and NHS England produced a set of three modern slavery awareness-raising videos for local councils, emergency services and health professionals. The aim of these is to emphasise the vital role frontline professionals have in tackling modern slavery and helping victims to exit exploitation, and to equip them to spot initial signs of modern slavery. The videos for local government and the emergency services are publicly available on the LGA website.
The Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner has produced a film to help public sector workers to identify and tackle slavery.
Mayor of London
The Mayor of London has appointed a London-based Victim Commissioner. The mayor also pledged extra community officers who can assess and gather local information on local slavery issues, and a single point of contact for each borough to liaise across sectors and provide expert advice.
As well as running the Modern Slavery Helpline and Resource Centre with BT, Unseen works directly with survivors of modern slavery and trafficking, running various projects such as emergency safehouses, counselling, legal advice, resettlement services, and specific care and support for male survivors. It also hosts a central register of business transparency reports and runs training for professionals who might encounter victims of modern slavery in their work.
Stop the Traffik is a UK-based charity that exists to gather intelligence from all around the world to build an accurate global picture of human trafficking and modern slavery. As well as raising awareness of the signs, Stop the Traffik provides tools such as the STOP APP which helps people to safely report their suspicions if they see something dodgy. Data gathered through the app is analysed by expert at the charity’s Centre for Intelligence-Led Prevention and shared with relevant agencies around the world. Working with financial institutions, businesses, law enforcement agencies, NGOs, governments and communities, it aims to systemically disrupt this criminal activity and make it much harder for traffickers to operate.
The Clewer Initiative is a three-year campaign to help Church of England dioceses and wider Church networks to develop strategies to detect modern slavery in their communities, and provide care and support to survivors. It is funded by the Clewer Sisters, an Anglican order of Augustinian nuns founded in 1852 to help marginalised women who became homeless and were drawn into the sex trade.
One of the Clewer Initiative’s first projects is a GPS-enabled app called ‘Safe Car Wash’ which encourages members of the public to examine hand car washes in their area and identify the signs that slavery is going on there by answering a series of simple questions. At the end, if the answers indicate that the car wash is a base for modern slavery, the app urges the user to call the Modern Slavery Helpline immediately. The data provided will be used by police and data analysts to map the industry and protect its workers, and in early 2019 the Clewer initiative and Nottingham University’s Rights Lab will publish a public policy report analysing the data collected to date.
The Clewer Initiative and the Church Investors Group also plan to write to the chief executives of the major fuel retailers, asking for information on the numbers of car washes on their premises, and requesting details of their governance arrangements and steps they have taken to check their supply chains.
Hope for Justice was founded in West Yorkshire in 2008 as a means to rescue and support victims of modern slavery. Research among victims at the time found that most of them had been to the police during their abuse but had been told it was a civil matter and turned away. Modern slavery was a ‘new’ crime and police did not have the training to deal with it.
Hope for Justice set up an investigative hub in West Yorkshire, to act as a stopgap between the police and victims. In its first year, the charity rescued 110 victims from slavery, aged from three months up to 58 years old. They went on to build connections with other local agencies and charities to provide support for those rescued and employed a trainer to deliver training to statutory and non-statutory bodies.
Between the launch of the hub in 2013, and 2017, Hope for Justice rescued over 400 victims and trained more than 8,000 frontline professionals. It set up its second investigative hub in the West Midlands in May 2014 and its first international hub in 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.
The Salvation Army has been contracted by the government to deliver specialist support to adult victims of modern slavery in England and Wales. It runs a confidential 24-hour referral helpline on 0300 303 8151.
BAWSO is a Welsh charity providing specialist services to victims and BME people affected by or at risk of domestic abuse and all forms of violence including human trafficking, honour-based violence, forced marriage and FGM. Last year BAWSO supported 23 service users and 12 children through its Diogel Trafficking Project.