Modern Slavery

Our first talk after the summer break was on Modern Slavery.

Inspector Simon Hardwick from Devon and Cornwall Police gave us a very informative overview of the extent of the problem and what’s being done to tackle it.  It’s clearly not an issue just in other parts of the country – Plymouth has its share of incidents too. Simon talked us through sorts of activities where slavery takes place, both legal (such as car washes and nail bars), and illegal (such as cannabis cultivation), and showed us the signs that anyone can watch out for to help identify where it’s taking place.

Modern slavery can be difficult to combat because its victims are very vulnerable to coercion and often moved regularly around the country. But despite those difficulties, it was encouraging to see how the police and other agencies are working together to do their best to protect those victims, even when resources are limited.

Here are the websites Simon gave us as sources of further information and support

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/support-for-victims-of-human-trafficking (Leaflets for victims)

https://modernslavery.co.uk/  (National website)

http://www.aspartnership.org.uk/ (Regional Multi Agency Website)

http://www.unchosen.org.uk/ (National NGO website

http://www.salvationarmy.org.uk/human-trafficking

The Modern Slavery Helpline - 08000 121 700 - is another important source of information and support, but is short of the funds it needs to continue its work.  You can donate to help it continue to provide its services, and learn more about what it does, at http://www.unseenuk.org/ We collected £40 after the talk, which we have donated to the helpline.

We're very grateful to Simon for his time and for speaking to us about such an important topic. He can be found on Twitter as: @InspSimon