PCCs join forces to shine a light on modern slavery
Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne is joining forces with her counterparts in neighbouring counties for a ground-breaking conference to fight modern slavery.
Mrs Bourne is teaming up with the PCCs for Hampshire, Surrey and Thames Valley to host an event on Tuesday, 20 June, to examine how the four areas can work together to tackle the issue of human trafficking.
The conference at the HG Wells Conference & Events Centre in Woking will be opened by Kevin Hyland, the UK’s Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner. Speakers will include Miriam Minty from the Home Office’s Modern Slavery Unit, Assistant Chief Constable Jeremy Burton, Specialist Crime, Surrey & Sussex Police, and Shahrzad Fouladvand, Lecturer in International Criminal Law at the University of Sussex.
“Slavery is happening here and we need to do something about it,” says Mrs Bourne. “It can affect men, women and children, many of whom are British. These are extremely vulnerable victims and we all have a responsibility to work together to protect them.
“It’s clear that this problem goes beyond county boundaries, which is why I invited my fellow commissioners to jointly host this event.
“We need to join forces in order to understand the scale of the problem in both our county and the region and to find a better way of working together on the solution.”
Detective Superintendent Ian Pollard said: “We do not know the true level of modern slavery in Sussex and the various different forms it can take, but we are working with other agencies to help better understand this across Sussex along with our colleagues in the South East region and nationally.
“All information is referred to the National Crime Agency through a national referral mechanism so that safeguarding action can be considered for all potential or actual victims.
“We are always keen for further information from the public to help us uncover the true scale of the problem.”
Kevin Hyland says: “The police response to modern slavery must remain a priority if we hope to see more victims rescued and perpetrators punished so it is good to see that these four Police and Crime Commissioners are getting together to understand the scale of the problem and how to tackle it. Only by collaboration and cooperation will we really see progress.
“PCCs are in a position to drive change; I would like to see more PCCs leading the charge in their areas and working effectively with partners to fight the brutal crime of modern slavery.”
Notes for editors
• The definition of human trafficking, or modern slavery, is flexible but at its core all forms of trafficking share the control and exploitation of the vulnerable for the profit and gain of their traffickers
• Owing to factors including a lack of awareness and the constantly evolving nature of the problem, it is difficult to gain an truly accurate picture of trafficking in the UK
• The Home Office estimates there are between 10,000 and 13,000 potential victims of trafficking in the UK, including victims trafficked into the UK as well as British adults and children
• According to the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner’s website, there were 3,805 recorded victims of modern slavery in the UK in 2016, an increase of 17% on the previous year
• Reporting showed potential victims of trafficking from 108 different nationalities in 2016
• Albanian, UK, Nigerian and Vietnamese nationals are the most commonly reported potential victims
• The most common exploitation type recorded for potential victims exploited as an adult was labour exploitation, which also includes criminal exploitation.
For more details, please visit www.antislaverycommissioner.co.uk