On Anti-Slavery Day we are pleased to announce our plans to launch our newest UK Hub, in the East Midlands region.
Staffed by multilingual outreach and engagement workers, the new Hub is part of scaling up our award-winning model that has already changed so many lives. A strategic analysis found significant gaps in service provision in the East Midlands, including Leicestershire, which is a hub for the garment sector. We have seen increasing evidence of modern slavery in this region and this sector, beyond the well-known poor working conditions and lax standards that have been documented many times and which have been the source of UK media attention this summer.
Hope for Justice believes now is the time to have a permanent base here and expert staff focused on modern slavery in the East Midlands. We will be working closely with existing agencies, police, local councils and others, and crucially we will act as an alternative pathway out of exploitation for people unable or unwilling to engage with the authorities. We will also be focusing more of our Training resources into the region.
Paul McAnulty, UK & Europe Programme Director at Hope for Justice, said: “We are unwavering in our efforts ensure a world free from slavery. This means being agile to the changing face of slavery here in the UK and overseas.
“We often hear of slavery being a hidden crime but the unique problems faced in the garment industries of Leicester are no secret, and the abuses experienced by those who work within them are a public shame. Underfunding and under-resourcing of key enforcement agencies coupled with widespread fraud within some factories of Leicester have resulted in at-risk communities being exploited for financial gain. This is an area in significant need for intervention.
“We are immensely proud of, and deeply admire, the efforts of all of our partners including statutory and and non-statutory agencies, NGOs and the businesses who are committed to the fight and know that this is not a war we can win in isolation. Collaboration and a partnership approach are paramount.
“We are extremely thankful to be able to ramp up our efforts by opening a new community engagement hub in Leicester with a view to helping our partners tackle slavery in both Leicester and the wider East Midlands region.
“We never abandon the least, the last and the lost. We are committed to ending modern slavery and hope to soon be able to announce more about our UK strategy and other new Hubs.”
Thank you to our Guardians – our community of regular givers who allow us to have more impact year-on-year, who are building our momentum in the fight against modern slavery and providing the sustainable funding needed to plan expansions into new countries and regions like we have announced today. It means more victims rescued and more lives restored.