Joining the fight against modern slavery in North West England

By Paul McAnulty, UK and Europe Programme Director at Hope for Justice

Modern slavery is a global problem, but it is also a local one. The remedy for this abhorrent crime needs to be rolled out on a local basis. That’s why we first developed our now award-winning response to modern slavery, delivered by our teams who work in the community to ultimately put an end to human trafficking.

We have already made an enormous positive impact in the West Midlands and West Yorkshire by rolling out our local response to modern slavery in those areas, and last year we expanded into the East Midlands too. In 2021, we are delighted to be setting up another new team to join the fight against human trafficking in Lancashire and North West England.

The picture of modern slavery varies in different areas of the country. In Lancashire and the North West, people are being trafficked into various forms of exploitation through physical, financial or psychological control. People are being forced to work for little or no pay into at risk industries such as logistics, food production and agriculture, nail bars, restaurants, and car washes. Victims are also often coerced into sexual exploitation, forced criminality and domestic servitude.

Our new team, which will begin work in Lancashire in the next month, will work closely and collaboratively with a number of key partners who are already carrying out fantastic work in the area. These include the police, the Pan-Lancashire Anti-Slavery Partnership, local authorities and other NGOs.

We are proud to be working with these organisations, and look forward to developing these vital relationships in the future. By working in partnership, we will bring about the greatest impact.

Our new team will work proactively within the community to identify people trapped in modern slavery, help them to find a way out, and support them as they recover and rebuild their lives. We will also provide interactive training to local practitioners, community groups and individuals, to ensure they are equipped with the knowledge they need to recognise the signs of modern slavery, and know how to act on them. This will improve collaborative, local multi-agency responses and build capacity into existing mechanisms of support, which will in turn improve the standard of advocacy and support for survivors.

We are looking forward to our new team getting to work in the coming month, and to sharing news of its achievements. We are certain that through ongoing collaboration with our partners, and by delivering our tried-and-tested approach, together we can defeat traffickers and pave the way to ending modern slavery in the area.