Freedom bus drives awareness of Modern Slavery

Merseyside / July 12

Visitors to Liverpool’s Albert Dock this Saturday will come face-to-face with the ‘freedom bus’ – a mobile exhibition driving awareness of Modern Slavery.

The double decker bus is branded with anti-slavery messages and promotes the national Modern Slavery Helpline which people can call to report any concerns they have about individuals who may be enslaved or trafficked. The branded bus has been borrowed from the Pan-Lancashire Anti-Slavery Partnership with the aim of raising awareness in Merseyside by encouraging people to find out more about the issue so they know how to spot the warning signs.

The freedom bus will be parked outside the International Slavery Museum between 10.30am and 3.30pm on Saturday (13th July, 2019) and staff from the office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, representatives from Merseyside’s Modern Slavery Network and the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit (NWROCU) will be on hand to answer questions, give advice and encourage people to become familiar with the danger signs.

The event is the latest in a host of activities organised by Merseyside’s Modern Slavery Network, chaired by the region’s Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy, to raise awareness of this crime.

It follows on from a Modern Slavery Awareness Training session held in the museum on Tuesday (July 9th). Other initiatives include a giant ‘gift box’ which highlighted the false promises made by people traffickers to people lured from their home country and awareness events at Liverpool John Lennon Airport.

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy said: “Tens of thousands of vulnerable people are believed to be enslaved and trafficked in the UK every year. Yet only a very small proportion of cases are brought to the attention of the police and other authorities.

“We need to change that. One way we can do that is by raising awareness of this issue among the public, so they know how to spot the warning signs, know how to report it when they believe someone may be enslaved and can play their part in stopping modern slavery.

“Our aim is to help educate people so they have a greater understanding of modern slavery and I’m sure the freedom bus will be a great tool for encouraging visitors to the Albert Dock to stop, listen and learn. By getting involved in this conversation, they will be helping to bring this issue out into the open and could even have the awareness to help to save a life in the future.”

The Chair of Lancashire’s Anti-trafficking Network, Sion Hall said: "Modern Slavery is very much a hidden crime. The Freedom Bus is part of a wider strategy of raising awareness around the issues, spotting the signs and what to do if you suspect something.

"Working together we are aiming to help eliminate slavery and support victims. Come and visit us on Saturday if you can."