Major consultation held by Police Commissioner to drive work to combat Modern Slavery and exploitation across the region18.10.23 - Merseyside
More than 60 specialists from across the region united for a consultation led by Merseyside’s Police Commissioner today to drive forward the work to tackle Modern Slavery and exploitation.
Held to mark Anti-Slavery Day, the event brought together experts from key partners and agencies, including frontline organisations and charity groups, to discuss the development of a delivery plan for combatting Modern Slavery across Merseyside.
The region-wide delivery plan will be driven by the Modern Slavery Network which was re-launched by the PCC Emily Spurrell back in May and is chaired by Deputy Police Commissioner, Cllr Jeanie Bell, focussing on redoubling the efforts to tackle the issue and improve the support provided to victims.
The feedback from today’s forum at The Florrie in Dingle, will be used to develop a delivery plan, set to be launched in January, which will shape how all organisations across Merseyside work to tackle slavery and trafficking.
Tackling Modern Slavery is a priority for the Police Commissioner and a key theme in her delivery plan focusing on putting a stop to Violence against Women and Girls.
Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner, Emily Spurrell said: “Modern Slavery is not an issue of the past. It is here. It is happening today. And it’s happening on Merseyside.
“In the UK alone, there are estimated to be more than 100,000 victims silently hidden in everyday places like car washes, brothels, nail bars and restaurants.
“Tackling Modern Slavery and exploitation is a top priority for me and for all the partners in our recently relaunched Modern Slavery Network, many of which are already doing amazing work to prevent and tackle the scourge of Modern Slavery in our communities.
“The development of this delivery plan is designed to recognise where there are gaps or weaknesses that we must act on and ensuring, as a partnership, we are working together to tackle this issue as effectively as possible and provide the best possible support to those affected by this abhorrent crime.
“This plan is also focused on raising awareness among people who are living and working in our communities, day in day out, so they are able to spot the signs of potential exploitation and report it. By doing so, they could save a vulnerable person from a lifetime of exploitation and enslavement.
“Sadly, there are vulnerable people who are living amongst us, who are being sexually exploited for profit, tricked into long hours of hard labour, or locked away from their friends and family.
“There is a long way to go if we are to eradicate Modern Slavery for good, but by working together we can be a force for change, making our region safer for all men, women and children.
Merseyside Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, Councillor Jeanie Bell commented: “I was delighted that so many knowledgeable and passionate professionals were able to join us today for this crucial discussion, drawing on their expertise to develop this important document which will drive forward the work to tackling this horrible crime.
“Modern Slavery is often hidden. Together we want to bring it out of the darkness and shine a light on the risks, harm and damage caused to so many people.
“We know that, by working in partnership, we can improve the way services are run, making a real difference to victims and empowering them to forge new lives free from control and coercion, while also ensuring those who seek to exploit innocent victims face justice.
“I’m committed to turning the important discussions had today into positive actions within the delivery plan to ensure real change.”
Help stamp out Modern Slavery and learn how to spot the signs of exploitation here: https://www.unseenuk.org/about-modern-slavery/spot-the-signs/
Any suspicions the public have on someone being exploited should be reported to the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700