THE risks of people trafficking and forced labour will be highlighted in Staffordshire on the 10 December 2015 at a conference arranged by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.
Staffordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Ellis, is urging local businesses to attend the event to learn more about what modern slavery is and how to recognise it in the workplace.
The conference is aimed at professionals and local businesses and will be held at the Staffordshire County Showground between 9.30am and 1.30pm. Speakers include Kevin Hyland the UK’s Anti-Slavery Commissioner, Paul Broadbent, Chief Executive of Gangmasters Licensing Authority and Gary Booth from national charity Hope for Justice.
Modern slavery victims can be men, women and children but it is most common amongst the vulnerable, and within minority or socially excluded groups. Approximately two-thirds of victims are women, and a third are men. Every fourth victim of modern slavery is a child.
There were 1,746 potential victims of trafficking identified in the UK in 2013. This represents a 47% increase on 2012 referrals but these are just the victims we know about. Slavery’s hidden nature means actual numbers are likely to be much higher.
In March 2015, The Modern Slavery Act became law which ensured law enforcement has stronger powers, perpetrators receive suitable severe punishment and victims are better protected and supported.
Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Arnold is spearheading an awareness campaign, on behalf of PCC Matthew Ellis, about the illegal exploitation of people.
Mrs Arnold said: “Modern day slavery is still happening across the UK and Staffordshire is not exempt. It is estimated 29.8 million people around the world are currently affected and it is an issue which we all need to face.
“Modern slavery can take many forms including the trafficking of people, forced labour, servitude and slavery.
“Our aim with the conference is to make local businesses aware of what classifies as modern day slavery so they have the information to detect any illegal activity.”
Chief Constable of Staffordshire Police, Jane Sawyers, said: “The Modern Day Slavery Act which received Royal assent March 2015 strengthens law enforcement’s powers to tackle modern slavery and improves provision for victims.
“Further provisions are also coming into force in October which will affect businesses. I would urge local businesses in Staffordshire to attend this conference and find out more about this important issue.”
Slavery is closer than you think. It happens all over the world including the UK. Find out more at www.modernslavery.co.uk or call the helpline on 0800 0121 700.