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Agencies unite to tackle modern slavery in Bristol


Anti-Trafficking Partnership Logo

Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Sue Mountstevens will join agencies and organisations in Bristol to tackle the growing problem of human trafficking at a conference on Thursday, July 4.

The event, which will be held at City Hall, has been organised by the Bristol Anti-Trafficking Partnership (ATP), jointly chaired by Bristol City Council, Avon & Somerset Police and Unseen (a Bristol based charity working with survivors of modern slavery).

PCC Sue Mountstevens said: “It is great to see so many different agencies coming together committed to tackling the issue of human trafficking.

“One of my key priorities in my Police and Crime Plan is tackling violence against women and children and it is under this priority that human trafficking is being highlighted in Avon and Somerset”.

“It is imperative that we highlight this unacceptable and illegal crime and come together, supported by events like these. Working with communities, the police, Safer Bristol and other organisations such as Unseen we can develop a better understanding as part of a collective journey towards tackling modern slavery.”

Cllr Simon Cook, Assistant Mayor with responsibility for community safety will open the conference which will then be addressed by PCC Sue Mountstevens.

The conference will bring together professionals from agencies and organisations that are likely to come into contact with potential victims of human trafficking.

Human trafficking is the recruitment and movement of people by means such as violent force, fraud, coercion or deception with the aim of exploiting them. It is modern slavery.

Cllr Cook said “Bristol City Council working with our partners is determined to track down human trafficking that is taking place in the city. Until now the victims have often been hidden but that makes it all the more important to work together to find ways of identifying and to help them out of slavery and exploitation”.

During the day, attendees will:

  • define all types of modern slavery;
  • learn the key indicators to help frontline professionals identify potential victims of human trafficking
  • work through case studies to decide on what immediate action they can take to best support the victims working with other agencies.
  • discuss the newly devised adult and child referral pathways that have been developed across all the agencies involved which they can use to take joint action and ensure people do not slip through the net.

The day will be chaired by Unseen’s Project Director, Kate Garbers.

Kate said: “Unseen was set up to give survivors of slavery the safety, hope and choice they deserve. Our safe accommodation project has supported 49 women so far, but there is so much more we can do by working together.”

In 2011 Bristol City Council, with other partners of the Anti-Trafficking Partnership, signed the Joint Declaration on Action Against Human Trafficking, a local agreement to work together to tackle what had been a hidden problem.

Assistant Chief Constable Louisa Rolfe said: “We are very pleased to support this conference. We are committed to protecting vulnerable people and raising awareness and understanding of trafficking. We look forward to working with partners to develop a joint approach. This will help us better understand the cruel crime of human trafficking and reduce opportunities for offenders to exploit both victims and society.”

Unseen currently supports survivors of human trafficking by providing safe accommodation and also a re-settlement project providing on-going services and support to survivors, helping them continue their journey to rebuild their lives.

Other plans for the ATP include a public awareness campaign on how to spot trafficking and how to report it and the production of further information to highlight to victims of human trafficking how they can get help.

"Interest in the day has been extremely high and, with the range of agencies who will be attending the day, it should prove key in raising awareness of processes in place to help to victims of human trafficking in Bristol and surrounding areas,” said Gillian Douglas, Interim Service Director for Safer Bristol, who is co-ordinating the joint work.


Posted on Tuesday 2nd July 2013
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