Coordinator of the Humber Modern Slavery Partnership
Wilberforce Institute, University of Hull
Andrew Smith, Coordinator of the Humber Modern Slavery Partnership, introduces the first Modern Slavery strategy for this region
To coincide with Anti-Slavery Day, the Humber Modern Slavery Partnership has launched the first Modern Slavery Strategy for the Humber region. This progressive move sets the tone for partnership action over the next three years in combatting this despicable crime.
Modern slavery is a devastating crime, often hidden in plain sight. Exploiters profit from the misery of others by forcing them to work for little or no pay, restricting movement, withholding passports, bank cards and ID documents. Threats, control, and coercion are a common theme in modern slavery, playing on the disadvantage or desperation of others to elicit profit and gain. Trafficking for labour exploitation or sexual exploitation is a common theme across the United Kingdom and we are aware that the exploitation of children by organised crime groups across county lines is on the rise.
Spanning all four local authority areas in our region, this new, overarching strategy brings together statutory and non-statutory partners including law enforcement, academics and health and third sector professionals to give a focused and targeted approach to modern slavery and human trafficking.
Led by partnership coordinator Andrew Smith, whose position is funded by the Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner, a period of consultation helped shape the six robust strategic priorities that spearhead this strategy and speak firmly to would-be exploiters that the Humber region will not tolerate this crime.
Partnership coordinator Andrew Smith said:
‘Protecting vulnerable people, victims and survivors is at the heart of this new strategic plan. Working together in true partnership across all sectors will see us build more resilient communities that are able to deflect and dismiss those looking to exploit them.
Collaboration and coordination are recognised as the most effective way of tackling modern slavery in our communities. Creating a strong partnership approach in Humberside, where different members can bring their skills and strengths to the fight, means we are in a better position than ever before to make lasting change.
The commitment by Police and Crime Commissioner Keith Hunter to fund the
partnership coordinator role and support the creation of our dedicated Operation Wilberforce
police team means that our anti-slavery efforts are now firmly part of daily business.
Using academic research to inform practice is a vital component of this fight, and together with our colleagues at the Wilberforce Institute we aim to integrate the learning from research into our response.’
Dr Alicia Kidd, Postdoctoral Researcher at the Wilberforce Institute and Vice Chair of the Humber Modern Slavery Partnership said:
‘The Humber Modern Slavery Partnership was established in 2015 and it’s fantastic to see the progress made in those years. This new strategy will be instrumental in ensuring we move forward in providing the most effective, comprehensive approach to modern slavery in our region.’
Police and Crime Commissioner Keith Hunter said:
‘Modern slavery preys on the most vulnerable members of our community. In the Humber area, police and wider partners including the Modern Slavery Partnership are committed to tackling this form of exploitation by collectively raising awareness of modern slavery, encouraging the community to report concerns, supporting victims and those vulnerable to exploitation, and bringing those responsible to justice.’
DCI Chris Calvert, Force strategic lead for Modern Slavery, Operation Wilberforce, said:
‘Although you may not see it, modern slavery exists in our communities and sadly it often goes unnoticed. Vulnerable people in our society are being exploited by organised criminal gangs for their own benefit.
Vulnerable people remain Humberside’s main priority, which is why a dedicated taskforce specialising in modern day slavery and human trafficking offences has been established.
Operation Wilberforce’s priorities are to protect the victims of modern slavery and bring the offenders to justice.
Working with the partnership is crucial to achieving our aims, raising awareness and gathering intelligence, bringing the skills and services of all our partnership agencies to protect our most vulnerable.’
To report a suspicion or seek advice, call the Modern Slavery Helpline on 0800 0121 700 or
visit the webpage for further information and advice at www.modernslaveryhelpline.org
For further information please contact Andrew Smith on 07960 016762 or firstname.lastname@example.org