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Safeguarding victims of modern slavery top of the agenda

06 May 2021

Labour Exploitation, County Lines and Sexual Exploitation are the main forms of slavery in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight and as such are the focus of webinars being hosted by the Hampshire Modern Slavery Partnership (MSP).

Modern Slavery is happening in our communities. While it can be hard to spot it could be happening at places we visit or work in such as nail bars, car washes, farms, factories or in residential properties. Figures from 2019/20 show an increase of modern slavery crimes of 17% against the previous year (+25 up to 175). The three lockdowns imposed in the UK throughout 2020 have undoubtedly had an impact so there may be a further rise in 2021 once restrictions are lifted.

The four webinars seek to train professionals on how they can identify and safeguard potential victims of Modern Slavery and highlight the work of agencies who can provide support and guidance.

The first two sessions held in April focused on Labour Exploitation in the rural sector and the marine and fishing industries and saw over 100 individuals booked on from a wide variety of organisations. Guest speakers from the GLAA, HMRC, Border Force and the Winchester Diocese in relation to the Clewer Initiative shared information and case studies specific to tackling slavery within rural and marine industries.  The next webinar in July focusing on county lines is now sold out.

Edwina Fennemore, Clewer Initiative project lead, Diocese of Portsmouth and Winchester, said “The Hants & IOW Modern Slavery Partnership Rural Exploitation webinar provided a great opportunity for The Clewer Initiative and the GLAA to show the benefits of working together. We all have a shared but distinctive commitment to the modern slavery agenda.

“Collaboration and partnership is vital in building and strengthening local, national and international resilience.”

In addition to the webinars the MSP has developed an e-learning package to help better equip frontline staff to identify and support those at risk of modern slavery. This bespoke package pulls together the specialist expertise of individual partners into one e-learning unit, which includes sections on:

  • Definitions – Modern Slavery, Human Trafficking
  • National and local statistics
  • How to identify a victim of Modern Slavery
  • Current legislation, local and national processes
  • Case studies of local survivors
  • Signposting for further support

Alan Hagger, Chair of the Modern Slavery Partnership, said: “It was great to see so many organisations come together as part of the initial webinars. It clearly shows how multi-agency cooperation and a commitment to learn and work together will help to protect people at risk of trafficking, exploitation and slavery.

“The e-learning unit is a valuable new tool in the Partnership’s work to raise awareness and train professionals around modern slavery. It has been a collaborative effort from partners within the MSP, but special thanks has to go to Rob Hodges from Workforce Development Team at Portsmouth City Council who turned the content into an interactive package that can now be rolled out across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. “

To find out more about modern slavery visit www.modernslaverypartnership.org.uk . If you need help, advice or information about any modern slavery issue you can contact the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700.

Organisations wanting more information about the webinars or online learning tool should contact Kate Davis, Modern Slavery County Coordinator on kate.davis.49580@hampshire.pnn.police.uk

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