Strategy to tackle Slavery in Hampshire, IOW, Portsmouth and Southampton launched
09 June 2020
The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Modern Slavery Partnership (MSP) has set out how it will pursue perpetrators and support victims of slavery and trafficking in its new strategy, launched as figures reveal an increase in potential victims being identified and amid COVID-19 related concerns.
The number of suspected modern slavery victims in the UK hit a record high last year, with more than 10,000 potential sufferers of trafficking, slavery and forced labour identified. Potential cases referred to Hampshire Constabulary increased to 195 in 2019 against 144 in 2018.
Enzo Riglia (Assistant Police and Crime Commissioner – Criminal Justice) said: “Modern day slavery within the UK remains a significant threat and the number of victims being identified continues to increase year on year – both in the UK and in the Hampshire policing area.
“As a Partnership it is vital that we continue to play our part in supporting these highly vulnerable people and fight to bring those accountable for their suffering to justice.”
The MSP’s new strategy reflects key learning from the partners, as well as the Government’s Modern Slavery Strategy, the new priorities of the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner and the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Police and Crime Plan.
The strategy seeks to increase:
- the number of successful prosecutions for modern slavery
- identification and enhanced support for victims
- reporting of modern slavery from professionals and the public.
- understanding amongst professionals of their responsibilities
- information sharing and resource coordination
Enzo Riglia said: “The strategy covers the next three years, but immediate concerns have been raised by partners, in particular in relation to the safety of sex workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Michael Lane has already awarded a small grant to Amber Chaplains for vital supplies for their outreach work, to help keep them and the women they support safe. A further grant has been awarded to Medaille Trust for their work supporting victims of slavery.
“Modern Slavery is also one of the themes within the Commissioner’s COVID-19 Response Fund that he has set up to enable those services working to protect victims, support those vulnerable to crime, and to stop the cycle of offending, to apply for emergency funding to address issues they are facing as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
If anyone has seen or is experiencing modern slavery, they can contact the confidential modern slavery helpline on 0800 012 1700 or for more information visit the Modern Slavery Partnership webpage