Victims’ stories help put human trafficking in the spotlight in Cambridgeshire
October 19th, 2015
Cambridgeshire’s first-ever Human Trafficking summit took place on Saturday (17 October) and saw policing experts and human rights campaigners from across the UK meet to consider what action is needed to safeguard vulnerable victims living within the county.
The event was jointly hosted by Cambridgeshire Constabulary, South Cambridgeshire’s Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner alongside anti-slavery campaign charity Unchosen. Aimed at raising awareness of human trafficking in South Cambridgeshire, the event screened a series of graphic films based on real life case studies of victims of human trafficking within the UK.
The emotive and informative films were produced by Unchosen as part of its work increasing awareness of modern day slavery and helping people understand the everyday realities that victims of slavery face. The films aim to encourage people to report possible incidents of slavery to the police and allude to some of the signs that members of the public can look out for in their areas.
Commenting on the conference, Sir Graham said: “This amazing summit demonstrated how committed we all are to raising awareness of this highly complex issue and increasing the protection we offer to victims and potential victims.
“The powerful films were a reminder of the duty we all have to address this underreported crime and to ensure that victims feel confident and safe to seek help from the police to escape danger.
“I spend a lot of my time talking to people to find out what concerns them and the biggest threats within their community. When I ask specifically about human trafficking, people more often than not reply that it’s ‘not an issue around here’.
“In reality, it is a problem and it’s happening right the way across the county, including South Cambridgeshire. The summit was a graphic example of what modern day slavery looks like and importantly how to spot it.”
Experts on Human Trafficking from within the constabulary, alongside representatives from anti-trafficking organisations the Red Cross, Salvation Army and Hope for Justice, made up a panel that took questions at South Cambridgeshire District Council’s offices in Cambourne.
Area Commander for South Cambridgeshire, Chief Inspector James Sutherland, said: “The modern day slavery summit was a huge success in raising awareness of this issue in our village communities. The delegates have described it as eye-opening and it has helped spread the message about reporting suspicions to the police: It doesn’t matter if you are wrong; what if you’re right?”
Following the event, 90% of delegates said they had a better understanding of the signs to look for, 95% said they would tell others about slavery and 100% said they would proactively look for human trafficking within their areas.
Sir Graham said slavery was a global business and police and partners were working hard and at many levels to address the problem.
“If we are going to have any impact on this abhorrent crime then we must make the public understand what human trafficking is and what the signs are so people feel confident to raise their concerns with the police,” he added.
NOTES TO EDITORS
What are the signs of modern day slavery
- Look out for people working that look malnourished
- Workers not wearing appropriate work clothes
- Workers seem overly scared or nervous
- Lots of people living in one house
You can watch the videos online at: www.unchosen.org.uk
To report suspicions dial 101 or report via Crimestoppers at www.crimestoppers-uk.org