Fighting the horrors of modern slavery

 

A conference in central Croydon will look at ways slavery can be tackled and, ultimately, eradicated from the borough.

Prevention of Modern Slavery in Croydon is a free half-day event that will feature eight guest speakers, including Kevin Hyland, the UK Anti-Slavery commissioner; Councillor Tony Newman, leader of Croydon Council; and Hannah Stott, the programme manager of Barnardo’s child-trafficking advocacy service.

Scheduled for Thursday 12 November, between 9.30am and 1pm, at Croydon Conference Centre, Surrey Street, the conference aim is to develop understanding about the scale and depth of modern slavery and its impact on the victim.

The term “modern slavery” – often referred to as human trafficking – encompasses slavery for the purposes of sexual exploitation, servitude, and forced and compulsory labour. Traffickers and slave drivers coerce, deceive and force individuals against their will into a life of inhumane treatment.

Professor Bernard Silverman, chief scientific officer to the Home Office, has estimated that in 2013 there were between 10,000 and 13,000 potential victims of modern slavery in the UK.

Research has shown that 65% of the world’s slaves are in a forced-labour situation; that it’s not just girls who are enslaved – 400,000 men and boys are being sexually exploited globally; and that, according to the United Nations, 46% of victims worldwide know their trafficker.

Conference delegates will hear about recent developments, such as the Modern Slavery Act 2015, and the UK Modern Slavery Strategy, which sets out the comprehensive cross-government approach to fighting modern slavery.

They will get the chance to share experiences, consider their own role in identifying and assisting victims, and how they might be able to contribute to Croydon’s action plan.
 

Conference will be chaired by Councillor Mark Watson, cabinet member for communities, safety and justice. He said:

“It’s important that the fight against this awful practice is given the oxygen of publicity and discussed in an open, adult manner.

“That’s why it’s vital that professionals attend, and learn of the latest advances in the ways in which slavery is being challenged.

“I’m looking for an audience comprising police officers, GPs and NHS staff, and representatives of churches, faith and community groups, the third sector and voluntary organisations. In fact, anybody who moves in circles that include people – male and female – who could potentially be suffering exploitation.”

To reserve a place, email safeguardingchildrentraining@croydon.gov.uk

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