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Tackling modern slavery and human trafficking in Sandwell

Published 11th January 2018

Modern slavery conference

Sandwell is marking Human Trafficking Awareness Day today with a high-profile conference to raise awareness and drive forward joint work to protect victims.

More than 150 delegates – from a wide range of local, regional and national organisations – are attending the event at the Council House, Oldbury.

The conference is raising awareness of modern slavery and human trafficking, how it operates and the signs to spot to identify victims.

Delegates are also discussing how organisations can work together more effectively to tackle these crimes and protect victims.

Councillor Syeda Khatun, deputy council leader, said: “We must do all we can to eradicate modern slavery in the UK and protect victims and potential victims of slavery and human trafficking.

“Signs of slavery and exploitation are often hidden and victims can be any age, gender, ethnicity or nationality.

Sandwell modern slavery conference

“Here in Sandwell, we are gaining a reputation for our strong partnership approach to tackling these issues and I would like to thank everyone and every organisation involved in today’s very well-attended conference.”

Sandwell Council recently signed a new policy and statement to help protect people who are vulnerable to this violence and exploitation. This included a pledge to ensure slavery and human trafficking is prevented in all its corporate activities and throughout its supply chain.

In 2014, the Home Office estimated there were between 10,000 and 13,000 victims in the UK, with many being children.

Examples of modern slavery can include:

  • Forced labour – forcing people to work long hours for little or no pay in poor conditions under threats of violence to them or their families.
  • Child trafficking – under-18s moved into and around the UK to exploit them for work, prostitution or sexual abuse.
  • Domestic servitude – forcing people to work, usually in private households, doing chores and childcare duties. They may work long hours for little or no pay and have their freedom restricted.
  • Criminal exploitation – making people commit crimes, such as pick-pocketing, shoplifting, growing cannabis and drug trafficking.

If you see something suspicious, no matter how small, please call police on 101, the UK Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700 or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

There’s also more advice and information at our modern slavery webpage.

Key things to look out for:

  • several unrelated adults living at a single address
  • people being regularly collected very early in the morning and/or returned late at night
  • signs of injury, malnourishment and a general untidy appearance
  • people being isolated from the rest of the community
  • people who live and work at the same address in poor conditions
  • women being kept in houses where there are large numbers of male visitors
  • people who don’t know their address
  • people who cannot produce their documents
  • people who often seem anxious and fearful, especially in the presence of a ‘friend’ or interpreter who appears to be controlling them and their answers