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Sandwell Sexual Exploitation conference shines a light on modern slavery | Sandwell Council

Sandwell Sexual Exploitation conference shines a light on modern slavery

Published 24th May 2021

‘Sexual Exploitation Still Happens Here’ free online conference on Tuesday, 25 May, will highlight important work in the borough.

On Tuesday, 25 May, Sandwell Anti-Slavery Partnership’s ‘Sexual Exploitation Still Happens Here’ free online conference will highlight the important work being carried out to stop sexual exploitation in the borough.

Modern slavery can take many forms, including people trafficking, forced labour and sexual exploitation, and the conference is a stark reminder that despite the best efforts to stamp out modern slavery, sexual exploitation still exists in our communities, regionally, nationally and across the world.

An estimated 4.8 million people are victims of forced sexual exploitation across the world. Victims are women, men and children of all ages, ethnicities and nationalities. Last year there were 2,042 victims of sexual exploitation reported into the National Referral Mechanism across the UK.

The Sandwell Anti-Slavery Partnership works closely with a range of organisations to highlight important work around sexual exploitation and to tackle this crime. Public organisations – such as Sandwell Council and West Midlands Police – now have a duty to inform the Home Office of anyone they believe is a victim of sexual exploitation, slavery or human trafficking.

‘Sexual Exploitation Still Happens Here’ is a conference that will raise awareness of different aspects of sexual exploitation and empower its participants to tackle this crime.

The conference will be opened by Dame Sara Thornton DBE QPM, the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner.

Speakers include:
● Tatiana Gren-Jardan, the Head of the Modern Slavery Policy Unit at the Centre for Social Justice
● Clare Gallop, Director at the West Midlands Violence Reduction Unit
● Morgan Mead, Modern Slavery Co-ordinator for Birmingham City Council
● Amber Cagney, Development Manager at the West Midlands Anti-Slavery Network
● Jess Phillips, Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley.

The event will look through the different lenses of sexual exploitation, especially where those lenses need to be adjusted or altered. The wealth of professional knowledge and wisdom of the presenters, who are the best in their field, is an opportunity not to be missed.

Registration for the online conference is through Eventbrite. You can sign up at: https://sexualexploitation.eventbrite.co.uk

If you believe someone is a victim of sexual exploitation, please call the police on 101, the UK Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700 or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Find out more information about Slavery Free Sandwell and how you can get involved at: https://www.sandwell.gov.uk/info/200348/modern_slavery/4336/slavery_free_sandwell

Wendy Sims, Chair of the Sandwell Anti-Slavery Partnership, said: “Sexual exploitation is complex to detect and to investigate. It is vitally important, therefore, that now more than ever we work in true collaboration, to protect victims, pursue those who perpetrate sexual exploitation and disrupt locations where this occurs. If we want to see change happen, we must shine a light on sexual exploitation and bring it out of the shadows. This conference will help us, as a community, to address this crime.”

Councillor Maria Crompton, Deputy Leader of Sandwell Council, said: “We are beginning to understand the profile of sexual exploitation across our borough, and Sandwell Council is absolutely committed to preventing sexual exploitation, slavery and human trafficking.

“We recognise and value the true power that partnerships play, and since April 2019 our teams have taken part in 150 multi-agency collaboration visits and completed 198 safeguarding visits.

“Our partnerships and this conference will all play a part in ensuring that our people live healthy lives, and those that are vulnerable will feel respected and cared for.”