Our Human Trafficking webinar
was part of our Hidden in Plain Sight series, bringing together local people and voluntary sector experts to find meaningful solutions to Surrey’s prevalent, but hidden issues.
What we heard
There are more people in slavery today than ever before. It is the fastest growing illicit trade.
Surrey is in the top third of all police force areas in terms of the number of modern slavery victims coming forward.
Location ‘hotspots’ within Surrey identify Walton on Thames and Chertsey, Guildford and Woking as prevalent trafficking areas. Epsom, Leatherhead and Reigate are also areas of concern.
Every type of exploitation (aside from organ harvesting) has been identified in almost every corner of Surrey, representative of every age group and nationality.
Over the last 2 years Justice and Care has been advising on over 300 Police investigations in Surrey with open links to modern slavery and human trafficking.
So far this year Surrey Police have already opened 200 new investigations into human trafficking, averaging 5 a week.
The wider picture
Three things people need to know about slavery: it is everywhere, it is brutal, and it is big business.
There are at least 100,000 victims of slavery right here in the UK.
The majority of victims are just children when they are first trafficked, 70% of victims are women and girls.
It is beatable –
Justice and Care first launched their Victim Navigator role here in Surrey, enabled by funding from the Community Foundation, to help identify, save & support victims of modern slavery within the county.
This pioneering pilot project is already showing fantastic results, such as the 83% of victims coming forward to Surrey Police to support investigations, as opposed to 30% nationally. By August next year, Justice and Care will have 10 Victim Navigators working shoulder to shoulder with police teams across the UK.
Victim Navigators provide specialist care for rescued victims, advising police investigators and keeping victims engaged in the dismantling of criminal networks. They also train specialist police units and leaders to spot signs of slavery.
Sarah, Surrey’s Victim Navigator tells the story of 4 women found trapped inside a large Surrey estate, forced to work 19 hour shifts as housekeepers without breaks. These women had their passports taken away from them and were told at gun point they would be killed if they tried to escape.
A recording of our webinar is now available.
Thank you to our inspiring speakers
- Superintendent James Collis, Surrey Police
James is the Force and Regional Lead for modern slavery, including human trafficking, sex work and prostitution based in East Surrey.
- Christian Guy, Chief Executive, Justice and Care
Previously, Christian was a Special Adviser to Prime Minister David Cameron and the Chief Executive of the Centre of Social Justice (CSJ), a London-based think-tank. Whilst leading the CSJ, he oversaw its landmark UK human trafficking inquiry, It Happens Here, which led to the 2015 Modern Slavery Act.
- Sarah, Victim Navigator, Justice and Care
Sarah works in partnership with Surrey Police as one of Justice and Care’s five Victim Navigators. In her role, she connects survivors with end to end support and information about their rights and options whilst also providing tactical advice and training to police to improve victim identification, engagement and prosecution rates.
Protecting survivors of slavery takes all of us.
Can you help Justice and Care achieve their vision? Become a volunteer now!
Are you interested in joining with others in Surrey to raise awareness and improve local systems? Find out more about Surrey’s Anti-Slavery Partnership Group and how you can get involved by contacting Superintendent James Collis on 01483 6 33313.
If this session has raised concerns about a potential victim, contact the Modern Slavery Helpline for 24/7 support on 08000 121 700 or online, at https://www.modernslaveryhelpline.org/about. If you believe someone is in imminent danger, contact 999.
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