Hope for Justice launched its second Regional Investigative Hub – known as Zoe’s Hub – in the West Midlands on 22nd May 2014. Zoe’s Hub deploys a team of 5 investigators to the region, by working out of a local office this team can respond to referrals of potential trafficking cases and proactively identify victims.
Communications Officer Rebecca Clarke sat down for an informal chat with our new Investigative Team Leader at the end of their first week:
Q. Good morning. Can you tell us a little about the Zoe’s Hub Team?
A. Hi and hello to everyone reading this. Our team here at Zoe’s Hub is made up of retired police detectives from various Midlands forces with track records of investigating serious and organised crime. We worked out last week that together we have over 150 years of combined policing experience.
Q. Wow, well we’re so glad to have you on board. Now you’ve obviously all retired at the peak of incredible police careers, what made you want to come and work at Hope for Justice?
A. It’s a different challenge and it’s great to be part of pioneering something, Hope for Justice have a great model for investigations. Leading the team at Zoe’s Hub was an opportunity to use my knowledge and experience to help some of the most vulnerable people in society. What could be better than getting up to do that every day?
Q. You’ve said that you and your team are all from the region. What kind of difference do you think Zoe’s Hub will have in the Midlands?
A. A tremendous difference. We’re already working with the police and other partners to enable us to identify and rescue victims and bring perpetrators to justice. I feel very confident that we’ll have the same kind of impact in the Midlands over the coming months and years as Emma’s Hub has had in the North. That means lives changed, professionals trained and ultimately taking a significant step closer to the end of slavery.
Q. Last question; what would you say to every member of our community who fundraised for Zoe’s Hub last year?
A. A HUGE thank you, to everyone that supports us, gives to us, fundraises for us. I think it’s incredible that all our supporters raised the funds to establish a new investigative unit in the last year. All I can say is we’re eager to get started and there’s no doubt in my mind that we’re going to restore the lives of some people who have suffered a great deal. Not only that but quite likely save some lives. That’s only been possible because of everyone who pitched in.
Zoe’s Hub is the second Regional Investigative Hub to be opened by Hope for Justice in the UK. It follows on from the success of Emma’s Hub which opened in February 2013 and allowed the charity to assist 104 victims of human trafficking in 2013.
“Opening Zoe’s Hub is the next step in our strategy to make our identification and rescue programmes, as well as our survivor support and legal guidance, available to modern day slaves nationwide. With your support, in the next few years, we can build this Rescue Network to leave traffickers nowhere to hide their victims”
– Ben Cooley, CEO Hope for Justice