UK Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, Kevin Hyland, attended the West Yorkshire Anti-Trafficking Network in Wakefield today. The Network has successfully brought together key agencies to combat modern slavery across West Yorkshire since its creation in November 2014.
Mr Hyland was invited by anti-trafficking charity Hope for Justice, who coordinate the Network and met with some of the charity’s senior staff. The Network initiative is funded by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and championed by PCC Mark Burns-Williamson.
Hope for Justice’s UK Programmes Director, Allan Doherty, said:
“We’re delighted to welcome Mr Hyland to West Yorkshire. This visit is a great opportunity to profile the incredibly positive impact being made by partnership working between Hope for Justice, Mr Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire Police, and other key agencies. The work already carried out has established this region as a leader in anti-trafficking efforts.”
At the meeting, Mr Hyland said:
“West Yorkshire is taking the issue to its heart and putting it as a priority. This is something that other regions must follow.”
“I am searching across the United Kingdom for models of best practice and will closely monitor the partnership model developed in West Yorkshire.”
Hope for Justice is largely funded by public donations and delivers programmes and services designed to improve the identification, rescue and restoration of modern day slaves. Nationally, Hope for Justice liaises with the police, where appropriate, and compiles intelligence from victims, who may initially be too traumatised to approach the authorities. This model preserves intelligence which can be shared with the police, either anonymously or with the victim’s consent; the police can then take action against the trafficker.
The charity works in partnership with West Yorkshire police by providing advice, delivering training and leading survivor care during major raids. Mr Hyland is the UK’s first Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner and was appointed by Home Secretary Theresa May, in November last year.