Hope for Justice has received dozens of referrals about potential victims of modern slavery and human trafficking as a result of a multi-agency partnership in West Yorkshire, UK.
Scores of vulnerable people are also receiving vital information and awareness on the issue thanks to the work.
During this street outreach in the town centre of Dewsbury, a market town in Kirklees, West Yorkshire, we respond to intelligence and concerns, and engage with vulnerable people who are at risk of exploitation.
This work first began in early 2021, with a formal partnership beginning in October 2021. Since then, our team has engaged with hundreds of individuals, including the homeless and rough sleepers, those with drug and alcohol dependency, and others who are at risk.
This forms part of our prevention work, and is beneficial for raising awareness among communities who may not be aware about modern slavery or who make not know they are at risk.
A total of 285 referrals were made to our West Yorkshire Hub between October 2021 and July 2022, including referrals which resulted from these days of action. This outreach is enabling us to support more potential victims and survivors of modern slavery. Where relevant, our teams provide information about the National Referral Mechanism (NRM), the UK Government’s process for formally identifying potential victims of modern slavery.
One of our Community Engagement Specialists said: “This partnership has been hugely successful, giving us the opportunity to identify potential victims, give appropriate advice and information to prevent exploitation, and remove people from exploitation by working in partnership with other agencies. Over the past 10 months, we have engaged with hundreds of people. Many of the people we meet do not have awareness about modern slavery and human trafficking, and often don’t realise that they are being exploited. So, we talk to them about the issue and inform them of their rights. We engage with people from various nationalities, and our multilingual team is able to communicate with them in their own language.
“Our team helps to bridge the gap between the police and those who are vulnerable but who feel unable to engage with the authorities. We encourage them to speak with us, and ask if they are facing situations where they feel unsafe or at risk. If they are a victim of crime, we urge them to report this to the police, or we signpost them to relevant services, which removes them from being at risk of exploitation.
“We also support police on operations, during which we have identified potential victims. In these situations, we provide assistance and support them to access the NRM where appropriate.
“It is fantastic to be a part of this partnership, working together with the council, police, other agencies and NGOs. During this monthly community outreach, we are actively preventing exploitation and assisting potential victims to access the appropriate support they need.”
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