Hundreds of people have been informed, trained and equipped to respond to modern-day slavery and human trafficking over the past year because of Hope for Justice’s work in the North West of the UK.
Today the charity is celebrating one year since the launch of its North West Hub, which was set up to aid the fight against modern slavery and human trafficking in Lancashire.
Hope for Justice has worked with the Pan Lancashire Anti-Slavery Partnership (PLASP), homelessness charities, foodbanks, local councils, the police and more over the last 12 months. We have helped partners to identify modern slavery cases and have worked with survivors to access the support they are entitled to receive.
We have also focused on raising awareness of modern slavery among vulnerable communities who are potential targets for human traffickers and perpetrators.
Hannah Mitchell, our Lead Community Engagement Specialist in the North West, said: “It has been really encouraging to see how local organisations and incredible people working with the most vulnerable members of our society are ready to help prevent modern slavery, identify potential victims and support survivors.
“Each survivor we have supported so far has helped us see the impact of what we’re collectively doing, but also how there is still lots more to do to reform exploitative systems and end slavery.”
Together at last in #Lancashire! @HFJ_NorthWest met up with our @HFJ_UK & Europe Programme Director and our UK Hubs Manager to celebrate 12 months of community engagement and awareness raising across the county. So lovely to get together😀 pic.twitter.com/yZMRsdrWPO
— Hope for Justice – North West Hub (@HFJ_NorthWest) April 13, 2022
We have attended more than 82 outreach sessions and meetings, reaching more than 800 people across Lancashire since the Hub was set up. We have also trained more than 1,100 people on modern slavery and human trafficking, in how to spot the signs, and how to report a concern.
Among those trained are staff and volunteers at foodbanks, soup kitchens and drop-ins supporting people facing hardship, isolation, homelessness, asylum seekers and refugees. We have also delivered training to community safety, neighbourhood and housing officers from local authorities and social housing providers, support workers and NHS staff.
Ruth Packwood, our Training Specialist, said: “I recently delivered training to staff and volunteers at a charity that supports vulnerable people who are facing homelessness. Issues such as forced labour, criminal and sexual exploitation are often at the forefront of the lives of the individuals they support. Staff told me they had recently seen vans parked outside their buildings and perpetrators trying to recruit young people for forced labour. They were also aware of takeaways and hotels paying employees £3 per hour, of drug dealing in surrounding areas, ‘cuckooing’ (where gangs take over or make use of the homes of vulnerable people) and sexual exploitation as ongoing issues.
“The staff and volunteers had all heard about modern slavery and human trafficking but prior to the training had not really considered it to be relevant to their work. However, after the training, they are now informed about what to look out for, how to spot the signs, and that Hope for Justice can provide support, advice and guidance should they have any concerns. We will also be following up to visit the young people and vulnerable people they work with to further raise awareness.”
The work of the Hope for Justice North West Hub has also been highlighted on the website of the police service covering the area, Lancashire Constabulary: Hope for Justice: Supporting victims of Modern Slavery
Find out more about our training opportunities here.