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March 1, 2022

‘Rapid growth’ as East Midlands Hub marks one-year anniversary

Hope for Justice is celebrating one year since the launch of our UK East Midlands Hub.

 

The hub opened in this region following strategic analysis, which found significant gaps in service provision in the East Midlands over the issues of modern-day slavery and human trafficking.

 

Prior to opening our Hub, we had been providing training to businesses, police and local authorities across this region.

 

Since establishing a base in the East Midlands, we have carried out further training, prevention initiatives, outreach, referrals of potential victims of human trafficking, community engagement and reform work.

 

 

Shaista Jakhura, Lead Community Engagement Specialist, said: “Over the past 12 months, we have seen rapid growth in every aspect of our work. We have been responding to the severe exploitation in the garment industry. We have referred, signposted and supported potential victims of modern-day slavery and human trafficking. We are also empowering communities to prevent exploitation from happening in the first place.

 

“We are a unique organisation, working across all sectors of society to ensure a united approach and response to this complex issue. We’re thrilled with what we have accomplished in one year, but there is much more to be done. We’re determined to continue our efforts until we see an end to exploitation – for good.”

 

Over the past 12 months, our East Midlands Hub has received 111 referrals and inquiries, which our team has actioned, investigated and assisted with, or signposted to relevant agencies and organisations.

 

In addition to this, we have reached more than 2,500 members of the public and professionals in the region through our work.
We are working collaboratively with Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Modern Slavery partnerships, with diverse communities, hard to reach communities, universities, factory owners, fashion brands such as Boohoo and ASOS, the GLAA, HMRC, community organisations, faith organisations, academics, law enforcement, local authorities and more.

 

The hub has also supported research, led by the Rights Lab at the University of Nottingham. We have engaged with dozens of people working within Leicester’s garment industry, listening to their lived experience to understand what can be done to improve their lives and working conditions.

 

We have also supported former High Court judge Sir Brian Leveson with evidence after Boohoo appointed him to oversee the overhaul of its supply chain.

 

Further to this, we have delivered training at a factory to give workers and other key personnel greater awareness of the issue of modern-day slavery, and to highlight their rights. If successful, the intention is for this pilot to be rolled out to other factories.

 

Paul McAnulty, our UK & Europe Programme Director, said: “I’m incredibly proud of the positive outcomes that survivors of slavery have received through the work of our East Midlands team. Our community engagement hub model values the individuality of each survivor, and supports them towards justice and their chosen futures. Our incredible team of compassionate and dedicated staff hold the survivor at the heart of all we do, and feel passionately that any mechanism of intervention and support needs to be appropriate and proportionate to the needs of each individual. Our approach involves supporting survivors to overcome the many common barriers to engagement, and finding pathways to freedom that are sustainable.

 

“We cannot achieve this in isolation, and are hugely indebted to the very warm welcome our team has received from partners in the East Midlands who have forged robust referral pathways into and from our teams. Wherever we operate, we are building communities’ resilience to slavery, helping to strengthen collaborative, multi-agency responses, building capacity into wider services and partnering with organisations. We are proud to be improving standards of advocacy and care for survivors wherever possible.”