COUNCIL and police leaders across Sussex are marking the occasion of Anti-Slavery Day on Sunday 18 October by signing up to a joint pledge to stop all forms of slavery, human trafficking and exploitation.
Anti-Slavery Day aims to raise awareness of the dangers and consequences of modern-day slavery and human trafficking and the Sussex Anti-Slavery network has already been driving efforts to ensure that partners, but in particular local authorities in Sussex support medium and long term plans towards the eradication of slavery and exploitation in Sussex.
Now Chief Constable Jo Shiner, West and East Sussex County Council Chief Executive Becky Shaw, and Brighton and Hove City Council Chief Executive Geoff Raw are formally committing their respective organisations to the “Pledge to become a Slavery Free Community in Sussex”.
The Pledge states;
“As leaders across Sussex we commit to doing everything in our power to make our county free of modern slavery.
“We will work proactively with national and local government, law enforcement agencies, businesses, the voluntary and community sector, faith bodies and our local communities to:
• Demonstrate strong local leadership for anti-slavery initiatives;
• Raise awareness amongst our staff, associates and the people we serve on a daily basis;
• Train our staff to recognise and respond appropriately to potential signs of slavery;
• Share intelligence and information to help detect slavery and ensure it cannot take root;
• Support victims and survivors in our communities;
• Remove slave-based labour from our supply chains;
• Contribute to building a prosperous and slavery-free local economy.
“In this way Sussex stands in support of the United Nations Global Sustainable Development Goal 8.7, to take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour by 2030.”
Chief Constable of Sussex, Jo Shiner, said; “This is a significant step in our work to combat modern slavery in Sussex. For the first time Councils and law enforcement from across the county are making a declaration at the highest level to jointly address the scourge of trafficking and exploitation of people.
“It is testament to the work of the Sussex Anti-Slavery Network which brings together strategic partners from the entire county.
“Modern slavery is a serious crime often hidden in plain sight. There is no one image that neatly defines a victim of modern slavery. Cases are complex, often entwined with other serious offences such as drugs, knife crime and sexual exploitation, trading in human misery and exploiting people for profit.
“To protect people who are being exploited we must work with our communities and partner organisations.”
Dame Sara Thornton DBE QPM, the UK’s independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, said; “I welcome the leadership of the local authorities and partners across Sussex in working together to eradicate modern slavery and human trafficking. Public bodies spend millions of pounds on procuring goods and services and this work will put them in a great position to ensure that their supply chains are resilient, sustainable and avoid the exploitation of our fellow human beings.”
The Sussex Network works in close collaboration with many other networks in the UK through the National Network Co-ordinators Forum (NNCF), driven by the West Midlands anti-trafficking network and the charity “Human Trafficking Foundation (HTF)”.
This work also supports the protocols of the United Nations sustainable development goal 8.7.
The Pledge comes during a two-week human slavery public awareness campaign being led by Sussex Police which is focusing public attention on work with partner organisations to tackle modern slavery offences in local communities.
For more information about modern slavery and how to combat it, see;
If you think you have information that might identify or locate a potential victim or suspect for modern slavery, or someone you know is a victim of modern slavery, or even a location where you think exploitation might be happening, please report it online or call us on 101 (always call 999 in an emergency).
You can also contact the national Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700 or the Salvation Army Modern Slavery helpline on 0300 303 8151, or the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.