Pan Lancashire Anti-Slavery Partnership

The Pan Lancashire Anti-Slavery Partnership (PLASP) chaired by Sion Hall is a partnership of representatives from statutory bodies and NGOs with action orientated subgroups on Training, Policies and Procedures, Faith, Victim Support and Publicity.  The aim is work collectively and in harmony, developing materials and protocols, and spreading a consistent message across the county.

The notes below don’t in any way represent comprehensive coverage of all meetings and actions. Rather they are Anthony Brown’s notes of what were for him the key points of interest to Caritas Anti-Trafficking.

September 23, 2018: PLASP Roadshow in Blackburn

The Freedom Bus

The Journey to Freedom Exhibition

Journey to Freedom is a 15 minute audio visual walk-through.  In a series of rooms you listen to testimonies based on the real life experiences of human trafficking victims.  During the day, nearly one hundred people experienced the exhibition.

 

September 21, 2018:  PLASP

The main item on the agenda was final preparations for the Roadshow and Evensong on the 22nd and 23rd.   The Freedom Bus will arrive at the Cathedral at 10.00 am and set off shortly afterwards on a pre-planned route to take in Darwen.  Joe Howson’s team will arrive to erect the Journey to Freedom exhibition at 7.00 am, ready for 10.00 am.  We have a license to place our stalls – Caritas Salford Anti-Trafficking, Freedom Foundation, Clewer Initiative, Victim Services, Police cadets – by the bus station or behind the Cathedral.  An Anti-Trafficking video will be on a loop on the big screen in town and will run for 7 days.  The route through town for the Soroptomists march has been agreed.  The Clinical Commissioning Groups have recommended that a silent video with key messages and “signs” of human trafficking should show in all GP surgeries.  We have agreement for an insert in the Blackburn Rovers programme.   Dawn Walmsley will take high res pictures and send to Anthony Brown for the East Lancashire press.   We have a slot on Radio Lancashire and a press release will go to the Lancashire Telegraph from Lancashire Police.  The Freedom Foundation has paid for sashes and leaflets and Lancashire Constabulary has funded PLASP mugs.  Caritas Salford funded the materials for the Freedom Bus  but the design, printing and positioning of the signs was organized and supervised free of charge by Peter White of Burnley and parishioner of Our Lady of the Valley Parish (Clitheroe, Sabden and Dunsop Bridge).

For people in Blackburn on Saturday it would be hard to avoid the roadshow!

The plan is to have the next roadshow – probably Preston – in about six weeks time but we also discussed having the Freedom Bus positioned at football grounds for home games.

Sion Hall gave a brief outline of his attendance at an NHS England Meeting.  With 1.5 million employees the NHS is the fourth largest employer in the world.  See the video aimed at all staff https://youtu.be/cRskjqpgSNs  1 in 5 victims report to the NHS at some stage while they are trafficked so staff are in a unique position to spot trafficked victims.

Steve Watkin of City Hearts who has taken over from Phill Clayton’s role  reported that the Bright Future programme now has over 20 businesses in the partnership

September 19, 2018: Preparing the Freedom Bus

At the end of today we were well on with fixing the signs on the Freedom Bus.  Thanks to a generous arrangement with Moving People the Freedom Bus will not only do the roadshows,  it will continue in service in this form for some time into the future

September 22 and 23, 2018 is the Anti-trafficking Roadshow in Blackburn

Preparations are in their final stages for the roadshow.  Response to requests for funding have been overwhelming and we have more than enough money for at least six roadshows across Lancashire.  There is a tremendous amount of support for what PLASP is doing, including support from the Catholic Diocese of Salford and the Anglican Diocese of Blackburn.

Peter White has been printing out the signs for the Freedom Bus which will look a little different to the first mock up on July 25.  The signs will be installed in a two day marathon on 19 and 20 September.  Expect pictures by 21 September.

The Journey to Freedom exhibition (formerly referred to as the Mobile Trafficking Exhibition) is booked and ready to go and a banner is being printed which displays the logos of all the organisations that funded, or were involved in, its production.

On Saturday there will be a big presence by the Bus Station with the Journey to Freedom exhibition and stalls.  We have the big screen in the centre of Blackburn and  a march with the Soroptimists.  The Freedom Bus will move in and around Blackburn with volunteers wearing sashes and handing out leaflets.

On Sunday we have Anti-Trafficking themed Evensong at the Cathedral at 4.00 pm.

August 30, 2018: Lee House Centre for Mission Awareness

Today at Lee House, Thornley, Chipping we were part of a day arranged for Bishop John Arnold of Salford Diocese to see the offerings at Lee House which feature spirituality and Education/Awareness on Refugees and Human Trafficking.

We briefed the Bishop on the mobile human trafficking exhibition and its planned use for the upcoming Lancashire roadshows.

The pictures show: the exhibition part erected; two of the panels for the part on Labour Exploitation; and Nina, the driver, standing next to the trailer partly packed with the rest of the exhibition.

 

August 28, 2018: PLASP

The meeting was mostly about the roadshows, first one to be in Blackburn on 22 and 23 September.   Some details changed later in the day but essentially:

  • We have enough money from Lancashire Constabulary and charity funds to run six  roadshows
  • We have the Cathedral booked for Evensong on the Sunday night
  • The Lee House Mobile Trafficking Exhibition is booked for the Saturday
  • We will have a substantial presence at the bus station.   We won’t be using the main square in the centre of town which is already booked
  • We expect support from police cadets and are seeking volunteers via the PLASP network
  • We will be using the big screen in the centre of Blackburn to promote the roadshow
  • We are still working on the logistics of the work needed to sign the Freedom Bus

August 3, 2018: The Mobile Human Trafficking Exhibition

This picture was taken at the Lee House Centre for Mission Awareness Centre where the exhibition had been erected to test out how it would withstand weather in the open air and also to install a porch at the front.  The picture gives a good impression of the size of the exhibition, its creator, Joe Howson standing to one side in the first picture.

July 25, 2018:  The Freedom Bus

Today we worked with Peter White of Sign Design, Burnley,  on our first trial mock up of the Freedom Bus.  We owe a great deal to Peter who is an enthusiastic supporter of what we are trying to do and is charging for materials only.

 

 July 23, 2018: PLASP

Ed Saville updated the meeting on the Faith Sub-Group meeting on (see July 11, 2018)

For an update on the statistics for last month see below and click to enlarge.

NRM National Referral Mechanism

DTN Duty to Notify

HT/MDS Human Trafficking/Modern Day Slavery

PCSO Police Community Support Officer

Sion Hall updated the meeting on Roadshow Sub-Group meeting (see July 16, 2018).  Also:

  • We are still awaiting a response from Blackburn Cathedral before agreeing a date for the first roadshow in Blackburn. We are hoping that the Cathedral will feature a service and a choir performance amongst other things.
  • We are planning for a presence with stalls at two locations – the main square in Blackburn and outside the Cathedral.
  • We have confirmed that the bus will be the Freedom Bus with a route that will take in centre and outlying districts, manned by volunteers who will engage with the public at different points with leaflets and literature.
  • Sion and Anthony Brown will meet with Peter White, Sign Design, to make a start on the signing of the bus. Most prominent will be the PLASP logo and the National Slavery Helpline.
  • The Soroptimists march will start at the Town Hall and make its way through the town centre to the Cathedral.
  • Approaches are being made to include: the big screen in the centre of town; the media; NHS and GPs.
  • The Clewer/GLAA car wash app will feature with volunteers checking out car washes. It is very simple and locates the user who is then prompted to answer simple non-confrontational questions before submitting.
  • We will need plenty of volunteers for six, three day roadshows and this may only be the start.
  • We are exploring T shirts with the PLASP logo which all volunteers would wear.
  • Mounted Police may feature.
  • Funding is going well with more than enough expected to fund six, three-day roadshows at a cost of around £1,000 per day.

Sion updated us on the main points from the DWP at Victim Care Sub-Group (see July 16, 2018 ).  Other things on victim care raised at PLASP:

  • West Yorkshire are alert to the same gaps in provision as Lancashire and the need for signposting to existing services.
  • Clewer are working on training packages for safeguarding and victim support.
  • We are awaiting a Hope for Justice report by Philippa Roberts on “well tried” solicitors.

Sion reported on a business conference in West Yorkshire with perhaps 60 + delegates:

  • A Tabletop Exercise compered by Peter Fahey had facilitated groups examining scenarios to decide how they would deal with particular cases. Sion felt Peter Fahey would do one for Lancashire, perhaps at Lancashire Constabulary HQ.
  • The “hidden economy” is being examined by HMRC National Minimum Wages Team. An example referred to in this context is care homes where issues of contracts and wages are being looked at.

A report from the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office will follow but some points of interest:

  • Police and Crime Commissioners need to know that the 2018/19 Police Transformation Fund, to improve the country’s enforcement response to modern slavery by providing high quality intelligence and analysis, will finish at the end of the period. Thanks to that funding there are currently 800 live investigations.
  • Unseen, the charity that has the contract for the Modern Slavery Helpline, is engaging with businesses to determine their position on transparency in supply chains. 46% of businesses have not provided a statement, unaware or unwilling.  A big area of concern is construction.

Other Business:

  • The PLASP toolkit has had a very positive response from the NHS who report that it led to them picking up a victim of human trafficking
  • PLASP is exploring PLASP mugs to publicise the issue of modern day slavery
  • In addition to his PLASP role Sion is now working two days per week for Hope for Justice looking at businesses and their supply chains.

July 16: PLASP Victim Care Sub-Group

The meeting largely focused on two things.

A key area of need is information and advice on benefits and eligibility.  From the DWP we learned that Lancs and Cumbria have 24 jobcentres and all have human trafficking leads.   There have only been six cases this year in total this year so experience and first hand knowledge is sparse.  With the bringing together of benefits, jobcentres will apply the Habitual Residence Test (HRT) before exploring EEA nationals right to benefits.  If they are not entitled to public funds they are signposted to where they can seek help.  The jobcentre will pay benefits however if the person is in the National Referral Mechanism.  A useful discussion was about the need for a bank account into which to pay benefits and some banks are more sympathetic than others, even branches of the same bank in different towns taking a different stance.  There is a need to be able to tell people which banks will give them an account without the usual paper requirements.  Jobcentre will sometimes write a supportive letter to the bank.

Pre NRM, post NRM and no NRM housing is problematic.   The Red Cross Your Space programme in Derby and Nottingham was discussed in relation to a possible similar pilot in Lancashire but funding is an issue.  The group is exploring inexpensive options with fourteen different housing associations; zero cost was considered but is a non-starter.  Safe house accommodation via  the NRM requires a physical distance between where rescued and where housed.  This creates problems for victim support where victims are prepared to testify but also for access to supportive communities.  City Hearts can advise and offer support but they will not generally be able to offer accommodation.  City Hearts will support any post NRM individual regardless of whether they have a positive decision.

July 16: PLASP Roadshow  Sub-Group

We are aiming for the first roadshow at the beginning of September:

  • Caritas Salford has agreed to pay for the signing and the first outing of The Freedom Bus (used as the Mercy Bus in Salford Diocese during the 2016 Year of Mercy – see below) which will travel first around Blackburn promoting anti-trafficking and the anti-slavery helpline. A small team will agree how the message and sponsor’s logos will be displayed.
  • The Lee House Mission Awareness Centre Human Trafficking Exhibition will cost around £500 per day and we would hope to use it for all roadshows. We now have funds for the first roadshow.
  • We are hoping to have Blackburn Cathedral as a venue.
  • Charities will have stalls advertising their contribution and services.
  • There are plenty of leaflets and trafficking information available for use.
  • Funding is going well with £1,100 from Caritas and £500 from the Friendship Foundation with Police funding expected, bids from other Police funds encouraged, and charities and companies approached for sponsorship money.
  • The Police and Crime Commissioner’s office will have a banner with the PLASP logo.
  • Other things we are exploring and are confident will feature:
    • using the giant screen in Blackburn town centre for pictures or video.
    • rolling pictures or videos with GPs and NHS outlets.
    • a team going round car washes with the GLAA/Clewer Car Wash App
    • a march with the Soroptimists.
    • newspaper and TV coverage.

June 28, 2018: PLASP

Sarah MacDonald Amos gave us an update of Lancashire statistics.  External intelligence referrals in the last 6 months were mostly from Immigration followed by Modern Slavery Helpline, the NHS and Crimestoppers.  Forcewide demand for the last 12 months showed an upward trend, the highest fo any month at 35 case log submissions.  Sexual exploitation was highest at 61% and cannabis cultivation was 16% but many types featured including car washes, nail bars, restaurant workers, domestics, food preparation and others but of the 17 other categories numbers were smaller varying from 12 down to one.  Case logs were greatest for East Lancashire at around 45% compared with around 35% for South and 20% for West.

Sion Hall commented that we want intelligence from other agencies and he would be looking for a correlation between awareness raising and intelligence.

Ed Saville reported on the Faith Sub-Group meeting on May 31st and described the Car Wash app for those who weren’t familiar with it. The app locates the user and prompts questions on the signs.  It is easy to use except for the coloration of white on yellow.  The data gathered will help with kit marking.  It has been calculated that the break even price for a car wash is £6.40 so £5 should arouse suspicion.  Iraqis often feature.

Sion Hall updated us on the Roadshow sub-group meeting on June 19  and follow up.  We are thinking about using the Cathedral, halls, media, videos and the use of the Lee House mobile trafficking exhibition.  Also a bus which would be signed with anti-trafficking material and driven around hot spot areas where public and victims alike might be alerted the number to call.  The exhibition is around £500 per day, signing for bus around £750 and hire for the bus £350 per day.  Funding via CAF and LANPAC is being explored and we should seek sponsorship from elsewhere.  August remains a possibility for the first roadshow.

Ed Saville reported on the Training sub-group.  Clewer Training comprises two components totally around three hours – awareness and the signs of human trafficking.  Over thirty people had been trained but not much data yet.  This training is for the non-statutory bodies but there is also the one hour and three hour training for statutory bodies, the first signed off by safeguarding and the second aubmitted.   The aim with training is standardisation.

Sion Hall updated on the Victim Care sub-group which met on June 19  The aim is a directory of services in Lancashire.  Work here is in its infancy but could be led by Lancashire Victim Services who are a provider and link with other community groups.  However we need  better understanding of what happens pre, during, and post NRM and for those who choose not to go through the NRM.  Also the situation may be different for UK nationals, EU nationals and non-EU nationals.  There was talk of independent advocates for victims such as Barnardo’s use and the Modern Slavery Victim Support Bill which will be heard in the Commons in the Autumn offers hope for strong government action.

Sion Hall updated the meeting on the National Network meeting at the Modern Slavery Museum in Liverpool where Sion spoke on the Lancashire successes.  Homelessness was a big issue for the meeting.

Mark Vaughton spoke about the sentencing of the Operation Magician perpetrators and money seized.  He noted that the number of girls advertised on the website dropped significantly after Operation Magician though it had risen again.  He felt some of the girls currently advertised would be trafficked.

The most recent Operation Reynard (Cannabis Factories), had 14 charged and remanded and a large amount of money had been seized.   Vietnamese victims had been rescued but as if often the case there is a major problem of the victims claiming to be children, going into Children’s Services and then disappearing.

Anthony Brown spoke about the June 17 Day for Life exercise and passed cards round for people to take.

June 19, 2018: PLASP Roadshow Sub-Group Meeting

This was the first meeting of this sub-group, attended by the Police, Clewer, the Friendship Foundation, Caritas Anti-Trafficking/Medaille and Soroptimists.   The focus was ideas for the first of a series of roadshows in major towns starting in Blackburn.  The aspiration is to have this at the end of August, possibly over a few days taking in a number of outdoor and indoor services perhaps including Blackburn Cathedral.  An ideal inclusion would be the mobile trafficking exhibition funded by the Lancashire Constabulary Community Action Fund (CAF) and created by Joe Howson of the Lee House Mission Awareness Centre near Chipping.    For hire of the exhibition and printing of posters and leaflets etc we agreed to explore further CAF funding and also Lancashire Partnership Against Crime (LANPAC) funding.

June 19, 2018: PLASP Victim Support Sub-Group

We are at an early stage of auditing what exists and establishing what still needs to be done and a good start will be to explore what is on offer via the Medaille Trust, the Red Cross Your Space Programme, the Sheffield Snowdrop Programme and City Hearts/Co-op Bright Future programme. There are many small and not well know interventions that could be duplicated e.g. the Mothers’ Union in Derby provide packs of essentials.   Pre-NRM short term housing is an issue, partly met via hotel accommodation and the above agencies but we need to explore socially minded landlords with empty properties and Housing Managers.   We need to be up to date with the Department for Work and Pensions and changes as they occur and we need to keep ourselves informed of the six Home Office pilots in different parts of the UK which aim to achieve more integrated working.

July 11,2018: PLASP, Faith Sub-Group

Much of the meeting centred on topics covered in reports on other meetings. In addition:

  • The Modern Slavery Helpline have published a report Modern Slavery in Car Washes on the calls they’re getting on hand car washes. They have opened 11 cases, with 69 potential victims, thanks to calls from people using the Safe Car Wash App.
  • A major concern for us is what happens when victims are discovered and there is no available safe accommodation for them without incurring substantial cost. Exploited or illegal labour in agriculture or food processing is sometimes discovered in large numbers with significant numbers of trafficked victims.  18 workers were recently  removed from Vietnamese cannabis factories in a major police action.

May 31, 2018: PLASP Faith Sub-Group

This was the second meeting of the PLASP Faith Sub-Group.  Some key points:

  • 25 people attended the Clewer training day at Fullwood Preston on April 24. The materials – videos and PowerPoint –  are available for use by those who undertook the training and the three hour package can be reduced and edited according to need.
  • In the context of the Clewer Initiative car wash app to enable people to log details of car washes Sion Hall talked about the idea of kite marking of car washes and then nail bars.
  • Ed Saville referred to Modern Slavery & Faith – A Public Conversation organised by the Parish of Heysham St Peter with St James & St Andrew which took place on 25 May.
  • Anthony Brown talked about the Caritas Anti-Trafficking initiative, with the Medaille Trust, the Santa Marta Group and the Lancashire Anti-Slavery Partnership, to launch cards throughout Salford Diocese on June 17 (Day for Life – Theme: Human Trafficking). The cards alert people to the signs of trafficking and give the National Slavery Helpline number.  Anthony is talking with the Christian communities in Clitheroe to engage them in the exercise.
  • Anthony Brown shared his parish anti-trafficking model (needs updating) which Ed Saville said he would share with Anglican churches.
  • There was discussion on the issue of housing human trafficking victims via churches. Prior to a reasonable grounds decision there is often a short period when accommodation can be problematic and victims are often housed in hotels.

 May 24, 2018: Pan Lancashire Anti-Trafficking Partnership (PLASP) Meeting

As always there was a great deal to take in and these notes capture only some of it:

  • Adina Schwartz presented on the international perspective and referred to the 2017 US Trafficking in Persons Report  which ranks governments based on their perceived efforts to acknowledge and combat human trafficking.  Romania features strongly as a source country for the UK as well as many other countries.  It is particularly difficult to reintegrate Romanian victims of sexual exploitation because they are so stigmatised, regarded as stupid and responsible for lowering the esteem of the local population.  Extreme poverty in Africa is driving people to seize any opportunity to go abroad.
  • Dawn Walmsley shared the latest draft of the  Pan-Lancashire anti-Slavery Partnership Toolkit with us. It is now complete except for formal publication.  The Toolkit covers everything people working in organisations need to know about the nature of human trafficking, identifying victims and referral, with an excellent referral pathway flow chart at the end which can be used as standard procedure for referral in any organisation.
  • The Training Sub-Group updated us developments on training in Lancashire.  We need big venues for the multi-agency one day training.  Hidden Voices is a new resource created by Mosaic Creative for The Clewer Initiative.  It uses the principles of an existing resource called Stories on the Street, and it’s designed to help churches and communities respond to modern slavery. There is material for schools in Derby Diocese which we need to know more about.
  • The Clewer Initiative is launching a car wash app to enable people to log details of car washes. Car washes are unlicensed and there is no reliable data on how widespread  the problem of slavery and labour abuse is.  Working with the National Crime Agency and the Gangmasters & Labour Abuse Authority, the Clewer Safe Car Wash app is the largest community intelligence gathering exercise ever attempted in the UK.  The app can be downloaded onto a smartphone which asks a series of questions around the indicators of modern slavery.  Users can also report concerns to the Modern Slavery Helpline.
  • Ed Saville referred to the Red Cross Your Space Programme which provides accommodation, advice and support to trafficked people right after they have left exploitation. Currently running in Derby and Nottingham, it helps give people time and space before making a choice about their next step. The programme provides support  for those who don’t go into the NRM and also post NRM.
  • Sion Hall raised the idea of anti-trafficking roadshows in Lancashire starting perhaps in Blackburn.

April 27, 2018 Pan Lancashire Anti-Trafficking Partnership  (PLASP) Meeting

As usual there was a strong agenda with useful developments and updates.  The most substantial contributions are below.

Helen Gordos, Tactical Advisor with the Modern Slavery Human Trafficking Unit presented a PowerPoint on what the MSHTU does.  On 3rd November 2016, the Prime Minister’s Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Taskforce was launched with NCA and Policing represented at each meeting. Both law enforcement and the United Kingdom Intelligence Community are required to deliver a step change in delivery against the threat in the UK.  Modern Slavery and Human trafficking is now a key priority for all of UK law enforcement.  Operation AIDANT in the Powerpoint refers to a surge in operational activity focusing on labour and sexual exploitation co-ordinated by the NCA from May 2017.

Liz Borthwick speaking about the National Action Plan mentioned that multi-agency partnerships were to be put in place.  We already have one, with action orientated sub-groups,  and this is our fourth meeting!

Dawn Walmsley presented a draft of the  Pan-Lancashire anti-Slavery Partnership Toolkit for comment.  The Toolkit covers everything people working in organisations need to know about the nature of human trafficking, identifying victims and referral, with an excellent referral pathway flow chart at the end which can be used as standard procedure for referral in any organisation.

Kirsty Holt presented a PowerPoint on the work of City Hearts.  City Hearts holds the National Referral Mechanism contract for Lancashire and is currently supporting 15-20 survivors in this region through the NRM.  City Hearts offers one on one casework supporting survivors integrate into the community.  They offer:

  • Regional Help Line
  • Fortnightly Phone Support
  • Drop-ins
  • Advocacy
  • Pathway Plans

Their Fast Track into Work offers:

  • Availability throughout the UK
  • 4 week paid work placement
  • Guaranteed non-competitive job interview
  • In work support
  • Post placement support in e.g. warehouses and retail store

Danielle Hague (Training sub-Group) updated the meeting on national training packages and said that a Lancashire adapted version of the one hour training package had gone to partners.   A pool of  trainers is needed for longer versions of training to be given to groups of professionals in large venues and there is a full day package to be delivered via safeguarding boards.  Ed Saville updated the meeting on the training designed for the Anglican Clewer Initiative with a training event for volunteers on April 24.

The logo for the partnership has been finalised and Sion asked that we used it.

March 22, 2018: Pan Lancashire Anti-Slavery Partnership Meeting

Present were:

  • Blackburn Diocese
  • Blackburn with Darwen Safeguarding
  • Caritas Salford Anti-Trafficking
  • City Hearts
  • Department for Work and Pensions
  • Foxton Centre, Preston
  • Friendship Foundation
  • Gangmasters Labour and Abuse Authority
  • Lancashire Police Public Protection Unit
  • Medaille Trust
  • NHS
  • UCLAN
  • Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner
  • Victim Support Lancashire

This isn’t by any means a definitive summary of the meeting, just what struck us in particular.

  • The Lancashire Anti-slavery Partnership is now the Pan Lancashire Anti-Slavery Partnership (PLASP)
  • Kite marking has the potential to fight modern day slavery and labour exploitation in places such as car washes.  The Partnership is considering this though the GLAA is working on certification which would achieve the same aim but might take longer to implement.  After car washes, nail bars would be the next prime target.
  • In a recent week of action, visits to three car washes resulted in the identification of three individuals who were being exploited or were working illegally.  One is going through the National Referral Mechanism for an earlier incidence of sexual exploitation.  Car washes have a reputation for exploiting vulnerable people and historic as well as current instances of trafficking can turn up.
  • Research in other countries has raised the question of whether criminalising men would be a route to consider. However 500 users have been identified in recent operations and there were reasons why wholesale prosecutions could be counterproductive.  The idea needs to be thought through carefully.
  • The recent slavery raid in Liverpool where Merseyside Police rescued 41 Romanian men highlighted the scale of labour exploitation in the UK. The tentacles of this organised crime were enormous with men picked up in Romania and dropped off in London, before finding themselves working long hours for little money and having to pay extortionate rates for transport and accommodation.  A major concern is about the men known to have been enslaved but subsequently gone missing.  Recruitment agencies are used but many are small and overall there are too many to police.  There are plans to visit the sort of companies, such as food processing, where trafficked workers are likely to be employed.
  • The Department for Work and Pensions has a trafficking lead in Caxton House, London and there is an operation in Blackpool which has prioritised trafficked victims for rapid action on benefit payments and housing and to work against them going into another exploitative job.
  • The Foxton Centre in Preston supports people sleeping rough, street drinkers, street sex workers and other homeless and/or vulnerable adults in Preston. They find that East European rough sleepers work cash in hand in car washes, and the Foxton Centre has managed to take one as an employee.  The Foxton Centre represents homelessness in PLASP.
  • The Friendship Foundation which works with a counterpart in Romania is trying to get the message across to Romanians seeking employment in the UK via Romanian job agencies, that the situation is not as portrayed. There are employment agencies in every town in Romania, which are used by the traffickers to get people to the UK.   Repatriation of trafficked victims to Romania is often unsafe, particularly if it is the family itself that was responsible for the trafficking.  The Friendship Foundation works with Romania to try and ensure there is a safe place to return to.
  • The day before the meeting East Lancashire Police had a very successful operation in breaking up a big organised crime syndicate working with cannabis farms. The details of this are not yet in the public domain.  After a downturn of cannabis factories from a high point some years ago, they are now back in large numbers.
  • A sub-goup of the Partnership has drawn up a draft protocol for the referral process in the form of a flow chart. Members of the Partnership were asked for thoughts and comments on how to conduct referrals in a standardised and coordinated way across different bodies.
  • Two papers were presented to the meeting:
    • A Modern Police Transformation paper (December 2017) covering Live Modern Slavery Operations in UK Policing and Modern Slavery activities within Immigration Enforcement, Gangmasters Labour and Abuse Authority, Border Force and the Modern slavery Police Transformation Unit. (I need permission before I can share this very informative paper)
    • See the Signs – Break the Chains.  This is aimed at hoteliers who may have a trafficking victim among their hotel guests or employees.  The paper gives some clear signs of what to look out for.

February 22, 2018: Pan Lancashire Anti-Slavery Partnership

Present were individuals from:

  • Blackburn Diocese
  • Blackburn with Darwen Safeguarding Boards
  • Blackpool Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (Safeguarding)
  • British Red Cross
  • Caritas Salford Anti-Trafficking
  • Friendship Foundation
  • Gangmasters Labour and Abuse Authority
  • Immigration Enforcement
  • Lancashire Constabulary Community Safeguarding Partnership
  • Lancashire County Council
  • Lancashire Police
  • Medaille Trust
  • NHS
  • Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner
  • Trust House Lancashire (Independent Sexual Violence Adviser)

A lot more was said than is encapsulated in these notes but the main point striking us were:

  • There is an exercise mapping car washes which will help with kite marking and giving people an ethical choice on usage. 73 car washes have been mapped and there will be many more across Lancashire.
  • The Modern Slavery Task Force has produced training materials at three levels, level three being a full day. NHS staff will be trained at level two and some at level three.  It is a good product, not so much different as a means of standardising training.
  • The Anglican Clewer Initiative (launched October 2018) has produced good quality training packages in conjunction with the GLAA. The one hour version is available to all and the longer version is available to people after training – there is a course is on 24 April.
  • We had a summary of the 24 January meeting of the National Anti-Trafficking and Modern Slavery Network (NATMSN) the gist of which can be found in their Winter 2018 Newsletter. The most interesting items are: reforms to the National Referral Mechanism which improve resourcing and timescales; and the Modern Slavery Police Transformation Unit which is delivering products and tools to support police.
  • Sion Hall sits on the National Anti-Trafficking and Modern Slavery Network (NATMSN) which brings together Police and Crime Commissioners from across England and Wales, the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, Kevin Hyland, The National Police Chief Council (NPCC) lead Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer and the Home Office Modern Slavery Unit. The network was launched in February 2016 and is chaired by Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner.  The network is established to provide a strategic meeting framework nationally to raise awareness of tackling human trafficking and modern slavery in all its forms and its aims are:
    • To encourage a victim focused approach and good practice in victim care.
    • To facilitate the sharing of experiences and expertise between national organisations.
    • To influence and connect with wider stakeholders at national and cross border level.
    • To encourage the development and identification of best practice, trends and patterns.
    • To remain abreast of current developments and initiatives relating to human trafficking and modern slavery issues.
    • To support the development of proactive strategies for the prevention of human trafficking and modern slavery.
    • To identify any gaps in current provision of services and anticipate future demand.
    • To monitor training requirements in addition to that already being delivered nationally.
    • To develop intelligence/information sharing protocols between agencies.
    • To identify areas where trafficking is prevalent to understand the key factors and share information so it can be disrupted and establishment prevented in other areas.
    • Support the United Kingdom National plan in relation to Modern Slavery.
  • The network is a good opportunity to keep Lancashire on the national agenda and Sion has offered to host a meeting in Lancashire.
  • The GLAA reported on emerging trends in organised crime local and national. In the north it is meat packing, farming (particularly big salad farms),  car washes, nail bars and sexual exploitation (which is huge).  Begging and shop lifting don’t  feature to any degree.
  • In a Serious Non-Compliance Week of Action in the North of England, seven car washes were taken to tribunal with five successful cases and two more likely to follow. Even if these outlets aren’t criminalised, hefty fines are a big disincentive.
  • The LCC representative spoke about child sexual exploitation and County Lines. LCC Child Social Care have a mulit-agency exploitation hub linked with Operation Genga which covers all forms of child exploitation.  An issue is the conflict between Social Care and the CPS particularly in relation to cannabis farms where victims are criminalised through failure of the victims or the system to get victim testimony.
  • There is an aspiration for Lancashire West and South Division to build on the success of the East Lancashire’s  dedicated human trafficking team with their own dedicated teams but it is proving difficult to resource at the same level.
  • East Lancashire Police referred to the recent successful Operation Magician which was an operation over three or four months culminating in seven individuals being charged for sexual exploitation offences.
  • Trust House Lancashire are offering counselling support for victims of rape or sexual violence and will work with trafficking victims.
  • Immigration Enforcement have a child trafficking pilot linked with Operation Challenger, a multi-agency response to tackling organised crime that now includes human trafficking. It is based with GMP but covers the region.  A concern raised at the meeting was about trying to identify children in Lancashire.  Another issue was about unregistered landlords and whether they were linked with organised crime.
  • Awareness training is on offer to NHS staff and some has already been done. The NHS Clinical Commissioning Group was mentioned but the view expressed that staff such as receptionists and caretakers should be targeted directly rather than cascading via teachers and GPs.
  • Officers from Lancashire Constabulary are taking part in a week of action to tackle human trafficking, modern slavery and labour exploitation across the county (Monday March 5th – Friday March 9th). Working with partners from the Pan Lancashire Anti Slavery Partnership, including immigration control, HMRC, Lancashire County Council and the Health and Safety Executive, officers will visit a number of businesses to make sure working conditions are safe and legal and that workers are not exploited.  Information will be given to owners and their employees and where there is evidence of exploitation, premises will be searched and arrests made.  Any victims found will be brought to safety.
  • Blackburn Diocese will set up an interfaith group within the Diocese to include the Santa Marta Group as well as Clewer and to engage with the Lancashire Council of Mosques.
  • The Foxton Centre is to be our Lancashire Anti Slavery Partnership lead on homelessness.

January 17, 2018: Pan Lancashire Anti-Slavery Partnership

This was a well attended meeting of Lancashire NGO and statutory body representatives with a trafficking remit, chaired by Sion Hall.  Given the success of East Lancashire Police in fighting human trafficking one would hope that their good work might be extended across the other two Lancashire divisions and that there be funding beyond April to continue the coordination of anti-trafficking work via this group.

The main points arising from the meeting that struck me were:

  • On February 16 there is the first meeting of a Training Sub-Group which will audit existing training across Lancashire and aim for a coordinated approach.
  • There will be a Week of Action early this year focusing on a trafficking target area which will not be announced in advance. This will be a multi-agency operation involving the Police as one of a number of partners.  Publicity afterwards will raise the importance of public intel and the signs the public should look out for.
  • Training and Awareness are key and Hope for Justice, the charity used to educate police officers in East Lancashire two years ago, will deliver five events for a total of up to 300 staff for Lancashire County Council statutory bodies starting in March. The training and awareness will focus on bodies with a Duty to Notify rather than First Responders.
  • We had stats for the different types of trafficking showing labour exploitation and sexual exploitation dominating with a small number of domestic servitude. Forced marriage barely features in the statistics in Lancashire.  Although figures are mostly via the National Referral Mechanism there is a significant number via Duty to Notify.
  • The current draft branding, Lancashire Anti-Slavery Network, is open to discussion on whether “anti-slavery” is more meaningful than “modern day slavery” and whether it would help  to use a branding that would give common parlance with other constabulary networks.
  • On policies and procedures issues were raised on how organisations (particularly those without a Duty to Notify) might develop effective referral pathways.
  • Sion Hall suggested kite marking businesses that met standards on e.g. wages, environment and health and safety. Car washes would be a good place to start and the meeting agreed this was worth pursuing.
  • The draft terms of reference were agreed.
  • There is an issue of children coming to the UK on visas and not returning home, disappearing perhaps into the hands of traffickers.
  • There was some discussion on Faith Based Organisations – Santa Marta, Clewer and the Salvation Army – and their possible contribution to the network, which raised the issue of Vietnamese cannabis factories, the criminalisation of victims and access to Vietnamese communities via the Buddhist Temple.
  • The Red Cross work with victims in the asylum system, some of whom don’t see the need for an NRM referral. The Red Cross provides housing and advice to aid a decision on whether to choose to go through the NRM.  This raised the issue of the need for support prior to the NRM and the work of City Hearts and the Medaille More project.

December 15, 2017: Pan Lancashire Anti-Slavery Partnership  

This new network aims to raise awareness on human trafficking and modern day slavery and increase effectiveness on combating it via an effective partnership approach.  Sion told us that the ultimate aim was to rid Lancashire of the problem, overwhelming though that task might be.  The approach is victim focused and for the network to be effective, it needs to identify, promote and share activities that add value to victim rescue and support.

Around twenty five local authority and NGO staff and volunteers attended the first meeting chaired by Sion Hall at Lancashire Police Headquarters on 15 December.  Nearly all introduced themselves as having a trafficking remit within their organisation.

The meeting was essentially for people to introduce themselves and get to know  each other and discuss the draft terms of reference.