What we do

September 15 and 16 2017: Blackbirds at Dawn, a play that explores the issue of modern day slavery

This play is by Donna Worthington, one of our Anti-Trafficking Network, and being staged at the  University of Cumbria, Bowerham Road, Lancaster LA1 3JD

Performances will be on Friday 15th September 2017 at 7.30 pm and Saturday 16th September at 2.00 pm and 7.30 pm followed by post production discussions.

Set in a Dystopian future “Blackbirds at Dawn” explores the urgent issue of modern slavery:  A door.  Closed.  Blackbirds singing.  An underground flat in the future…  An old woman is struggling to survive poverty, cold and haunting memories of her past, when suddenly the hidden world of human enslavement knocks on her door in the form of a young woman, about to give birth and desperate.  “Blackbirds at Dawn” is a play about modern slavery, survival, fear, hope, entrapment, the body and what it means to be human and and live a human life.

Donna is doing the box office and the mobile number on the poster is her number. If people leave a message on her phone, she will always get back to them.

August 7, 2017: Meeting with DCI Mark Vaughton

On Monday 7 August we met DCI Mark Vaughton who has taken over from Sion Hall on retirement.   We were struck by Mark’s enthusiasm and commitment to the job and flattered that he clearly valued the awareness raising work we have been doing over the last three years.  The Police are in no doubt that what they need in the fight against human trafficking is more public awareness and more referrals from the public.

On the wall, in a frame, was the back of the envelope on which Sion and Mark had scribbled down their initial thoughts on a future dedicated trafficking operation.  At the time they were travelling back from a European conference and inspired to do something.  It hung there in testimony to how Mark’s dedicated team of seven had grown from such small beginnings.

Like Sion, Mark’s focus is on the victim and success is measured not so much by successful prosecution but by victim safeguarding.  Trafficking convictions are notoriously difficult to achieve and if victims are safeguarded then deportation, conviction for lesser offences, and disruption of criminal operations all have to be counted as successes.

Mark updated us on thirteen cases they had handled in the last 18 months. Two of these were very significant. See the full report of the meeting.

July 19 2017: Presentation at Clitheroe Christians in Partnership

This was an update to the ministers of the Clitheroe Christian communities or their representatives and an opportunity to update the meeting on the trafficking developments with the Santa Marta Group and the action agreed for Salford Diocese at the meeting with Fr David Glover on June 9.

July 17 2017: St Chad’s Primary School, Manchester

Following up on the May 8 entry and a action point from our June 9 meeting with Fr David Glover Anthony Brown to look at the Just Enough trafficking workshops and lesson plans for primary schools, we were in St Chad’s, Cheetham on July 17 looking at a Just Enough Modern Slavery (not trafficking!) workshop for Year 5s.  St Chad’s is one of three Catholic primaries in Salford Diocese (the others are St Bernard’s and St Anthony’s) that took up a Home Office offer for the workshops.  We wanted to observe to see if they might have wide currency in the Diocese given that the subject of human trafficking and modern day slavery needs to be addressed at an early stage.

We had a good talk with the two acting heads, Margaret Foster and Dominic James, afterwards and they explained very clearly why they had taken up the Home Office offer and why the workshop was particularly appropriate for their school.

W will try and get some feedback from St Chad’s and the other two Catholic schools but initial impressions are that there is off-the-shelf material that can be used or adapted within the Diocese.

Below are the Just Enough leaflets on their Modern Slavery workshop and their online platform Just Enough Learns which provides lesson plans and other resources for teachers.

JEL Facecard Slavery Card

EnglandJEL Facecard

July 15 2017:  Tabor, Carmelite Retreat Centre Preston

Donna Worthington invited me to answer questions on human trafficking and modern day slavery as she spent a day with Elijah, Contemplative and Active Prophet, exploring the relevance of his spirituality for today through silence, facing injustice, and inner work.

Having got the measure of Elijah in the morning, via presentation and contemplation,  Donna made a link between Old Testament times and the exploited and oppressed of today, focusing specifically on human trafficking and slavery.  She gave an excellent background to the Medaille Trust and the victims they support before handing over to me to say a few words on the local situation and answer questions.

There were around 50 people in the room and the earlier sessions had primed them to a state of heightened attentiveness, such as you don’t usually see.  There were far too many questions for the time and these continued at my stall of prayer cards, magazines, leaflets and Mama Margaret wares over the lunch period.

I wasn’t able to stay for the afternoon having to leave for the Parish Refugee day, another uplifting experience with so many people turning up to welcome and support the 120 or so refugees and asylum seekers from Revive in Manchester and New Neighbours in Burnley.

Anthony Brown

July 14 2017: Modern Slavery NGO forum at GMP Force Headquarters

As usual this was a very useful two hour forum organised and fronted by Hannah Flint, Modern Slavery Network Coordinator for Greater Manchester Police.  Hannah reminded us that the purpose of the meeting was awareness raising, information sharing and victim protection.

Chris Geneux of Greater Manchester Police made the point that although referrals are increasing what is really needed is increased referrals from outside the Police.  In his update on the GMP intelligence picture he raised the problem of victims not self identifying and victims not going through the National Referral Mechanism and not therefore being included in the figures.   Most referrals came from charities, the National Slavery Helpline and the Border Force but there were many others.  What was interesting was the developing pattern of trafficking in different parts of Great Manchester. In Bolton  there is domestic servitude with Chinese women,  some brought via an arranged marriage.   Hungarian sex workers are on the increase as organised crime previously associated more with drugs and firearms us moving into trafficking.  In the City, Vietnamese are being trafficked in and then exploited. Hannah commented that the Vietnamese community is an important one to make links with and we put her in touch with Fr Xavier, our Vietnamese refugee priest at Our Lady of Lourdes and St Gerard Majella, Lostock Hall.  In Bury there are Vietnamese domestic slaves and in the pop-up brothels, Albanian women have started to appear.

There was a great deal more, difficult to record but some things noted:

  • With an increasing awareness of the issue of unaccompanied children and trafficking there is a Home Office Child Advocacy pilot.  GMP has a child advocate along with Wales, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
  • City Hearts updated us on their involvement with the Bright Future programme which provides support in gaining and keeping employment, the emphasis on sustained support.  (Medaille is one of the charities associated with the programme.) We had an example of someone who had come back to City Hearts having been trafficked again after two years.
  • There is to be an event at Manchester Cathedral on 30 October with tables featuring social justice issues such as homelessness, sex workers and refugees/asylum seekers with some victims present.

July 13, 2017: Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery Round Table

This important meeting was between the Santa Marta Group and the Caritas/Medaille partnership,  Police and religious from within the Diocese of Salford.  See the notes of the meeting Trafficking round table meeting notes 13th July 2017 (final)

June 26, 2017: Cardinal Nichols addresses Lithuanian Parliament

Cardinal Nichols today addressed the Lithuanian Parliament (Seimas), encouraging their commitment to combat human trafficking and modern slavery.

In his role as president of the Santa Marta Group, formed in 2014 with the encouragement and support of Pope Francis, Cardinal Nichols was invited to address the Seimas and meet with the prime minister Saulius Skvernelis to strengthen the links with Lithuania and encourage their commitment to the struggle against human trafficking. He was accompanied by Kevin Hyland, independent anti-slavery commissioner.

In the UK, the focus of the Santa Marta Group has been on building local partnerships between dioceses and police forces, the Border Force, Customs and Excise and the National Crime Agency.  Cardinal Nichols made a brief reference to our Parish initiative in saying that the work is taking shape with many groups, including Lithuanians, in dioceses such as Salford, East Anglia, Southwark and Westminster.

You can read more in the press release and Cardinal Nichols’ full address to the Lithuanian Parliament.

June 9, 2017: Lee House Mobile Trafficking Exhibition

We went to see Joe Howson about some possible enhancements to the Mobile Traficking Exhibition but first he showed us the panels for the interview room.

 

The image here is very much in line with the interview room for victims of human trafficking shown us by East Lancashire Police last year where every effort is made to remove any indication of officialdom and instead create a sensitive and open atmosphere where victims can feel confident to talk about their experiences.

Joe is considering visual effects and props to support the sound track in the different rooms.  We did a walk through with the earphones and tried to imagine being in the rooms, thinking of what might supplement them.  Although the current  imagery suffices with the sound track, supplements would probably be beneficial and we took away the sound  tracks to explore possibilities.   Although the exhibition could be used in its present form it has yet to be launched.  The Mobile Refugee Exhibition is being well used and has had several thousand visitors.  The plan is for schools to have the  option of using both exhibitions by simply changing the panels.

Below is a picture of the exhibition without its roof and the doors open from rooms 5 to 8.  You can just make out that the end room is a truck carrying freight, the situation our trafficking victim found themselves in.

June 9 2017:  Caritas Anti-Trafficking and the Santa Marta Group

On Friday 9 June Mark Wiggin, Mary and Anthony Brown had a very productive meeting with Fr David Glover, Episcopal Vicar for Social Responsibility in the Catholic Diocese of Salford, in preparation for our next meeting with Mick Duthie, Deputy Director of the Santa Marta Group (SMG), on July 13.

 The July 13 meeting was instigated by SMG and will be a bringing together of Police and religious to create a partnership between SMG and the Diocese of Salford.  Caritas will take the lead under Fr Glover and has invited representatives from:  Greater Manchester Police;  East Lancashire Police: the Catholic Diocese of Salford deaneries of St John Southworth and St John Vianney; the Medaille Trust; the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul; the Franciscan Missionaries Convent in Blackburn; and the Christian Brothers.

 In summary our meeting with David Glover agreed we would:

  • Distribute our prayer cards to all parishes in the Diocese.  10,000 have already been distributed in two deaneries and estimated 30,000 is needed for the other six deaneries.
  • Distribute the Stop it Spot it leaflets throughout the Diocese with supporting cover including quotes from Pope Francis, Bishop John Arnold and Fr David Glover.
  • Increase parish representatives throughout the diocese.   12 parishioners currently represent Caritas Anti-Trafficking and the Medaille Trust in 17 out of the 29 churches in John Southworth Deanery.
  • Approach the six remaining deaneries that haven’t so far had trafficking input inviting them to ask for a speaker at deanery meetings.
  • Link to the Caritas Westminster Love in Action Catholic Social Teaching programme that will be introduced to parishes in Salford.
  • Examine existing educational and awareness materials for use in secondary schools e.g. the Medaille Trust Education Pack
  • Include trafficking in more detail, and at earlier key stages, in the next re-write of the Caritas in Action Curriculum.
  • Follow up the above with Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programmes to promote bespoke awareness courses on trafficking and safeguarding.
  • Press for trafficking awareness in secondary schools via  RE leads’ training days.
  • Examine the Just Enough trafficking workshops and lesson plans for primary schools.  The workshops can be bought in for £200 for two one hour sessions, discounted for four sessions, and the lesson plans are available to schools at £30 subscription  year.
  • Develop a strong link with the Diocesan Safeguarding Officer and design trafficking leaflets for safeguarding officers in parishes.
  • Conduct a scoping study to explore the unmet needs of trafficked victims prior to, during,  and after the 45 period of current safe house provision.  These needs are likely to include integration into the  community, signposting to existing services, assessment and preparation for employment, and support during the early days of employment.
  • Draw up a business plan that sets out a case for the need, requirements, costs, management and sustainability of a specialist Caritas provision for trafficked victims.

May 8 2017:  Human Trafficking and primary schools

On May 8 we met Olga Jackson, Deputy Head at Thorneyholme Primary School, Dunsop Bridge.  Olga contacted us after looking at our webpage and discovering Martin Connolly’s  input on modern day slavery at St Michael and St John’s Primary School when the Holy Door came to Clitheroe during the Year of Mercy.  Martin used Salvation Army material, since supplemented with worksheets which weren’t available at the time.  We offered Olga the Salvation Army material plus material from Stop the Traffik all of which is eminently suitable for young children and comprises short lessons for assembly and as well as longer lesson plans.  Olga believes that awareness of human trafficking and modern day slavery should start at an early stage.

Most interestingly, we discovered that the Santa Marta Group, Review of Progress 2016 includes a report on Westminster Diocese’s use of Just Enough  to deliver primary school lessons.  Following this up with Just Enough we learned that they have delivered a tailored package of lessons to 20 Catholic schools in Westminster Diocese.  Moreover, in a Home Office initiative, Healthy Schools targeted primary schools in Greater Manchester and sixteen responded including three Catholic schools.  Just Enough are delivering these lessons between 17 May and 18 July at a cost of £200 for a half day of one or two sessions, or £290 for a full day of between three and four sessions.   We will be taking up the offer to observe one of these sessions.

The Just Enough material is also available on line to schools at a cost of £30 per year.  On the face of it, a Santa Marta Group recommended offering is not only the obvious option to take but its uptake so far in Greater Manchester greatly strengthens the case for us to promote the case, via our new relationship between SMG and Caritas Anti-Trafficking,  for the widespread use of the materials generally throughout the Catholic Diocese of Salford.

May 3 2017:  Meeting with Lucy Newton,  St Augustine’s RC High School

This meeting was about forging links between St Augustine’s and the feeder parishes via the Caritas Ambassadors but it was also an opportunity to raise the issue of human trafficking and the work of the Medaille Trust as a key aspect of social justice.  Human Trafficking is arguably the extreme end result of western affluence and greed plus what Pope Francis has referred to as “the globalisation of indifference”.  In this sense, human trafficking should be seen as a symptom as well as an issue to tackle in its own right.  Caritas and Medaille are closely linked in Salford Diocese but despite our aspirations to engage secondary school pupils in parish activities Lucy felt that the ambassadors were not the starting point.  Instead she proposed that representatives of the feeder parishes should meet to share their different parish activities and charitable approaches and reach more adults.  Young people would be secondary target for later.  Lucy has written to the parish priests in the catchment area and we hope they will respond to her idea.  From our anti-trafficking perspective it would be an opportunity to engage directly with more parishes.

April 27 2017:  Some thoughts following a meeting with a victim of human trafficking

On 27 April we met for the second time with a young Vietnamese trafficked girl (NV),  a “relative” of the Vietnamese woman, also referred to us by the same parish priest and reported on on January 24th.  With her were ourselves, Fr Xavier –  a refugee from Vietnam,  and NV’s case worker – a refugee from Zimbabwe. It was a humbling experience for the two of us to be with our young asylum seeker and two refugees whose stories continue to this day.   Neither of these men supporting NV were able to be with the parents when they died back in their home countries.  For them there is no sense of closure,  The commitment and enthusiasm of Fr Xavier and Elisha versus what Pope Francis has described as the “globalisation of indifference” supports a view that unless people have a past which enables empathy with the poor and the exploited, it is difficult for them to comprehend what the experience must be like.

NVs story is only just starting. We understand she was brought to England overland in a truck but fortunate enough to be picked up by the Police on arrival in the UK and put into the care of Barnardos.  She was 15.  She went through the National Referral Mechanism and passed the stage one process which decided there were reasonable grounds to believe she was a potential victim of human trafficking or modern slavery.  However two years later she was informed that the stage two – conclusive decision – was negative.  An Article 8 application is now being made for leave to stay on humanitarian grounds.

NV’s case highlights the difficulties and complexities of claiming asylum.  On the face of it her case is little different from another Vietnamese girl and a Vietnamese woman who were successful – different solicitor we were told.  In many ways she is in a stronger position than most.  She is in full time education aiming for a GCSE in English and an accountancy/business studies qualification.  She already has a GCSE in Maths.  She has a lot of support from her parish priest and is well integrated and active in the parish community.  Elisha has found a good solicitor for her to replace the ineffective one who was previously handing her case.  She is part of a community of young asylum seekers including Vietnamese who enjoy social activities together. She is well housed and also stays with the Vietnamese relative who has recently been given leave to stay.  She is about to finish her time with Barnardos and has a good local authority case worker.  Caritas has been instrumental in putting Fr Xavier in touch with her, helping to locate the community of young asylum seekers, and will now help to find job experience opportunities that will strengthen her article 8 application.

Our contribution to NV’s case and others is small but significant.   So far, our local group has had some direct or indirect involvement with seven asylum seekers. Three were victims or potential victims of human trafficking, one was a victim of labour exploitation which fell short of slavery and three were asylum seekers where a sudden emergency brought to us.   The overriding feeling we get is that the path to refugee status is one fraught with inefficiencies and difficulties:

What we have learned from these cases is that they all needed more than they were getting from the one or two agencies supporting them.   Current provision is patchy and uncoordinated.

Asylum seekers have stories of lives fraught with misery and danger but the Home Office wants evidence, evidence that is difficult to get – paper evidence in countries of origin and not easily accessible even if it still exists.

What has been the nature of our contribution to cases so far?

  • Asylum seekers have every reason to be suspicious of authority figures given the experience in their own countries. By being part of the team that is supporting asylum seekers we have helped build confidence in the support and advice on offer.
  • We have helped solicitors strengthen their cases by encouraging asylum seekers to provide documentary evidence, evidence of community involvement,  evidence of employment skills and evidence of a willingness to contribute to the country.
  • Contact with Caritas Iraq to locate documentary evidence to support an application.
  • Referring to sources of advice on benefits and housing.
  • Direct assistance in teaching English as a foreign language.
  • Locating communities of asylum seekers and/or the same ethnic group.
  • Accompanying referrals to solicitors and tribunals and providing transport generally.
  • Providing material and financial support.
  • Fr Xavier assisted as an interpreter in building up an Article 8 application and during the counsel briefing at a tribunal.
  • Fr Xavier has experience of, and is available for, work in prisons, where Vietnamese potentially trafficked cannabis factory workers often end up out of fear of what their traffickers might do if they testify against them.

April 26 2017: Presentation at Clitheroe Christians in Partnership

This was an update to the ministers of the Clitheroe Christian communities or their representatives:

  • Summary of the meeting with Mick Duthie of Santa Marta (see below)
  • Blackbirds at Dawn (see above)
  • Update on the poster, leaflet and prayer card initiative which has now been launched in two Salford Diocese deaneries and the Clitheroe Christian churches, and has been taken up by the Catholic Diocese of Nottingham. Mick Duthie indicated that Santa Marta funding should be available for future print runs of this nature
  • Together Lancashire aims to log all the agencies offering support to those in need for the purpose of networking.  There are a number of charitable ventures which need  to get their details to Together Lancashire.  Our experience with asylum seekers and refugees is that they are never aware of all the support services available to them so the Together Lancashire resource would be extremely valuable.

April 24 2017: Meeting with Mick Duthie, Deputy Director of the Santa Marta Group

On April 24 our local anti-trafficking network met with Mick Duthie, Deputy Director of the Santa Marta Group (SMG).  This was a landmark meeting where we agreed to explore the setting up a North West Region forum, linked with SMG and  taking in East Lancashire Police and the Catholic Diocese of Salford.

There was no agenda but as we saw it the meeting aimed to:  examine the read across between Caritas Anti-trafficking and SMG; help SMG develop a strategy to bring trafficking and modern day slavery into mainstream Catholic thinking; and explore how SMG could guide and support us in our local activities.

See my thoughts following the meeting please note that they are what I took away from the meeting rather than what people necessarily put in.

For some background on the Santa Marta Group see below

The SMG is an alliance of international police chiefs and bishops from around the world working together with civil society in a process endorsed by Pope Francis, to eradicate human trafficking and modern day slavery. The Pope has described trafficking as “an open wound on the body of contemporary society”.

 The SMG was developed by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference for England and Wales (CBCEW) and first met in Rome during April 2014 when police chiefs and Catholic bishops came to together, in the presence of Pope Francis, to sign an historic declaration, committing themselves to a partnership to eliminate human trafficking.

 Thanks to the work of the SMG the United Nations have made tackling human trafficking and modern day slavery a priority by a Sustainable Development Goal 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, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms.”

 The  Group now has members in over 30 countries and through a series of conferences has brought together the heads of national and international police and law enforcement agencies including UK National Crime Agency, Interpol, Europol, US Homeland Security, the Argentine Federal Police, Ghanaian, Indian, Thai, Australian, Irish and many European Police Forces to look at how they can work with the Church to help victims.

Anthony and Mary Brown

April 20 2017:  Eight arrested in raids in Blackburn, Preston, Blackpool, Worcester and Northumbria in human trafficking operation

Sion has just sent this link to the greatest success of his team so far – the work of many months of surveillance, working with other Police forces in the UK and abroad and culminating in the arrests of seven men and one woman across three counties.  Follow the link http://www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/news/15232621.Dawn_raids_uncover__highly_organised_gangs_were_exploiting_women_and_girls__to_make_up_to___1_3m_from_human_trafficking/ for  full details plus a video and pictures but for an easier quick read a summary is below.

SEVEN men and a woman have been arrested as part of a nationwide crackdown on human trafficking. Dawn raids were carried out across Lancashire, Northumbria and Worcester in relation to a nine-month probe into an organised sex gang centred in Blackburn.

Eight individuals, who are all Eastern European, have been arrested on suspicion of conspiring to traffick for sexual exploitation and conspiring to incite prostitution. They are all currently in custody.  Eight women were found inside the addresses and were suspected of being trafficked to the UK from Romania for the purposes of prostitution. Safeguarding and welfare issues are being addressed.

As part of the operation police and officers from the National Crime Agency raided a house in Whitebirk Road, Blackburn, at 7am this morning and arrested three Romanian men aged 25, 28 and 31. Two women were also found in the house.  It is understood they were working as prostitutes.  Other raids took place in Preston, Blackpool, Gateshead in Northumbria and Evesham, near Worcester.  As a result of that police arrested a 29-year-old woman and four men aged 30, 27 and two 29-year-olds.

Detective Inspector Mark Vaughton said: “Today’s arrests are the latest stage of a long-running proactive investigation by Lancashire Constabulary into the activities of a Romanian organised crime group which we believe has been trafficking women into the country for the purposes of prostitution.  While this is just the latest phase of this operation,  today’s activities have seen both a number of people arrested and a number of women rescued from exploitation.  Modern slavery is not something confined to history, it is still happening today, and it’s happening in Lancashire. We would urge you to look closer, modern slavery could be happening right in front of you – whether that’s in nail bars, car washes, rural businesses, brothels, massage parlours, or a property in your neighbourhood.

April 6, 2017: Clitheroe Advertiser 

March 28, 2017: Way of the Cross for Trafficked Victims

Written by Mary O’Malley of the Medical Missionaries of Mary, working to combat human trafficking in Nairobe, Kenya, Mary says:  “These reflections on the Way of the Cross of Human Trafficked Victims is my experience of encounter with them.  They have taught me something of the pain of Jesus.   All names are changed but the circumstances and gender are real people- women, men and underage children.”  Some of the reflections are very moving and difficult to read but after the service on Tuesday evening someone said: “They have to be  read.”

March 25, 2017: Oscar Romero Commemoration

This took place at the Sacred Heart, Colne with a talk by Fr Jim O’Keefe starting at 2.00pm followed by Mass at 3.00pm.

In itself the event had little to do with trafficking but was a good opportunity to pass on around 20 of the little booklets: Way of the Cross of Human Trafficked Victims.

At the back of the church we noticed a different version of our prayer card.  Evidently the 4,000 or so we gave to Fr Peter Hopkinson for St John Vianney Deanery wasn’t enough and he had more printed in a different size and style.  It is quite an interesting design with 2 cards together which can be separated and one given to someone else.

We have noted too that Nottingham Diocese have also copied the wording of our prayer card and produced a different larger version based on ours which we understand has been given to every family.

March 17, 2017: Papal Envoy for Migrants and Refugees

Vatican representative for Migrants and Refugees. Monsignor Anthony Figurino joined a roundtable discussion with representatives of Caritas Refugee Response, Revive, the Boaz Trust, Medaille Trust and Caritas Anti-Trafficking .  Monsignor Figurino is the coordinator of the newly created department of Migrants and Refugees under the direct control of Pope Francis

March 15, 2017: Blackburn Asylum Seekers Multi-Agency Forum (ASMAF)

This is a group we have visited before and we made some good contacts.  Bellamy and Co Solicitors in Accrington specialise in Immigration and offer free 20 minute appointments at their Tuesday surgeries where they can advise on people’s cases.  They are non-profit making and do some pro-bono work on selected cases:  Health Watch are organising a task force to explore the health needs of asylum seekers.  The Blackburn and Darwen New Arrivals and Gypsy, Roma, Traveller (GRT) Team offer educational and learning experiences for refugees, asylum seekers and new arrivals.  SERCO have a good reputation in the NW for helpful and empathetic support and gave us good information on how SERCO operate and the context within which they operate.  These and more are organisations we have logged up for future reference.  We got the opportunity to brief ASMAF on what Caritas and Medaille were focusing on and introduced Dianne Ngoza who told her story to the Forum.  Two groups within the meeting spoke of Lancashire training events on trafficking, both probably run by Sion’s team.  The Blackpool one certainly was and Sion reported an attendance of 320.

March 8, 2017: New Neighbours, Burnley

New Neighbours is an Asylum Seekers and Refugees support group based at  St John’s Catholic Church.  We went to learn something about the group which is a charitable trust under the umbrella of Building Bridges.  They have been going for around 12 months and support ten families from Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, India, Congo, Albania and others.  They have a drop in, run ESOL courses and provide clothing and general support.  They approached us to share concerns about the lack of solicitors who will take their cases on legal aid.  Legal Aid is much restricted since government cut backs.  They are of interest to us partly because a number of the people they support are trafficked and seeking asylum on those grounds and partly because the problems all asylum seekers face, whether trafficked or not, have much in common.  This is a group we will probably find common ground with and work with.  They have already been in touch with Caritas and our local Refugee Response Group as well other agencies associated with the Blackburn Asylum Seekers Mulit-Agency Forum.

March 7, 2017: North West Regional Modern Slavery Conference

Kevin Hyland speaking on March 7

This conference was hosted by Greater Manchester Police’s Modern Slavery Unit and those attending included Police, local authorities, businesses, non-government organisations and charities from across the North West.

https://www.gmpcc.org.uk/news/north-west-organisations-come-together-to-tackle-modern-slavery/

Anthony and Mary Brown represented Caritas Salford along with Bishop John.  We expect to get speaker PowerPoints at some stage but below is a summary of what the speakers had to say.

In the afternoon there were workshops one of which was led by Sion Hall on Victimless prosecutions and centred on his team’s recent success in Blackburn https://www.lancashire.police.uk/news/2017/march/three-men-jailed-for-human-trafficking-in-victimless-prosecution/ The conference was of particular value to us, not just because of the speaker contributions but also because of the opportunity to network and share.

We managed to establish some good links with Westminster and Santa Marta who were extremely interested in what we are doing at Parish and Diocesan level and appreciated our perception of ourselves as adopting a bottom up approach to the Bakhita Initiative.  Note that back in November 2015: “[Kevin] Hyland hadn’t heard of Brown’s group in Clitheroe, but when he did, he says it’s exactly in the spirit of the Bakhita Initiative.” (Christian Science Monitor)

The partnership between City Hearts and the Coop is particularly interesting to us as the Bright Future Programme is already doing what we are currently exploring within Caritas and Cornerstone for when we have a suitable premises.  A key area of need is achieving self sustenance via community and employment.  Caritas is doing something on the former but not enough, and employment is something we are exploring initially with a recruitment manager sympathetic to short circuiting the recruitment process with the potential for job trials or paid employment.  In our Network we have an employment specialist who can assess and advice on education and employment and formulate the plans that are necessary to support victims in becoming self sustaining.  City Hearts are very interested in all this and we will keep in touch for when we are nearer to being able to put ideas into practice.

The Gangmasters Licensing Authority is something we knew very little about before the conference and Paul Broadbent, their Chief Executive,  referred to a range of things that the authority does that can be very helpful to us.  We are currently dealing with a case of a young Romanian woman who was in an exploitative situation that fell short of slavery in a restaurant and Paul was keen that we involved the GLA too.  The GLA has produced employment rights leaflets in a number of languages which will be useful to us in the current case but potentially with others too.

 Kevin Hyland, Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner

Kevin outlined the measures that the Government and the Police were taking to combat human slavery in the UK – an issue that Theresa May has described as the  greatest human rights issue of our time.

Thanks to these measures convictions have increased from 113 o 216 between 2012 and 2016:

  • A flexible workforce and new capabilities to respond to changing crimes and threats.
  • Powerful software for monitoring IT
  • Secure information exchange across states
  • The Duty to Notify crimes of potential trafficking
  • Joint Investigation Teams with Europol
  • Covert policing
  • Partnerships

Kevin’s message empathised our own personal complicity in perpetuating slavery by the goods we use and the food we eat.  In the words of William Wilberforce: “You may choose to look away but you cannot say don’t know”

Russ Jackson DCS Regional Modern Slavery Lead, GMP

 Russ referred to the Duty to Notify as a game changer although it doesn’t currently apply to the NHS.  “If you look you find”, he said, but the GMP needs the support of the local authorities and the 45 NGOs in the Region.  Referrals have gone up and up in Greater Manchester.

Many of the exploiters in the Region are Romanian, Hungarian and British. He put success down to: the Police and Crime Commissioner and political involvement; partnerships; achieving a joint vision; and true joint working which means co-location.

There is a need to maximise awareness, train police offers and have links with NGOs in victim’s country of origin to ensure after care.

 Ruth Dearnly Chief Executive Stop the Traffik

 Ruth Dearnly’s stressed the importance of working together and observed that the GMP is a pioneer which did it differently because it shared.  Speaking about Stop the Traffik she said:  “Traffickers are networked, creative and plan ahead. The more we share and truly commit to work together, playing to our strengths and beginning to understanding what is actually happening at street level, the greater our hope of disrupting this global crime.”

Paul Gerrard  Group Policy and Campaigns Director. The Co-op

On March 1st 2017, in partnership with City Hearts, the Co-op announced the launch or their Bright Future programme which will help integrate victims of the UK modern slave trade back into communities. Co-op will be providing jobs for known victims and will be raising awareness of modern slavery amongst their four million members.

The Bright Future programme will provide survivors with a four-week paid work placement followed by a non-competitive interview. If this is successful and there is a position vacant, the candidate will be offered a job. The first beneficiary of the scheme is already working in a Co-op store in the North West of England.

Already several of Co-op’s key suppliers including: Tulip; Greencore and 2Sisters have signed up to support Bright Future in 2017 and will provide employment opportunities to victims of modern slavery.

 Jonathon Groom  HSBC Head of Engagement FIU UK Europe and Africa

HSBC has 37 million customers in 70 countries and 14 million in 625 branches in the UK.  Educating staff and others enables them to become the eyes and ears of the Police.

The bank industry has changed through collaboration, working together on money laundering with the Police.

The Joint Money Laundering Intelligence Taskforce (JMLIT) has been set-up in partnership with the financial sector to combat high end money laundering.

The taskforce has analysed information and expertise in the public and private sectors to better understand the true scale of money laundering and the methods used by criminals to exploit the UK’s financial system, and terrorists using the financial systems to finance attacks. It has identified and implemented actions to address these.

Paul Broadbent, Chief Executive Gangmasters Licensing Authority

  • There are 1,000 gangmasters covering 100,000 temporary workers.
  • The GLA can take licences off gangmasters if they are in breach of the regulations. Not being licensed carries a maximum sentence of 10 yrs.
  • The GLA has 100 staff of whom 50% are investigating
  • The Immigration Act has doubled the capability of the GLA
  • Cyber slavery is on the increase e.g. bogus sites in Lithuania offering jobs
  • Key industries for labour exploitation in the North West are food processing, fishing, travelling communities
  • Labour Market Enforcement – part of the 2016 Immigration Act – will do a lot to enable Theresa May’s commitment to eradicate modern day slavery in the UK.

Rebecca Baumgartner Modern Salvery Unit Home Office

Rebecca summarised what she saw as some key points from the day’s speakers:

  • Investigating historical incidents
  • The GMP is recognised by the Government as a leader in tackling modern day slavery
  • There is £85m new Police funding
  • Organised crime are using apps to transfer money
  • Transparency in supply chains is an issue that some companies are addressing but more needs to be done.
  • There are 600 Border Force trained people at airports
  • The problem of what happens at the end of the formal process for victims of human trafficking is an issue that needs to be addressed
  • The value of the Duty to Notify legislation
  • International cooperatives working to prevent trafficking to the UK
  • Working together to shift human trafficking from being a low risk high profit crime to high risk low profit.

February 24, 2017: Christ the King RC High School, Preston

We had a successful day at Christ the King with 56 Year 8s:

  • Half hour presentation about human trafficking in UK and in the supply chains that supply companies with the goods we use
  • 40 minutes in groups – what can they do to raise awareness and help combat human trafficking – things they can do in school or elsewhere?
  • 30 minutes report back and summary/conclusions

Aurette Heyes, Head of PSHE, who organised the day and worked with us on the briefs is keen to pursue further input from us, taking in the other year groups and perhaps spending more time with them.

February 16, 2017: Accrington Rotary

We gave a 30 minute lunchtime presentation using the Unchosen Film, Let’s talk about sex, as an illustration of sex trafficking and to highlight the work of Sion Hall and his team in East Lancashire.  There were about 25 in attendance.  We learned that Rotary has a Rotarian Action Group on trafficking which is mostly about trafficking in other countries. Rotary is a vast international organisation.  See their recent newsletter Rotary Newsletter 73

We will keep in touch with a view to speaking to other Rotary groups but perhaps also spreading the word about UK trafficking much more widely within the UK Rotary network.

February 12, 2017: Launch of poster, prayer card and leaflet initiative in St John Vianney Deanery

With the support of Fr Peter Hopkinson, Dean of St John Vianney Deanery, the Stop it Spot it initiative was launched throughout St John Vianney Deanery.  Assuming that all went to plan, every parishioner in 27 churches and chapels was given one of our anti-trafficking prayer card and alerted to the poster and leaflets advising people of the signs to look out for in potential trafficked victims.

February 11 and 2 2017:  Medaille appeals in the parish of Our Lady of the Valley.

Anthony Brown spoke at two masses in Clitheroe and one in Sabden.  St Huberts at Dunsop Bridge did not have a speaker but had a retiring collection.   The sum total donated to the Medaille Trust was £1,063.56 which included a cheque for £300 from one parishioner and a cheque for £100 form the Knight of St Columba.

February 10, 2017: Caritas Ambassadors, St Cecilia’s RC High School, Longridge

We spoke to the Caritas Ambassadors on human trafficking at their commissioning event.  It was a good opportunity to meet the ambassadors, who span years 7 to 11, and talk about human trafficking in the wider context of Caritas and Catholic Social Teaching.  It was also good to meet Fr David Glover, Episcopal Vicar for Caritas,  and Lorraine Leonard, Parish Ministry and Youth Mission.  St Cecilia’s is one of the schools we already have good links with and who want greater input from us.

February 8-10, 2017: First International Conference on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking, St Mary’s University, Twickenham. London

Sister Bridie Dowd attended this conference and reported that it was an excellent three days, learning about the important research  being undertaken at St Mary’s, research that steers policy in the fight against human trafficking.  There is far too much to relay or summarise easily but below is the information that went out in advance.

With the aim of using research to fill the knowledge and evidence gaps experienced by policymakers and practitioners, the conference will provide a space to promote debate and encourage collaboration on addressing the subject of human trafficking and modern slavery, with contributions from UK and international experts. Discussions between policymakers, practitioners and researchers will identify evidence gaps and tailor research to these needs.

Wednesday afternoon will begin with the official launch of the Centre by a Senior Cabinet member, followed by a high-level panel that discusses the current state of the response to modern slavery, both in the UK and globally, with a view to how we move forward.

On Thursday morning, we begin with a scene setting panel, where different government departments will outline their priorities and key evidence gaps. The subsequent panels will then focus on where research is going and identify areas for further examination.

Panels focus on:

  • Victim identification and care
  • Targeting perpetrators
  • Partnership approaches
  • Definitional challenges
  • Corporate responsibility
  • Labour exploitation

The Home Office Modern Slavery Research team will also host a workshop with Chief Scientific Adviser Professor Bernard Silverman to discuss improving the evidence base on modern slavery offenders.

Speakers:

  • Mr Kevin Hyland, Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner for the UK
  • Caroline Haughey, Barrister, Independent Review of the Modern Slavery Act, 2016
  • Professor Bernard Silverman, Chief Scientific Adviser, Home Office
  • Kate Roberts, Human Trafficking Foundation
  • Professor Kokunre Agbontaen-Eghafona, University of Benin, Nigeria
  • James Cockayne, United Nations University
  • Monique Villa, Thomson Reuters Foundation
  • Beate Andrees, International Labour Organisation
  • Minister Elona Gjebrea Hoxha, Ministry of Interior, Albania

 

February 7, 2017: Modern Day Slavery and Human Trafficking Event, Cathedral Centre, Salford

A Caritas Diocese of Salford Anti-Trafficking Network in partnership with the Police and the Medaille Trust explored how churches, faith groups and others can work with the Police to fight a crime that is hidden in plain sight and safeguard vulnerable victims.   The day was an awareness training event for everybody concerned about human trafficking.  It’s sole aim was to get as many people as possible aware of the issues, the work that is going on, and to contribute by spotting the signs to look out for.

The programme included four key speakers from the Church, the Police and charities engaged in combating trafficking and modern day slavery, and two workshops exploring in more detail the issues.  Joe Howson and Brian Gregory led a workshop on local awareness raising using a simulated experience to build empathy and the experience of working in Romania. Anthony Brown and Sam Baxendale talked about raising awareness amongst adults and young people and shared their experiences of what happens when you identify a potential victim of trafficking.

The day concluded with a question and answer panel discussion.

Key speakers and their presentations:

Cecilia Taylor-Camara, talked about the Catholic Church’s mission to engage bishops and law enforcement officers in a global initiative to combat human trafficking and the Bakhita Initiative which is the UK’s response to that call.

Cecilia shared her experience coordinating the Bishops Conference of England and Wales work in combating trafficking and modern day slavery. The Catholic Church has been a world leader in developing effective international networks between countries and their police forces. The Santa Marta Group is an alliance of international police chiefs and bishops from around the world working together with civil society in a process endorsed by Pope Francis , to eradicate human trafficking and modern day slavery. The Pope describes trafficking as “an open wound on the body of contemporary society”. The Santa Marta group is made up of national and international police and law enforcement agencies including UK National Crime Agency, Interpol, Europol, US Homeland Security, the Argentine Federal Police, Ghanaian, Indian, Thai, Australian, Irish and many European Police Forces to look at how they and the Church could work together to help  and combating Human Trafficking.

The Bakhita Initiative was established to provide pastoral care to victims and assist them with re-integration in the host community for safe return. The Bakhita Initiative is the special project of Cardinal Vincent Nicholls and is based at Bakhita House in Westminster where women who have escaped trafficking are cared for. The role of the Church both globally and locally is an example of the role that Faith can play in bringing people together to address a global problem.

Mike Emberson talked about the Medaille Trust and victim support with special reference to the Medaille’s previous work with the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Modern Slavery Partnership and their provision of a dedicated safe house for Cambridge Police. The Medaille Trust is a charity founded by groups of Religious congregations in 2006 to work against the evils of human trafficking congregations in response to the plight of thousands of people who are being trafficked into the UK each year.

The Trust has been a significant provider of support and safe house provision for the victims of human trafficking since then and continues to deliver outstanding care ten years on. There are 10 safe houses and 109 victims of trafficking currently being cared for. The average stay with the Medaille is over 100 days but the government only support financially the first 45 days. The current range of safe house provision offers 7 dedicated women’s houses, 2 male houses and 1 specialist house used by the police. The houses are located across the country with two in Salford Diocese.

Mike shared the realities of victim’s experiences with a graphic illustration of one young woman’s attempt to escape her captors by trying to scratch through a locked door with her bare fingers. He went on to share the experience of working recently with the Isle of White and Hampshire police in a partnership with other statutory and voluntary organisations to combat trafficking and concluded that it was only through partnerships that the trade would be effectively combated.

Hannah Flint talked about her role as Modern Slavery Network Coordinator for Greater Manchester Police.  Hannah shared the current strategies of the Greater Manchester Police to combat trafficking and built a picture of the different ways in which people, were exploited that ranged from sexual exploitation through prostitution to slave labour and domestic servitude.  Hannah is employed by Stop the Traffic which got the contract Hannah’s role and is a movement of activists from all sectors of society who passionately give their time and energy, uniting to build resilient communities.  The heart of the work is to prevent trafficking by equipping people to understand what trafficking is, how it affects them and what they can do about it. They empower individuals to take action to prevent trafficking in their communities. They raise awareness to ensure that vulnerable people are protected against the abusive, harmful and deceptive behaviour of traffickers. The charity also gathers and analyses information on how and where trafficking is taking place. They share this knowledge with the police in order to enable effective prevention of human trafficking and the abuse and harm it causes. The work of the charity is to build community resilience through multi- agency networking and the involvement of ordinary people equipped to spot the signs. A Stop the Traffik app has been produced and there is new campaign Drive for Freedom that will be launched on 6th March .

Sion Hall talked about East Lancashire Police’s Operation Proteus which combines police operations and education/awareness work that accompanies this. Sean focused on the fact that trafficking exists and so does slavery in East Lancashire and that operations had been successful in prosecuting traffickers. The phenomenon of the pop-up brothel was difficult to close as traffickers were very adept at using the internet to advertise and that young women allured into prostitution often did not want to be rescued for fear of retribution. The police had become better at dealing with both perpetrators and victims and the force was currently very active.  His key message is that if it does not feel right it probably is not right and he encouraged delegates to report suspicions to the police no matter how unsubstantiated.

February 3, 2017: St Augustine’s High School

For the second year we delivered a workshop to around 200 Year 8s on their Democracy Day.  This year the focus was entirely on human trafficking, introduced at assembly by Anthony Brown (Medaille Trust) and Steve Burton (St Augustine’s).  As previously, Steve had done an enormous amount of work researching the subject in the context of our UK democracy.  In the next two sessions, students designed posters and did a petition to support the Transparency in Supply Chains Bill which has it second reading in the Commons on 24 March.  The petition got around 500 names and will be presented to Nigel Evans in advance of the hearing.  In the final session a prize was awarded to the group with the best poster.

February 2, 2017: Promoting Caritas in schools

This was an event at the Cathedral Centre, Salford run by Sister Judith Russi, Director of EducareM who designed the Caritas in Action Curriculum.  Caritas is actively developing a system that will arrange visits to schools with Caritas representatives representing different Caritas services.  There are 50 schools on the list so far and Anthony and Mary Brown were put on the list for St John Vianney Deanery, focusing on human trafficking as their key area.

January 24, 2017: Update from Sion Hall

We have regular updates from Sion which are helpful in learning about progress on the most recent cases.  These are usually covered by newspaper articles under The Local Situation but Sion is naturally wary of putting information into the public domain that could prejudice the legal process.  This update is a more general overview.

There have been four instances of sexual exploitation in Blackburn and Burnley in the last 12 months, and a number of instances of labour exploitation, but the line between serious exploitation and slavery is a fine one and prosecutions for the crime of human trafficking are still rare.  The recent sexual exploitation cases have all been Eastern European, mostly Romanian with perpetrators also from Eastern Europe.  The websites that men use to access these girls are outside the UK.  They advertise the girls according to postcode, nationality and the services on offer.  From the websites it is easy to see that the girls are moved from town to town, from one pop up brothel to another, never staying too long in one place.

A problem is that as the Police become efficient at dealing with the crime the perpetrators change tactics.  There has been a shifting of emphasis from pop up brothels to outsourcing of the girls.  This happens in hotels where rooms are booked for short periods and the girls moved in.  With the right type of hotel, men can move in and out barely noticed.  In an attempt to combat this new development night porters are being trained to watch out for the signs.

Once arrests have been made and victims rescued there is the major problem that victims are almost always unwilling to testify out of fear and juries find it hard to believe that the victims weren’t willing participants.   Expert witnesses may be an answer in educating both juries and prosecutors on the issues of trauma and bonding.  Victims do not behave as people might expect and are conditioned to endure a great deal without trying to escape.

However the number of victims rescued and safeguarded is increasing.  There have been more prosecutions too, albeit sometimes for lesser offences.  Trafficking operations have also been disrupted.  Sion says they are definitely making progress in fighting the crime and he learns something from every case.

East Lancashire Police are working with their Romanian counterparts and are getting to understand how the traffickers operate.  They work too with the Friendship Foundation which is a Preston based charity supporting trafficking victims in Romania.  It is linked with a Romanian counterpart that provides long term support for trafficked victims via a social enterprise scheme which makes soap for hotels.  The scheme generates income and is self sustaining giving the girls dignity and a living wage.  With safeguarding and after care a key concern, return visits between East Lancashire and the Romanian Police involve the charities as well as the Policing operation

East Lancashire Police also link with Northern Ireland and Europol and a recent helpful development is the introduction of an International Letter of Request which negates the need for Police  to cross borders to arrest perpetrators.  Not only can Police forces abroad arrest perpetrators on UK Police evidence, depending on the crime and the circumstances they can also seize assets.  This development takes Sion to the Hague in February to establish links and work out the modus operandi for these joint operations.

East Lancashire Police have fielded a number of conferences for the NHS and NGOs which are so successful that more are being asked for.  NHS staff are a particularly important target as doctors, nurses,  midwives and health visitors, as well a front line staff, will come into contact with trafficked victims.  Victims will often be accompanied by their trafficker and well informed staff will recognise the  combination of an unlikely couple, one being overprotective of another and where  for one reason or another something appears to be not quite right..

Sion recognises the need for networks and is exploring the idea of a Lancashire NGO network which would take in charities and organisations from the entire Region covering Lancashire, Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Cumbria and Cheshire. He also links with UCLAN on their research programmes advising on what would be useful to the Police in learning how to stop people becoming victims.

In summary, the key to tackling the crime is links and networks – with the public, the statutory authorities, NGOs and with police forces at home and abroad.

January 24, 2017: Casework

It isn’t our policy to get involved in casework but as the trafficking arm of Caritas, also working with refugees,  it is inevitable that people will refer individuals.  Mainly we refer on, but checking out the most appropriate agencies first.   So far there has always been at least one agency involved but in every case that agency has been unaware of what other help is available and in all cases our intervention has been welcomed with open arms.

Today marks a success story of a Vietnamese trafficked woman we have been working with who achieved leave to stay in the UK having appealed against her earlier failed application.  Two people to thank for this success are: Fr Dermot Heakin in Oldham who has given a lot of material and psychological support putting information and advice into action; and Fr Xavier, a Vietnamese refugee priest in Lostock Hall who not only speaks the language but was able to put a convincing case to the tribunal of the dangers awaiting a return to Vietnam.  Fr Xavier travelled to Oldham and Manchester at least three times.

January 20, 2017:  Meeting with Margaret Parsons (retired) Editor, East Lancashire Newspapers

We met with Margaret to discuss details of an article on human trafficking in the region for publication later in the year.  Margaret maintains a good relationship with East Lancashire Newspapers and suggests that we submit articles for publication on a regular basis.  Even with all the current publicity and TV programmes on human trafficking there is a marked lack of awareness on the reality of modern day slavery, amongst the general public and Margaret feels that it is a subject that people need to be constantly reminded of.

December 9, 2016: Modern Slavery Response NGO Forum

 This was a very useful two hour forum organised and fronted by Hannah Flint, Modern Slavery Network Coordinator for Greater Manchester Police.

The speakers were excellent and covered a lot of well articulated ground in a short  period and there was good opportunity for networking.  In the limited time available we exchanged information and personal details with the Red Cross, City Hearts, the African Churches Project, City Hearts, Parasol and the Freedom Foundation.

Below is a very brief summary of the speakers most relevant to us.

 Chris Geneux, Greater Manchester Police

Chris gave us a lot of figures indicating huge increases in the number of reports, crimes and rescues in GMP since the Modern Slavery Unit was set up.  Strong partnerships are a key ingredient to an effective modern slavery response.  There is a lot of detail in the PowerPoint slides (let me know if you want them) but the things that struck me most were:

  • Increase in the number of children identified
  • Increase in cannabis factories which appear to be part of Vietnamese organised crime
  • Increase in domestic servitude instances
  • Intelligence remains the biggest source of reports but there are also lots of referrals from agencies

This does not of mean  that trafficking is increasing, rather that the Modern Slavery Unit is achieving success

Tatiana Jardan, Partnerships Officer for Kevin Hyland

Tatiana reported on the Anti-Slavery Commissioner Annual Report 2015–2016 report  https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/559571/IASC_Annual_Report_WebReadyFinal.pdf

Some points:

  • Concern that the Border Force is not identifying enough trafficking victims which is something Kevin Hyland’s office is looking at
  • Identification of potential victims is increasing by 30-40% per year
  • Concerns about destitution after the 45 safe house period which is a part of a bigger picture of destitution following benefits sanctions that are occurring on a vast scale.
  • Frank Field has shared his concerns with his Work and Pensions Select Committee. There is a Victims of Modern Slavery Enquiry and the proposal for a concession on benefits for a limited period after victims leave a safe house.
  • Concerns about the National Referral Mechanism which will be receiving attention as it is not working as it should.
  • Need for information on the Modern Slavery Networks to highlight effective practice..

      Jusine Currell CEO Unseen New national Modern Slavery Helpline

The Unseen UK Modern Slavery Helpline and Resource Centre http://www.unseenuk.org/about/projects/Helpline-&-Resource-Centre has been running since October.  It is an enhanced version of the Home Office version which ran from July 2015 until Unseen took over.  In the first seven weeks there have been 350 calls of which 50% were from victims or people directly in touch with victims.

Jusine  cited two individuals in particular:

Charles Kwaku-Odoi,  Awareness raising in African Churches project.

Charles told us about his work in raising awareness amongst African congregations in twelve African churches.  I spoke to Charles afterwards about our prayer card exercise.

Phillip Clayton, City Hearts

City Hearts provide a wide range of short term specialist support, helping trafficking victims begin the journey of overcoming their trauma and providing them with a safe place to decide their next steps.

We were particularly interested in identifying unmet needs of trafficking victims.  Asked the question, Phillip responded with:

  • Counselling
  • Legal advice
  • Rights to benefits (and accommodation)

This is a particularly important area for us to explore given Bishop John’s offer of a provision for victims if a suitable premises can be found in Salford Diocese.  We exchanged details so we could meet up and discuss further.

Tom Griffiths, Parasol

Tom spoke about the a Parasol research initiative https://www.manchestercommunitycentral.org/news/parasol-research-initiative-domestic-violence-labour-exploitation-and-impact-criminal-or  that is investigating the challenges facing young European nationals in Greater Manchester who are aged 13 -25 years and are at risk of serious exploitation, discrimination or abuse.

There are 3 main areas for the research:

  • Domestic Abuse and Violence
  • Labour Exploitation and Discrimination (including Gang-Masters)
  • Impact of Criminal and other exploitative networks – including trafficking and modern slavery, drugs and sex trades

There could be a link here with our aspirations to provide something in Salford that aims to meet unmet or under-resourced victim needs.  We were also interested in Tom’s observations on language difficulties which  links with the Caritas initiative to train staff and volunteers to teach basic English to the homeless and those in greatest  need.  .

Brian Gregory, The Friendship Foundation

The Friendship Foundation http://www.thefriendshipfoundation.co.uk/  works with a partner in Romania in the fight against human trafficking.  Brian Gregory spoke of a visit to Romania with Sion Hall and East Lancashire Police earlier this year and a return visit from them to the UK in October.  This is a particularly interesting for us with East Lancashire Police, and Lancashire Constabulary generally, focusing on Romanian organised crime operating between Romania and the UK.  The Romanian/East Lancashire Police link is paying dividends in intelligence gathering and the ability to monitor the movements of the Romanian traffickers.

December 6 2016: St Cecilia’s High School, Longridge

Meeting with Gabi Warrilow, School Chaplain, following the talk to Year 11s and to take more Mama Margaret’s stock to sell at two local Christmas Fairs

 

December 3 and 4 2016:  St Mary’s Langho

Talks after the gospel at the two masses about the local situation and the work of the Medailllle Trust.

After Mass on Sunday we had a stall of Mama Margaret’s wares in the hall over tea and biscuits.

November 30 2016: Hope for Justice Meeting, Cathedral Centre, Salford

We met Gordon Laing and Martyn Hawley of Hope for Justice.  These two ex Police Officers work to rescue victims of human trafficking.  From the Hope for Justice website: Our specialist investigators work closely with law enforcement to identify victims of trafficking and modern slavery, build bridges of trust with them and remove them from situations of exploitation.

Gordon and Mark were involved in the Dewsbury bed factory case http://www.batleynews.co.uk/news/batley-man-jailed-for-human-trafficking-at-dewsbury-bed-factory-1-7730343

It was a very interesting meeting aimed at networking and working together to raise awareness.  Hope for Justice work with West Yorkshire Police and were responsible for the education and awareness training of Sion’s team in East Lancashire.

November  30 2016: Sister Bridie of the Daughters of Charity, St Vincent de Paul

Sister Bridie gave us a brief update on her work with the Medaille Trust, teaching basic English to victims of human trafficking in a Medaille Safe House.

November 28 2016: Caritas Engagement Training, Cathedral Centre, Salford

 This meeting was to engage Caritas charities in speaking about their work in Diocesan schools.  Sister Judith Russi, Director of EducareM was responsible for the Caritas in Action Curriculum and the Caritas Ambassadors Handbook and she spoke passionately about the need for much greater awareness of, and commitment to, Catholic Social Teaching in parishes and schools.  She said that the work had to start in primary schools; it was already too late in secondaries.  One of the roles of the Caritas Ambassadors is to make a stronger link between schools and parishes and strive to make Catholic Social Teaching a way of life and a strengthening of faith.  The Caritas Anti-Trafficking Network committed itself to one or two talks per term in secondary schools, our focus human trafficking and how it links with Laudato Si as an extreme example of the impact of western indifference to exploitation and suffering.

 November 27 2016: Service of Light, St Mary’s Church,  Sabden

The Medaille Trust has as its strapline A light shining in a dark place of human trafficking and we tried to tackle this difficult subject to include primary school children with some prayers adapted by Katie Wiggin for St Michael and St John’s Primary School earlier in the year for Year of Mercy:

  • Dear God, pray for the men, women and children who work in countries that do have laws to protect their workers. Pray for all of the people who work in the clothing trade that if they see people being treated unfairly that they have the courage to speak out and help those who have no voice.
  • Dear Lord, pray for all the families in countries such as India where by so many people are trapped in a life of slavery working in places like the rice mills and brick factories and can see no way out. Pray that they are rescued and set free from the jobs that they are trapped in.
  • Dear Lord, thank you for all of the hard work that people around the world are doing to help people that are trapped in slavery.  We ask Jesus to help give them the strength that they need to continue with the difficult work that they are doing.
  • Dear Lord, we play for all of the families across the world that are searching for their lost children. We pray that they are found and returned safely to their families.
  • Dear Lord, we pray for all of the children that are forced to work in the coco fields. We pray that the owners of the cocoa fields make the changes that are needed to protect children and keep them safe.
  • Dear Lord, we pray for Meena who lives in Nepal as she continues to heal from after being rescued from being a house slave. We play that through Jesus she can feel safe knowing that she has somebody on her side that she can always talk to when she is scared.
  • Dear Lord, we pray for all those people that are involved in slavery that they receive God’s help and are able to see that what they are doing is wrong and that it is never too late to led God enter into your life and do the right thing.
  • Dear Lord, we pray for us all, that we with your help have the courage and strength to stand up for what we know is right and live our lives knowing that we are doing all we can to help those in need and that through your help we can encourage others to stand up for what is right and just.

Modern Day Slavery and Human Trafficking feature in Laudato Si as one of the worst outcomes of not caring for our world and the whole of humanity, so it was fitting to follow through on behalf of CAFOD with a short animated video on Laudato Si and some simple reflections:

  • I believe in God and in nature as an inheritance which humanity has in common.
  • I enjoy the smell of the earth and the caress of the sun, the wind and the rain. I enjoy the song of the birds and the murmur of the breeze that rustles the trees.
  • I like contemplating the crops, listening to the sigh of the corn fields, seeing the surge of the rice fields and waiting for the smell of ripe fruit.
  • I believe in all God’s creatures, large and small.

November 26 and 27 2016: St Peter’s Church Stonyhurst and St Joseph’s Mary’s Hurst Green

Talks after the gospel at one Saturday night and two Sunday masses, and spoke about the local situation and the work of the Medailllle Trust. After each Mass we sold Mama Margaret’s goods

 November 26 2016: St Joseph’s Fair, Hurst Green

 Medaille stall at the fair, exhibiting Medaille and Caritas information and selling Mama Margaret’s wares.

 November 23 2016: Social Action Networking Meeting, Cathedral Center, Salford

 The Focus of this meeting was Laudato Si, led with great passion and eloquence by Fr Eamonn Mulachy, a Spiritan and Parish Priest at Ancoats, Manchester.  We were there to hear more about Laudato Si, because human trafficking features in Laudato Si, and to network with the many other charities with which we share common ground, particularly those that work with the homeless and refugees and asylum seekers.

November 23 2016: Update with Bishop John on a Diocesan safe house

The Social Action Networking Meeting was also an opportunity to speak with Bishop John who reinforced his wish to provide a premises for a safe house in the Diocese for victims of human trafficking.  We updated him on our plans to research the unmet needs of victims of those for whom 45 days safe house provision is not enough and for whom destitution often follows.  We aim for a specialist safe house provision, and/or drop in provision, for those for whom there is currently little or nothing on offer.

November 18 2016: Update from Sion Hall on the work of Operation Proteus

Sion updated us on the visit of the Romanian delegation which had been a huge success sharing practices and gaining a wider understanding.  The Friendship Foundation newsletter for November 16 http://www.thefriendshipfoundation.co.uk/pdf/Friendship_Foundation_Nov_2016.pdf

Gives a good summary in their article: Delegation from Arad Involved in International Campaign against Human Trafficking.

Sion updated us on a couple of cases reported on earlier:

Regardless of sentencing, these cases can be regarded as successes as the victims have been rescued and the trafficking operation disrupted.

Work is currently going on in connection with a much bigger operation with the Metropolitan Police though no arrests yet.  Additionally there are other individuals being pursued via Europol.  A problem locally is the difficulty of getting evidence as the traffickers are moving from pop up brothels to outcalls.

In addition to investigative work, Sion’s team have been delivering awareness to more organisations and charities.

November 14 2016: Talk to year 11s at St Cecilia’s High School, Longridge

We gave a Medaille PowerPoint talk to 80 year 11s at St Cecilia’s High School,   The talk focused mainly on the local situation and the work of the Medaille Trust, using newspaper cuttings and video material from the Medaille, Home Office/Unchosen and elsewhere.

November 11 2016: Leaflet and prayer card exercise, St John Vianney Deanery

Following a letter of support from Bishop John we met with Fr Peter Hopkinson, Dean of St John Vianney Deanery in the Diocese of Salford.  St John Vianney Deanery is the second Diocesan deanery to launch the Spot it Stop it prayer card and leaflet initiative which will take place on February 12 2017.  Prayer cards will go to each parishioner in 27 churches and chapels with leaflets available for those who want more detail.  Fr Peter made trafficking his main agenda item for the Deanery meeting the following Tuesday.

October 28 2016: Distribution of prayer cards and leaflets to the Christian churches in Clitheroe 

At a Clergy Fraternal meeting in September Nigel Rix, Chairman of Clitheroe Christians in Partnership (CCP), addressed the ministers of the Christian Churches and discussed the distribution of prayer cards and leaflets on human trafficking.   It was agreed that each church would do this in their own way during October, preferably with a prayer card being handed to each member of the congregation.  Nigel mentioned that we had drafted an explanatory text for inclusion in a newsletter or service sheet:

HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND MODERN DAY SLAVERY

A recent estimate for the number of slaves worldwide is 40 million.  For the UK the figure is  between 10 and 15,000 though Andrew Wallis, the founder  of Unseen speaking recently on television, said that you could probably multiply this by  factor of 5 or 10.   In East Lancashire there are dozens and perhaps hundreds of men and women, victims of human trafficking, and held in slavery for the purpose of enforced labour, domestic servitude, forced criminality and prostitution.  This is a crime that is happening in plain sight.  Each and every one of us has a responsibility to be aware of, and to be alert to, the signs that indicate that something is badly wrong. 

In  June 2014 Pope Francis and the Archbishop of Canterbury committed their churches to work more closely together to fight “the grave evil” of human trafficking and modern day slavery.

The Church of England has set up a network of champions to work alongside police forces and statutory and non statutory agencies to support victims of trafficking.  The Salvation Army is actively supporting anti-trafficking initiatives.  We are also inspired by the good work of the Salvation Army caring for the victims of trafficking as well as their key role in the Christian call for prayer and action.

The Catholic UK Bakhita Initiative based in Westminster aims to make awareness-raising available to law enforcement agencies, local authority professionals, frontline volunteers in the parishes, teachers and schoolchildren. 

The UK Catholic and Anglican initiatives are top down approaches but in East Lancashire we have developed a bottom up approach.    The East Lancashire based Caritas Anti-Trafficking Network is an informal affiliation of concerned Christian, Faith and non-Faith individuals with the same aim as the Bakhita Initiative and the Anglican church champions but working at grass roots level.   We work closely with East Lancashire Police and follow their guidance on how to raise awareness of the problem with adults and in schools. 

In July this year, part funded by Lancashire Constabulary, our Network launched a poster, leaflet and prayer card initiative throughout the Catholic Deanery of St John Southworth which covers much of East Lancashire.  28 Catholic churches received enough prayer cards for every parishioner along with a poster and a number of leaflets.

We are repeating this exercise for all the Christian Churches in Clitheroe.  You will be given a prayer card at church.   The prayer cards will help you to engage with the victims of human trafficking and also with those who are fighting to rescue and safeguard them.  The reverse of the prayer card has the basic signs of human trafficking that we can all be alert to for but for a more detailed list of signs, please also take a leaflet.

The prayer card for the Christian churches other than Roman Catholic are a little different with a cross rather than a picture of Our Lady

cross

 

Nigel Rix helpfully estimated the number of prayer cards and leaflets needed and also agreed that CCP pay for the necessary number of leaflet holders.   All the materials were distributed to St Mary’s (Anglican Parish Church), St Paul’s (Church of England), St James (Church of England), Trinity Methodist Church, United Reform, Clitheroe Community Church and the Salvation Army.   The representatives of these churches welcome the initiative enthusiastically and it was good to spend a little time with them talking about the issue and how it relates to the wider mission of the churches and the need to see our kinship with the whole of humanity.  The Salvation Army do a great deal to combat human trafficking and have the government contract for safe houses, subcontracted to 12 other charities of which the Medaille Trust has the most safe houses.   In Clitheroe the Salvation Army postponed their Anti-Slavery Sunday in order to accommodate the prayer card and leaflet exercise.

 

October 19 2016: Lee House Mobile Trafficking Exhibition: Recording the Audio Tracks

The third audio story was recorded on October 7 at the Future Sound Studio, Longridge. It was fascinating to watch the recording taking place.  The actor from Poland had a strong East European accent which was essential for the sexual exploitation story she was telling.  Although the story is no more than perhaps 3 or 4 minutes long, the recording took nearly two hours, performed sentence by sentence repeatedly, Mark Rotherham, the editor and recording technician, seeking small adjustments to tone and emphasis until just right.

With this recording completed we had the three stories – domestic servitude, enforced labour and sexual exploitation.  The excellent scripts by the team at Lee House are based on real life stories.

The police interview – again scripted by the team and cleared by East Lancashire Police – took place on 19 October, so we now have all the audio material for the exhibition.  All that remains is editing and finalising and the exhibition will be ready to go.

The plan is wherever possible to use the Refugee and Trafficking exhibitions together.  The design is such that with the removal of a few panels and a change of sound track the changeover can be made very quickly.

2-img_20161007_1358598621-4-img_20161007_140307350_burst000_cover

October 18 2016: Lancashire Modern Slavery Conference

The conference, attended by more than 130 people, and part of Lancashire Constabulary’s Week of Action was aimed at front  line workers from different organisations across the county, to help them understand the topic, to recognise the signs and better understand the role they can play in tackling modern slavery.

img_20161018_101237237

Shortly before the conference started

img_20161018_112654495

Tony Atkins talks about the work of East Lancashire Police

img_20161018_143014404

From left to right: Adina Schwartz, Mark Vaughton, Helen Gordos, Tony Atkins, Sion Hall

We heard a great deal about all aspects of the topic locally, nationally and internationally but the things which came across most strongly were:

  • What Sion Hall has achieved in less than two years is quite remarkable.  Starting with a two hour discussion on a train returning from a conference in Europe, he and his Detective Inspector Mark Vaughton scribbled a rough plan for Operation Proteus, launched that February to tackle human trafficking.  Sion now has a team of eight which must be unique in the UK for a Police Division the size of East Lancashire.  With this team, and liaising with Mersyside, Belfast and Romania,  East Lancashire Police have increased rescues and arrests to the extent that it is impacting on the traffickers who are starting to move out of the area.
  • Although a significant amount of this success is due simply to surveillance and manpower, public intelligence has contributed to that success and it is public intelligence that the Police need most of all.  Following a tweet about a young girl being held there was a 9.00am briefing followed swiftly by a raid which led to the rescue of the girl and three arrests.  But in general the public aren’t coming forward and without the public the biggest and most effective partnership cannot work. People are unaware that their cheap car washes and takeaways are actually at the expense of victims of human trafficking.
  • Although sex trafficking has been the focus for much of the work of Operation Proteus, Weeks of Action targeting car washes, nail bars, industrial premises and elsewhere have also led to significant human trafficking arrests.  This kind of criminal activity goes unnoticed.  It is in car washes, nail bars, building sites, takeaways, fisheries, industrial sites, factories, warehouses, agricultural sites and caravan sites.
  • The words of Helen Gordos: “If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t”

The conference was held at the Mercure Dunkenhalgh Hotel in Blackburn, to coincide with national Anti-Slavery Day on Tuesday 18 October.   It was opened by the Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw.
In the morning those attending heard from Detective Inspector  Mark Vaughton and Detective Sergeant Tony Atkins about the issues facing Lancashire and some recent case studies.

During the afternoon guest speaker, Helen Gordos, from the National Crime Agency’s Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Unit addressed the attendees and spoke about the national approach and action being taken.  Then, Adina Schwartz spoke on behalf of the Romanian contingent who are over here to cement their relationship with Lancashire Police with whom they are working together to tackle organised crime based in Romania with tentacles over Europe and specifically in East Lancashire.

A final thought from the floor, reinforced by Sion, was that although news and features on human trafficking are everywhere in the media people still maintain that they are unaware of it.  It is the responsibility of those attending the conference, and everybody else, to be alert to media reports, and become aware of what is happening around them.

In the event of seeing something that “doesn’t feel right” ‘phone the Police on 101, the Modern Slavery Helpline on 0800 121 700 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111

October 9 2016: Appeals for Medaille at Chipping, Longridge and Ribchester

The appeals were again extremely well received.

October 8 2016: An appeal for Medaille at Longridge

The appeal was extremely well received

October 7 2016: Justice and Peace Day and the Church 0f the Holy Cross, Bury

img_20161008_105243933
A great partnership – Richard Owens on the Medaille stall and Mary Brown on Caritas Anti-Trafficking

img_20161008_105341036
Richard Owens with a fine set of Mama Margaret products
 img_20161008_111020504
Left to Right: Fr Chris Gorton, Mark Wiggin, Suzy Brouard
Chaired by Mark Wiggin, CEO, Caritas Salford we had excellent uplifting presentations from Suzy Brouard (CAFOD) on Journeys to Justice, and Fr Chris Gorton on Missionary Parishes with workshops (including human trafficking led by Richard Owens) in the afternoon.  .

October 7 2016: Lee House Good Friday Mass

We attended the Lee House Good Friday evening Mass which was wonderful uplifting experience and a good opportunity to pray and raise awareness of the issues via a talk on human trafficking at the time of the homily, words from Fr Chinnery, bidding prayers and a reminder about the leaflets and prayer cards and Medaille magazines.

Sitting in this  place of safety and  beauty it is highly unlikely that any one of us  will ever experience the kind of extreme poverty that  millions of people live with every day  and which is fundamental to modern day slavery. We pray that we here  may be filled with Your  holy anger and  sacred passion  to make things better.   Lord hear us

 We pray that agencies and governments will be open to  wisdom and compassion and will work together to provide the resources to   bring healing and joyful hope to  the victims.   Lord hear us.

We pray that those involved in slavery will come to repentance and  conversion and that all of us might live in such a way that others are not made to pay the price for our comfort and convenience. Lord hear us.

After Mass we enjoyed coffee and a chat with Fr Chinnery and his parishioners in Lee House, courtesy of Joe and Rosalba Howson

 

September 2016:  We find human trafficking wherever we go

 During late August and September we spent three weeks in and around the twin cities of Minneapolis-St Paul and during that time we met a young woman working with the homeless who came across trafficked people in her job.  We learnt that human trafficking is a big issue in Minneapolis-St Paul with a particular problem with young girls,.  We made contact with a Sam Kelly, a Youth Minister at St Catherine’s in St Paul, who told us about the sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet who have a mission to help girls who have been or are being trafficked.  It was one of their main concerns and we agreed to liaise with them and send them the files for our prayer card and leaflet initiative.

A few weeks later we we learned that the Minneapolis Police had busted a global sex ring which stretched from Thailand to the twin cities.  17 had been charged http://www.startribune.com/feds-to-announce-bust-of-global-sex-ring/395996911/

August 12 and 18 2016: Lee House Mobile Trafficking Exhibition, the Police Interview

 Joe Howson and Anthony Brown made two visits to Burnley Police Station and were shown around by PC Tom Sandford of Sion Hall’s team.  Tom is employed on education and awareness training within the Police Force and with agencies and NGOs that may come into contact with trafficked persons.  It was good to meet some of Sion’s team and learn about the operation first hand and also see some of the innermost recesses of the Police Station.  We watched a video of a team of police officers cutting their way into a cannabis factory.  It probably  took around 15 minutes to cut through the steel shutters and gain access by which time two Vietnamese young men were ripping off the roof tiles and trying to escape.  They were caught and convicted.  This incident only a few years ago is a cause of some concern and regret for the police officers concerned.  Today they would have been identified as victims of human trafficking rather than criminals but it is only in the last 12 months or so that  East Lancashire Police have been educating the entire force to understand trafficking and be alert to the signs.  Other UK police forces probably still have a lot to learn.
The main purpose of our visits however was to agree the finishing touches to the script of the Lee House Mobile Trafficking Exhibition and to see the kind of situation where trafficking victims would be interviewed.  We were told very clearly that great care needs to be taken with  vulnerable trafficking victims.  Police interviewers receive special training and the interview room we saw was in a quite different premises – a comfortable lounge type room with a discreet camera and nothing to give the impression of anything associated with the criminal justice system.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Based on what we learned Joe was able to finalise his script of a victim being interviewed by the Police in a very non-threatening manner.  He was also able to model the exhibition interview room realistically.
All that is needed now is record the scripts for the three stories that the exhibition will feature – domestic servitude, enforced labour and sexual exploitation.

 

July 15-17 2016: Justice and Peace Conference at Swanage, Derbyshire

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

July 13 2016: Clitheroe Christians in Partnership (CCP)

We updated the meeting on the prayer card and leaflet launch and discussed its application throughout the Christian community in Clitheroe

July 10 2016: St John Southworth Deanery, prayer card launch

Poster

our_lady

cross

 

leaflet

 

We chose last Sunday, July 10, which for Catholics featured the gospel of the Good Samaritan, to launch our prayer card and leaflet initiative .   The St John Southworth Deanery in the Catholic Diocese of Salford adopted human trafficking as its social justice activity for this Year of Mercy and the prayer cards and leaflets are part of that.  Their aim is to alert people to what they  can do by way of prayer and knowing the signs to look our for in a trafficked victim.

Bishop John Arnold has said recently that there is probably a trafficked person in every parish in the Diocese and Fr Kevin during his homily said he had been at a wedding in Ribchester recently and came across Police there investigating a trafficking incident.  In the event it turned out to be a false alarm but that fact that it happened at all is unsurprising given Sion Hall’s larger dedicated team with a strong networking and awareness raising arm as well as increased staffing for intelligence gathering and surveillance.  The leaflets and prayer cards are part Lancashire Constabulary and part Caritas Salford funded.  With every Catholic parishioner in the Deanery having a prayer card, with the signs of trafficking to look for on the reverse, there are more eyes and ears working to end this evil trade.

Every church in the Deanery – 28 churches in all – received the materials and were asked to:

  • Display a poster in church
  • Give out prayer cards to all parishioners
  • Make the leaflets available at the back of the church for those who like to know more

Our Fr Kevin also drafted a homily which priests could use if they wished.

The launch went extremely well in our Parish of Our Lady of the Valley with strong words and a strong push from Fr John and Fr Kevin.  Everybody look a prayer card, or it certainly seemed that way.  We will learn later what happened elsewhere but we can be sure that several thousand people now have a card with at least the basic signs to look out for. This has to be a boost for potential Police intelligence.

Clink on the link for Fr Kevin’s homily

Homily on human trafficking and the Good Samaritan

July 7 2016: Sion Hall’s update on the work of East Lancashire Police

We met with Sion recently who gave us an update on the work of his team.  Arrests and rescues have significantly increased in recent months with perhaps two main reasons:

  • Sion has increased the size of his dedicated team which includes two officers for networking, plus education and awareness training both within the force and out.  There is no doubt that employing officers in this way increases the intelligence that is so vital to Police operations.
  • Sion has recently visited Romania as part of collaboration and joint working in hunting down the Romanian gangs that are active in East Lancashire.  You may remember that a little while ago he was in Northern Ireland for the same reason.   The traffickers work across Europe, moving victims from country to country and links with other Police forces provide vital information on how they work.

For a full update click on the link East Lancashire Police update, July 2016

June 21 2016: Lee house Refugee Eshibition Launch at St. Cecilias RC High School Longridge

This was the launch of Joe Howson’s Mobile Refugee Exhibition which is a walk through of eight rooms and the story of a refugee.  The resource will be used in schools and elsewhere.  A partner exhibition on human trafficking is under development.  A video of the Mobile Refugee Exhibition whilst under development can be seen by clicking on the picture

 

2016-07-07_1021

June 21 2016: Women’s Institute, Pendleton Village Hall

June 6 2016: Blackburn Soroptimists

June 3 2016: Baptists Church, Sabden

Poster

These three presentations followed the same format with two short films followed by a talk and discussion on the local situation focusing on sexual exploitation.

The films were:

The Medaille Trust which features Charlotte Kirkwood of the Medaille Trust and a trafficked woman speaking on the Medaille Trust Education Pack resource disk.

Let’s Talk about Sex a free resource from Unchosen available at http://www.unchosen.org.uk/take-action/films-against-slavery-series/

 

18 May 2016

Presentation: Asylum Support Multi-Agency Forum (ASMAF)

We attended their Forum meeting on 18 May and presented on the work of the Medaille Trust and the local situation.  .

30 April 2016

Human Trafficking Workshop: Tabor Carmelite Retreat House, Preston

We had a good group of 18 people at Tabor on 30 April and there was plenty of discussion and questions (programme attached).   The four films from Unchosen worked well, covering Enforced Labour, Domestic Servitude, Cannabis Factories and Sexual Exploitation.  We followed through with newspaper and Police reports on local instances under the four headings above.

This was a particularly attentive and concerned group and a rewarding experience for us.

People want to know what they can do but fear  hearing something that  sounds like a commitment.  This is what we said:

  • Make yourself aware by being alert to the media
  • Think about the signs in the leaflet [not yet published; we used the draft version]
  • Pray and reflect
  • Talk about it to your friends and acquaintances
  • Get informed – join our Anti-Trafficking Network
  • Receive a free copy of the Medaille magazine [give us your address and we will have them posted to you]
  • Post information on Facebook
  • See something  Say something [it was St Augustine’s pupils who came up with this one on one of their anti-trafficking posters]

18 April 2016

Anawim Centre, Birmingham

We visited the Anawim Centre which was founded 30 years ago in 1986 by two sisters who felt that the local streetworkers needed support and protection. Since then the service has expanded to support other vulnerable women to the extent that in one year Anawim supports over 750 women.

13 April 2016

Clitheroe Christians in Partnership

A brief presentation at Clitheroe Christians in Partnership on the poster, leaflets and prayer cards that we are having printed, mainly for the Catholic churches in our St John Southworth Deanery, Diocese of Salford, but also for local churches of other denominations.

9 April 2016

Anti-Human Trafficking Workshop, Westminster

On Saturday 9 April I was privileged to speak at the Anti-Human Trafficking Workshop held by Caritas Bakhita House and the Medaille Trust at the Holy Apostles Church Hall in Westminster.

Some key points and thoughts:

  • The Medaile Trust and Bakhita House provide victim support via safe houses and a range of interventions to aid recovery and integration.  A double act by Di Killian (Medaille) and Karen Anstiss (Bakhita) emphasised the difference between the two operations and the importance of networking so that each could support and learn from the other
  • The Medaille Trust is an independent Catholic Charity founded in 2006; Bakhita House is part of the Caritas Westminster Bakhita Initiative founded in 2014.
  • The Bakhita Initiative is the UK’s response to an international collaboration of Catholic Bishops and law enforcement agencies (currently 36) and covers, awareness raising down to parish level, a research centre,  and a safe house (Bakhita House)
  • The importance of public awareness, understanding the signs, and public commitment to reporting anything suspicious cannot be overstated.
  • There are many organisations and bodies contributing in some way to the fight against human trafficking and coordinating these activities is vital.
  • The National Network Coordinators’ Forum embraces sixteen networks and partnerships which meet regularly.    Jess Gealer of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Modern Slavery Partnership, funded by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hampshire, gave us figures evidencing success in just a few months.  From June to December 2015, the number of intelligence logs had increased from 9 to 186, the number of premises visited had increased from 5 to 61 and the number of victims rescued had increased from 0 to 7.
  • DS Phil Rashidi gave an example of how the Metropolitan Police were able to bust a trafficking ring starting with only one tiny piece of information – the victim had arrived at Victoria Station from Czechoslovakia on a particular date.  As well as detailing how Police surveillance was used effectively, this example emphasised how important small pieces of information can be, and hence the vital nature of public intelligence.

In presenting the work of our Parish I summarised what it is possible to achieve at local level via networking and the ideas and efforts of many people.  Although we are fortunate in having supportive priests (and a supportive Bishop) we also have people that link us with the wider Christian and non-Christian communities, the Police, schools, Caritas Salford and the local press.    That isn’t by any means all and in total I named sixteen people within our network who had made a significant contribution.  I won’t name them here because the total list of contributors is much bigger and I wouldn’t want anyone to think their contribution wasn’t recognised.

It seems we are seen by some as being a model parish in the fight against human trafficking and I was at pains to put that fight in the context of Pope Francis’ works and our aspirations to become a missionary and evangelising parish.  Talking to people it seems that we are ahead on that too!

The full programme is below:

10:00-10:15 Opening remarks John Coleby, Director of Caritas Westminster

10:15-10:30 What is trafficking and modern slavery? Charlotte Kirkwood, Medaille Trust

10:30-11:45 How do I spot it? Jess Gealer, Hampshire and Isle of Wight MSP

11:45-12:00 What to do Charlotte Kirkwood, Medaille Trust

12:00-12:45 What can my parish do? Anthony Brown, Our Lady of the Valley, Ribble Valley

12:45-13:45 Lunch

13:45-14:45 What happens when we see it – investigation DS Phil Rashidi, Metropolitan Police Service

14:45-15:45 What happens when we see it  – victim support Di Killian, Medaille Trust/Karen Anstiss, Caritas Bakhita House

15:45-16:00 Closing remarks  Caritas Westminster

 

Anthony Brown

8 April 2016

Meeting with Cecilia Camara Taylor at the CBCEW, Tavistock Square

Cecilia is Senior Policy Advisor at Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.  We met her for an update on the Bakhita Initiative and to update her on our parish work which aims to be a bottom up approach to the Bakhita Initiative.  Bishop John Arnold had suggested to us that we might use the Bakhita name for a Salford Diocesan safe house.  However it became clear that Bakhita House in Westminster is funded and run very differently to the Medaille safe houses and any other safe houses under the Government funded Salvation Army contract.  We would be unable to emulate Bakhita House and Westminster felt the branding would be confusing.

Bakhita House in Westminster has been running since June 2015 and without the 45 day limit which normally applies elsewhere, and with extra resources for more specialist help, it has had a very successful first year of operation.

One aspect of the Bakhita Initiative is to provide specialist training and make awareness raising available internationally and in the UK to law enforcement agencies, local authority professionals, frontline volunteers in the parishes, teachers and schoolchildren.  To do this, 15 or so diocesan representatives have been trained to do this awareness raising.

Cecilia informed us that Cardinal Vincent Nichols was with the Santa Mara Group at the UN in New York on 7 April.

26 February 2016

 Corpus Christi High School, Preston

We contributed to an Extended Learning Day for Year 9s to raise awareness on human trafficking and modern day slavery and the work of the Medaille Trust.  The lessons were based on the Medaille Education Pack with activities forming the base for competitions to produce the best examples in Art, Drama, Music and History.

 The day started with a presentation to the full year of around 115 pupils using the Medaille Education Pack video which features Charlotte Kirkwood,  Deputy Chief Executive, speaking about the work of the Medaille Trust.  The video includes a woman rescued from enforced prostitution talking about her experience and the support she subsequently received from Medaille.
The four Year 9 classes then had one hour sessions in each of four subjects – Art, Drama, Music and History. The lesson plans broadly followed the Medaille Education Pack  format of introductory material followed by activities in small groups.  The activities were:
  • Art – an artwork in the basic style of one of two contemporary artists
  • Drama – a short drama to be used as an advert to raise awareness
  • Music – a rap song with two verses each of four lines, each line having between 8 and 12 syllables
  • History – an appeal to an MP
The best offerings from each class were then presented to the full group and the winner declared.
The day finished with a presentation summing up the day and the main issues and a prayer.
We felt the day was enormously successful.  The teachers had put in a lot of effort in planning their sessions and the pupils were enthusiastic and committed.  Teachers confessed to being almost totally unaware of the issue, and it’s presence locally,  until they researched the subject for material and resources.  Pupils also were taken by surprise.
Next week there will be an RE session which will bring it all together under the theme of Year of Mercy and the sacrament of Reconciliation.
The model that Corpus Christi developed is a credit to:
  • Roisin Bowes (Head of Year 7, and an active member of our Anti-Trafficking Network) for the initial idea of using the Medaille Education Pack activities for Lenten competitions and her determination in making it happen;
  • Emma Lord (Head of Art and Citizenship, Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education) for taking the lead and designing the format of the day;
  • Victoria Stacey (Head of RE) for bringing it all together under the banner of Catholic Social Teaching
  • and John Griffin (School Chaplain) for his input, support and encouragement.

It is also a credit to all the teachers involved and of course the pupils themselves who learned and achieved so much.

We hope that now that the planning and thinking has been done, other schools might adopt this model using or adapting the Corpus Christi lesson plans and activities.
During the day we took many photographs and teachers agreed to submit their lesson plans and PowerPoints for use elsewhere.  Hopefully we will soon have some pictures to show of the pupils’ exhibits.
Anthony and Mary Brown

20 February 2016

CHRISTIANITY AT WORK: INVESTIGATING MODERN SLAVERY

Detective Chief Inspector Sion Hall is responsible for the East Lancashire Constabulary’s Human Trafficking and Modern day slavery Team. His work brings him into regular contact with the people who traffic and exploit people and also the victims of that trafficking and the modern day slavery that get caught up in this illegal and dark trade. Its hard to believe that this is on our doorstep, but the sixty or so people who came together to the Lenten talk organised by Clitheroe Christians in Partnership at St. Michael and St. John’s Parish Hall were left in no doubt that modern day slavery is not the fictions of the movies that happens in other countries but is a fact of life here in East Lancashire.

Speaking about ‘Faith in the Workplace’ Sion Hall first gave a small but moving example of how in his everyday job as a police officer he will come across people who sadly have died alone.  Saying a prayer over people he finds who have died alone is just one way he puts his faith into the workplace and helps as he says to ‘Keep my faith as an integral part of my work’.

Globally we are in the middle of the greatest human migration since the Second World War. There are hundreds of thousands of people on the move but every one of these is an individual and we must not forget this. With the current migration crisis there are huge opportunities for people to be trafficked and exploited and taken into modern day slavery.

There are many forms of modern day slavery and trafficking. The common denominator is that it involves oppression and exploitation of a victim – even if the victim does not see themselves as a victim or as a person being exploited. Trafficking involves the recruitment and transportation of people who are exploited and vulnerable and many are forced into prostitution and sexual exploitation. Another form of exploitation is forced labour that can be both legal and illegal. Domestic servitude as a form of slave labour is difficult to prove and some people in some cultures see it almost as acceptable. Other forms of exploitation even include the removal of body organs to sell onto the medical black market though this is a trade mainly in poor and developing countries but as Sion says, ‘Do we know enough to be totally confident that this is not happening here?’

There are many genuine migrants who will work for little or no money in return for board and lodgings simply to better their lives. In East Lancashire there is cheap housing, unskilled work opportunities in low wage industries such as slaughter houses and   meat packing. Many migrants who come into East Lancashire are genuine job seekers but some are vulnerable to unscrupulous people who are skilled at exploiting and controlling them. Methods for controlling victims include holding their passports or travel documents or holding people to their debts in their country of origin. With no travel documents and a fear of authority and with no family network to fall back on, people can easily be controlled to the point that that they have no free will to do anything but what they are told. They ‘freely’ enter into servitude or exploitation and the exploiters have no need for restraints as victims are easily brainwashed into doing what they are told.

Exploiting people, especially in the sex industry can be very profitable. One organised crime link took the Lancashire team to Northern Ireland where a couple from Romania had invested £50,000 in advertising with a £450,000 profit from prostitution using trafficked women. Whilst we may be shocked at the human exploitation, we were reminded that it was in fact the ‘punters’ – those paying for sex –
who were the perpetrators of this modern day slavery.

Another example shared by Sion was of a Polish couple in Nelson who lived a chaotic lifestyle. They were targeted by an organised crime family living in a big Edwardian house who took them in as domestic servants, treated them inhumanly and made them live in an outside shed. When suspicions were raised the police were called in to investigate and discovered they were in servitude. Rescued and rehoused their chaotic and traumatised lives fuelled by alcohol led them to end up sleeping rough on the streets of Manchester. Rescued gain they are now properly supported and working but are no longer together but have separated. To prevent the people who exploited them in Nelson from doing this again a Slavery and Risk Order was applied for by the police through the magistrates to allow the police to revisit that house in Nelson and check that the exploiters are not doing the same thing all over again.

These and other stories recalling the tragic lives of exploited people helped to illustrate the fact that modern day slavery and human trafficking is something that is happening here in our community. The stories also go some way to debunking the myth that trafficked girls and women that trafficked people live in a ‘seedy’ underworld. The reality is that most are decent people who have been misled and abused. Just being aware of this fact and believing it is that starting point for action.

Sion’s motto is ‘if it doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t right’.  He says, ‘even if something is lawful it doesn’t make it right’. His everyday work challenges him to see social justice as a fundamental part of faith.

Mark Wiggin – Caritas and the Caritas Anti-Trafficking Network.


10 February 2016 

WELCOMING COMMUNITIES – CHURCHES RESPONDING TO REFUGEES AND ASYLUM SEEKER’S CONFERENCE:

CATHEDRAL CENTRE, SALFORD

NEW_CARITAX

The conference was organised in response to the current refugee and asylum seeker crisis, locally, nationally and internationally. The conference was organised jointly by Caritas Diocese of Salford, Revive and the Boaz trust.

The conference looked at how we can welcome refugees, asylum seekers and all people excluding destitute migrants into Churches and Christian communities, parish groups, voluntary organisations and assist anyone concerned about refugees and asylum seekers.

There were 90 participants, delegates and service providers present. There was an overwhelming positive appreciation that the conference had taken place and very positive feedback on the quality of the information and workshops offered.

The current situation nationally and locally was discussed and there was a first hand experiences with an asylum seekers personal story.

The actions and next steps were discussed.

Review of the conference (Lisa Burns Communications Officer Diocese of Salford)

Last Wednesday, 10th February, Caritas Salford Diocese hosted a packed-out ‘Welcoming Communities’ conference at Salford Diocese Cathedral Centre. The event was part of the Caritas Diocesan ‘Refugee Response’, and heard from keynote speakers representing partner charities Boaz Trust and Revive.

People from a range of backgrounds, faiths and ages gathered to see how they could mobilise to make communities a more welcoming environment for asylum seekers and refugees.

Revive accompanies and supports refugees and people seeking asylum living in Manchester and Salford, regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender, religion or disability.

Boaz Trust serves destitute asylum seekers in Greater Manchester, providing accommodation, food and other essentials. Boaz also provides advocacy and pastoral support, and campaigns on a local and national level for justice in asylum legislation.

A brief welcome and introduction was given by Mark Wiggin, the Director of Caritas at Salford Diocese. He was followed by Fr Terence Donnelly, a Spiritan missionary based in Charlton, who began the event with an overview of the ‘Theology of the Stranger’.

“We’re all God’s children. Sometimes in the midst of politics we forget that,” he said, as he highlighted the Scriptural references to Abraham in exile and Jesus himself being a refugee. “People build barriers to those who are different, but other cultures can enrich ours. There’s so much we can learn from one another but it takes time to do that. While we recognise our differences, we must learn to celebrate our commonality as well.”

Several workshops throughout the day highlighted practical ways in which lay people could help refugees and asylum seekers in their parish communities. One issue that cropped up throughout the day was a lack of clarity on the difference between asylum seekers and refugees. Dave Smith from Boaz Trust explained that an asylum seeker is someone fleeing persecution, and seeking refuge in another country. A refugee, however, is someone who has been granted refugee status legally and is permitted to remain in the country. Dave, who has a refugee living with him, explained “The UK system in place often fail asylum seekers. Often it’s just listening to the personal stories of refugees is the most powerful way to understand the scale of the problem.”

Revive ran two workshops, ‘Refugee Status the Journey to Sanctuary’ and ‘Helping People with Their Asylum Case.’ Case scenarios were explored and ideas generated with regards to actions that can be taken collectively or individually.

Other workshops on the day included an interfaith response entitled ‘Understanding Muslims’, while Church of England vicar Andrew and Biddy Dawson were on hand to share their advice on how to welcome refugees as a parish. One of their practical tips was to start a bus fare fund to enable refugees to attend church, as many couldn’t afford to get there and were in danger of becoming isolated.

Roz Holland from Boaz Trust ran a workshop on ‘Hosting Asylum Seekers’, in which she explored some of the issues and what to expect when  accommodating asylum seekers and refugees in spare rooms. Such issues could include hosts experiencing guilt that they can’t help more, personality clashes, and a contrast between expectations and reality when hosting. “Making a difference in a time of crisis is what we’re all about,” Roz emphasised. “People often worry that refugees may not integrate fully into the community. What better way to promote integration than to live alongside each other?”

The day wrapped up with brainstorming activities to draw together some of the inspiration and ideas gathered throughout the day. There are sure to be many good fruits and practical responses coming from the conference – watch this space!

Workshop appreciation  

Thank you to the following for their professional contribution to the conference by delivering the workshops that were so well received:

Workshop                                                    Leader                                    

Being a Welcoming Church                                     Andrew and Biddy Dawson

Mental Health Issues                                                Cath Maffia

Helping with a asylum case                                     Boaz and Revive                   

Refugee Status & the journey to sanctuary           Revive

Understanding Muslims                                           Phil Rawlins

Hosting Asylum Seekers                                          Roz Holland                  

                   

Delegates 20 Action Points

Following a question and answer session at the close of the conference the action points below were raised by delegates;

  1. Facilitate a Parish Coordinator to raise awareness.
  2. Make a contact list to coordinate efforts between parishes.
  3. Help asylum seekers appropriately in our community.
  4. Provide recreation days at Lee House.
  5. Exchange information (with the parish).
  6. Campaigning youth group in each Parish.
  7. Complete the Refugee Exhibition which is currently under construction.
  8. Pass on info from the conference to the foodbank that sent us.
  9. Speak to Lisa Nandy MP re the 28 day / 6-8 week gap for refugees.
  10. Set up a demonstration project, how to run services alternatively locally.
  11. SVP befriend, provide clothing, furniture.
  12. Set up a foodbank in our church.
  13. Teach English to refugees.
  14. Guide those I meet in my work towards help and support.
  15. Volunteer (make time for this).
  16. Read the Book of Boaz.
  17. Work to engage the wider church family (my church is not Catholic) .
  18. Awareness raising within our parishes / deaneries.
  19. Talk to my parish priest about the issue.
  20. Match up those needing furniture etc. with those wanting to give things away.

 Concluding Prayer:  Let Us See

Dear God, our journey through life is long and hard.  We cannot make this trip alone; we must walk together on the journey.  You promised to send us a helper, your Spirit.  Help us to see your Spirit in those you send to journey with us.

In the refugee family, seeking safety from violence, Let us see your Spirit.

In the migrant worker, bringing food to our tables, Let us see your Spirit.

In the asylum-seeker, seeking justice for himself and his family, Let us see your Spirit.

In the unaccompanied child, travelling in a dangerous world, Let us see your Spirit.

Teach us to recognise that as we walk with each other, you are present.

Teach us to welcome not only the strangers in our midst but the gifts they bring as well:  the invitation to conversion, communion and solidarity.

This is the help you have sent: we are not alone.  We are together on the journey and for this we give you thanks.  Amen

Caritas Salford is a member of Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN)  in England and Wales and a member of Caritas Europe which is part of Caritas International one of the largest humanitarian and human development networks in the world.

CONTACT DETAILS

Boaz Trust
First floor, 110 Oldham Road
Manchester M4 6AG

Telephone: (0161) 202 1056

Email: info@boaztrust.org.uk

Revive

187 Grey Mare Lane
Beswick
M11 3ND
Phone: 0161 223 5668
Fax: 0161 223 9195

Email: info@revive-uk.org

Web: www.revive-uk.org

Facebook: www.facebook.com/reviveuk.org

Caritas Diocese of Salford

Cathedral Centre
3 Ford Street
Salford
M3 6DP
0161 817 2250

Email: info@caritassalford.org.uk

For more information about Revive: http://www.revive-uk.org/

To learn more about Boaz Trust: http://boaztrust.org.uk/

To find out more about the work of Caritas Salford Diocese: http://www.caritassalford.org.uk/

new_four_logo
 9 February 2016

Pendle View Rotary Club

Presentation on human trafficking and the work of the Medaille Trust at Rishton Cricket Club

29 January 2016

St Augustine’s, British Values Week, Democracy Day

Thanks to Meriel Woodward for the photographs

We had a full day at St Augustine’s RC High School, Billington, Clitheroe last Friday.  Year 8s  were to develop their campaigns for a proposed “law” which was going to be imposed on young people.  Our group was to campaign for support for a law to tighten up British companies’ responsibility for ensuring their supply chains were free of slave labour, particularly children.

Starting with the full year 8 of 209 pupils we showed a film on Modern Day Slavery.  We then moved with our class to the task of the day.

We played Matt Redman’s inspirational song 27 Million  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0L7NH48BWE

and charged the group with rewriting the words to cover three verses:

  • Slavery in the 19th century
  • Modern Day slavery
  • Western complicity

27 Million is a rap song and one pupil picked up the guitar chords very quickly.  Different groups in the class worked on the verses and choruses using papers, newspaper articles and the Caritas in Action Curriculum Key Stage 2. Another group made posters and another group went around the school seeking support for a petition.

We didn’t get a video of the actual performance and the final version of the words may not be precisely the ones we photographed and transcribed below.

 27 Million (St Augustine’s Year 8 version)

 Then he took a grip

Started to sweat

The scaring sounds of a lashing whip

Bloody floor soaking wet

Trapped in fear

Can’t think or hear

The end is so near

Can’t get away

He has to stay

No one to come and save the day

 

Chorus (largely unaltered from the original)

 

We got to  rise up

Open our eyes up

Be their voice

Be their freedom

Stand up

 

Think about how your food is made

Slaves are used, they get no money, no sleep, no home

They’re beaten, mistreated used and abused

The slavemaster is the boss

He makes money from people’s pain

He doesn’t care, to him they are nothing

He will pay with his freedom and time

Brave people will stand up and see that this happens

Big companies like Tescos need to open their eyes

 

Throwing away food is like stealing from the table

Today it breaks my heart

That homeless people die of cold

It doesn’t even make the news

In this country children do have food

 

Christian words are easy

Acts are needed

Bravery, Mercy, Love and Care need showing by us

We are the hands, feet, eyes and body of God on earth

Compassion is what is needed

NOW

The group performed their song to the full group of Year 8s.

What impressed us most was the ability these children showed in grasping the issues, understanding that modern day slavery exists, and that we are personally responsible in the way we live our lives.

29 January 2016 

There have been a few things during January for which I will provide details later:

  • 5 January  Meeting with Medaille Trust personnel and volunteers for update and planning
  • 13 January Meeting with the chaplain and staff at Corpus Christi High School to plan our input for an Extended Learning Day in February
  • 16 January Visit to Lee House, Chipping to see Joe Howson and progress on the Mobile Trafficking Unit
  • 23 January  Meeting with DCI Sion Hall for an update on Police developments and recent cases in East Lancashire

25 November 2015

CORPUS CHRISTI CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL, PRESTON

We did six 40 minute sessions with Year 10 pupils at Corpus Christi Catholic High School on their Faith and Justice Day.  With limited time we used a film from Unchosen http://www.unchosen-films.org/  followed by discussion on the issues raised.  As always the reaction was surprise, shock, disgust, anger, and an almost complete lack of awareness even amongst the teachers who sat in.

 23 November 2015

ST MICHAEL AND ST JOHN’S CATHOLIC PRIMARY SCHOOL, CLITHEROE

We met with Zoe Mabbott,  Head Teacher at St Michael and St John’s Catholic Primary School, Clitheroe to discuss possible activities to raise awareness on modern day slavery during the Year of Mercy.  The Year of Mercy Holy Door comes to the school on February

12 which coincides nicely with the Feast of St Bahkhita on February 8.  We referred to an example of a video for young children, Meena, The Girls Came Back.  This is an episode from the animation film Meena, focus on child trafficking. The film portrayed how vicious people enticed women and children for jobs and trafficked them into the city to work as prostitutes and child labour. The film highlights these issues in a very compelling way to create a clear impact and create social awareness. We also referred to Primary school lessons (Salvation Army) .  Zoe will explore ideas such as prayers and sessions with Mr Connolly as part of social justice teaching.

22 November 2015

 GEMMA FRANKLAND’S SKYDIVE FOR THE MEDAILLE TRUST

Gemma finally did her skydive on Sunday 22 November.  The date should have been October 23rd but was cancelled due to bad weather and cancelled every succeeding weekend until 22 November.

It was a fine day with a beautiful clear sky but cold.  It was a good job they wrap you up well.  At 14,000 feet, when Gemma was pitched into the air, the temperature was minus 14º C.

You can see it all at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muYZ9uf2f6o .

Sponsorship netted a total of £1.041, £1,283 with Gift Aid added.  A big thank you from Gemma.

13 November 2015

STONEYHURST COLLEGE , HURST GREEN, CLITHEROE

Meeting with Fr Waring at Stoneyhurst College to make an introduction and talk about Year of Mercy.  Fr Waring was one of the priests who attended the talk Sion Hall and Anthony Brown made to Deanery priests at Langho on July 8 in preparation for Year of Mercy and our Deanery’s agreement to adopt Trafficking as its social justice activity.  We had a very positive response from the College about Question Time although the timing excluded Stonyhurst pupils because of their half term break.  Fr Waring suggested we speak to the College Chaplain, which we will follow up.

9 November 2015

 COMMUNITY ACTION FUND GRANT OF £2,325 AWARDED

We have been awarded a grant of £2,325 from the Community Action Fund.  £1,500 of this will go to the construction of a mobile human trafficking exhibition which is being built by Joe Howson of the Lee House Mission Awareness Centre.  Most of the rest will:

  • cover the costs of the Human Trafficking Question Time event on October 23rd
  • contribute to the costs of posters and leaflets to raise awareness on trafficking and aimed at churches in our Deanery during the Year of Mercy. The leaflets will list the main signs for people to look out for in order to alert the Police to anything suspicious which may indicate human trafficking.

Dear Anthony,

 I am delighted to tell you that the Lancashire Police & Crime Commissioner has decided to offer your organisation a conditional grant of £2325 from the Community Action Fund.

 We hope that the funding offer will help your project and make a difference to your local community.

 Before we can confirm our grant and pay it to you we need you to sign and return the attached declaration. This allows you to confirm that what you told us in your application is true and you accept our terms and conditions of grant.

 Please return everything we ask for as soon as you can and no later than 9th December 2015. If what you send us is satisfactory we will tell you when we will pay the grant into your bank or building society account.

 You should be aware that the Lancashire Police & Crime Commissioner may personally visit the successful Projects and the Commissioner’s office will contact you to arrange a convenient date.

 Congratulations on receiving a conditional grant offer. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

 Regards

 Al

 Al Yusuf

Business Development Officer

Lancashire Partnership Against Crime

Lancashire Constabulary Headquarters

Hutton Preston PR4 5SB

 

2 November 2015

LOVE CLITHEROE

It is always worth attending these meetings to hear about the charitable work being done within the Christian community and to pray in harmony with them.  The main focus on this occasion was Emma and Roo Walker’s trip to Calais to take things to the migrants stranded there and offer them hope and comfort.

 1 November 2015

ST MARY’S LANGHO

Fr Leo at St Mary’s,  Langho invited us to speak briefly about Human Trafficking and the work of the Medaille Trust after Mass and then mix with parishioners over coffee.  We generated a lot of interest.  50 Medaille magazines weren’t enough so we delivered more later.  The tea/coffee collection of £108.32 was donated to the Medaille.  Fr Leo has invited us back to do an appeal in church for Medaille at a date to be arranged during Year of Mercy.

24 October 2015

THE GARAGE BAND AT WHALLEY VILLAGE HALL

The Garage Band performed at a Whalley Village Hall anniversary event and a bucket collection for the Medaille Trust made £232.39

23 October 2015

HUMAN TRAFFICKING QUESTION TIME

The Question Time event was enormously successful with a large and lively audience introduced by Amanda Parker, High Sheriff of Lancashire, and chaired by Mark Wiggin, Chief Executive of Caritas Diocese of Salford.  The panellists were:

  • Lord Alton of Liverpool, a former Liberal Party and later Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament who has sat as an Independent Crossbench member of the House of Lords since 1997 when he was made a life peer.
  • Detective Superintendent Sue Cawley,  Head of Public Protection at Lancashire Constabulary with the lead on human trafficking.
  • Mike Emberson, Project Director with the Medaille Trust, a Catholic Charity that provides seven safe houses in the UK for victims rescued from human trafficking.
  • Hannah Flint, Regional Development Executive, North of England for the International Justice Mission (IJM), a global organisation that protects people from violence including sex trafficking and forced labour slavery.

Pictures by Bernard Mercer except no 5 and no 18 (the last one) which are by Ken Geddes

 

15 October 2015

MEETING WITH DIOCESAN PRIMARY SCHOOL HEAD REPRESENTATIVES

We spoke to a meeting of Diocesan primary school head representatives, chaired by Diane Bohan, Primary Schools Co-ordinator.  Our input was about Anti-Slavery Week and Year of Mercy and possible primary school activities during those periods.  Primary schools hadn’t struck us as prime targets for raising awareness on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking but we had been encouraged to include them by a number of people with experience of school children including Salford Diocese Department of Education.

14 October 2015

CLITHEROE CHRISTIANS IN PARTNERSHIP

Our input was mainly to draw attention to the upcoming Human Trafficking Question Time event on October 23rd

11 and 12 October 2015

 SARA MILLER LLANA FOR OF THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR 

Sara is the Europe Bureau Chief of The Christian Science Monitor, a small but award-winning, international newspaper from Boston.  It is not a religious paper but they do like to highlight solutions in their coverage. They have started a series looking at solutions to counter human trafficking, and as Sara is in charge of Europe, she was assigned to look at some of the best efforts in the EU. After a lot of investigation, she decided to focus on the Bakhita Initiative. She is in the UK at the moment interviewing Kevin Hyland and someone in lieu of Cardinal Nichols who is away.  However Sara is most interested in seeing how the Bakhita initiative is inspiring people at the ground level, and a woman at the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales told her to look at the Medaille Trust.  In Googling them, she came across our webpage and the work that our Parish Group is doing.

On Sunday 11 October she came to Mass at Sabden after which she had coffee around a table with Fr Kevin, Antony Brown (Young Person’s Representative) and Roisn Bowes.  She spent the rest of the day with Anthony and Mary Brown, Mark Wiggin and Joe Howson of the Lee House Mission Awareness Centre who is building a mobile trafficking exhibition for secondary schools.

On Monday 12 October she spent three hours with Sion Hall.

See her article: From England’s pews, a quiet abolitionist finds his voice on slavery

7 October 2015

REFUGEE RESPONSE MEETING AT ST BRIDGID’S, MANCHESTER

Apart from the main objective of the meeting it was a good opportunity to talk with people involved with refugees and asylum seekers and also victims of human trafficking.

Mark Wiggin’s summary of the meeting is below:

Dear Colleagues,

First, thank you for your very positive support for the Refugee Response in the Diocese of Salford and for attending the meeting hosted by Revive at St.Bridgid’s parish. There was a very good mix of charities, parish members, organisations and individuals and the meeting gave a very strong mandate for the initiative to be developed – thank you. Please find attached the notes from the meeting with a contact address list for you to use in your own networking on this urgent agenda. I have also attached the power-point that you might chose to adapt for your own use.

 

Below is a summary of the main points of the meeting sent in by one of the participants and I would like to thank Katy (Caritas) and Pat (Revive) for the administrative support to the day.

I will be in regular contact to update you on developments and work with you to coordinate a coherent and constructive response to a great local, national and international need. Ideals on how we can communicate as a network will be very welcome.

 

REFUGEE RESPONSE MEETING SUMMARY

  1. Caritas Diocese of Salford will act as the co-ordinating body for a partnership approach between the Diocese and multiple agencies, with proven expertise, who are already working to support refugees within the Diocese such as Revive and the Boaz Trust
  2. It was agreed that there is a significant existing need for support to be offered to refugees within the Diocese. Any co-ordinated approach led by Caritas is therefore likely to comprise a combined approach of supporting those already here and those who will be coming under the government’s recently announced scheme   
  3. Caritas is committed to invitingeach parish to take an active role in this co-ordinated approach. In doing so, Caritas will advise parishes as to the types of support which would be most beneficial and effective
  4. Caritas will collate and retain financial donations from those parishes wishing to join this co-ordinated approach, and will allocate those monies appropriately within the Diocese, in keeping with the agreed strategic approach. The allocation of monies could conceivably include funding to support the work of partner agencies, working in tandem with the Diocese
  5. Caritas will co-ordinate the creation of a skills database comprising details of both organisations and individuals who are willing to offer skills and expertise as part of this co-ordinated strategy. Parishes are encouraged to collate their own database of volunteers willing to offer their skills, and then to submit the full details to Caritas. 
  6. It is hoped that continued parish donations, together with positive responses to the call for volunteers, will significantly strengthen the Church’s position in terms of ongoing discussions with local and government concerning the allocation of refugees, matters concerning housing and any other potential resource impact considerations. In other words, the more positive the response from ordinary parishioners, the more effective, and more influential, the overall church initiative will be – and will be perceived as being
  7. In terms of  the government proposal to welcome up to 20,000 refugees from camps in Syria and neighbouring countries, only family homes will be regarded as being suitable accommodation – not spare rooms or other types of sharing accommodation

Mark Wiggin 

Chief Executive

30 September 2015

LUNCHTIME INTERVIEW WITH THE INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE MISSION’S GLOBAL DIRECTOR OF INVESTIGATION

This was an extremely informative lunchtime session.  Hannah Flint of the International Justice Mission, an organisation dedicated to giving poor people fair access to the rule of law, interviewed IJM’s Global Director of Investigations (not named here for security reasons) who shared highlights from his under-cover work and his experiences of leading and training local officials in countries across the world.

Thank you to Hannah Flint for inviting us.
18 September 2015

 ST JOSEPHS’ COLLEGE ROMAN CATHOLIC COLLEGE,  STOKE ON TRENT

We gave a one hour Power Point presentation on Human Trafficking and the work of the Medaille Trust to 180 sixth formers.

16 September

 ST AUGUSTINE’S ROMAN CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL, BILLINGTON, WHALLEY, CLITHEROE

We met with Michael Wright, Head Teacher, Catherine Gunn, Head of RE and Lucy Newton to talk about activities with a trafficking theme during Anti-Slavery Week and Year of Mercy.  The school had a big agenda for Anti-Slavery week with a number of activities planned:

  • On screen Medaille logo on pc screens
  • Prayer every day
  • Enterprise programme – based on the talents parable – 200 children aiming to turn £5 into £10 for Medaille
  • A missionary theme for the week
  • Medaille Education Pack lessons used for the RE curriculum and across the curriculum

Michael also referred to their Values Week in January 2016 which would be another opportunity to highlight the issue of human trafficking.

14 September 2015

BLESSED TRINITY ROMAN CATHOLIC COLLEGE, BURNLEY

We met Jessica Wilkinson, School Chaplain.  Blessed Trinity was unable to do anything during Anti-Slavery Week but we hope there is scope for further discussion there on Caritas Ambassadors and linking them with our Young Persons arm of our Combating Human Trafficking Group

9 September 2015

ANTI-SLAVERY WEEK 18 OCTOBER TO 24 OCTOBER

On October 20, we have It’s Not Fair a Rhema production, funded by the Lancaster Foundation at the Grand in Clitheroe.  It’s Not Fair is an Engaging, eye-opening blend of theatre, storytelling, puppetry and music to raise awareness on trafficking.  The audience goes away with the knowledge that change is possible and armed with some simple practical steps that they can use to help change the world.  Kwame just wants to earn enough money to buy a bike… Maya wants to take care of her family… Alyssa doesn’t have a choice… The It’s Not Fair’ is a collection of tales taken from all over the world. Two circus storytelling characters take us on a journey from the cocoa farms of the Ivory Coast… to the dingy bars of the back streets of Thailand… behind the respectable facade of a London home… and into the offices of an anti-trafficking organisation – who are making a difference, one person at a time… it is an excellent opportunity to become more educated, challenged and equipped to engage with the issues of human trafficking and slavery.  The play deals with complex issues in a very accessible and engaging way..  Although thought-provoking the content is not graphic or offensive. It informs but also inspires and brings hope.  Suitable for 11 years +

 On October 23 there will be a Question Time type of event on the theme of trafficking at St Michael and St John’s Parish Hall, Clitheroe.  We have: Mike Emberson, Project Director of Medaille; Sue Cawley, Head of Public Protection, Lancashire Constabulary;  Hannah Flint, Regional Development Executive, North of England for the International Justice Mission; and Lord Alton of Liverpool.

On October 24, Chicago gospel singer Elsa Harris performs at the Grand in Clitheroe, organised by Bill Hampson of Epiphany.    Bill is one of the seminal behind-the-scenes figures in British Christian music.  Bill has promoted hundreds of Christian music concerts and tours, and made contact with Elsa about making an album connected to a book that he and Danny Smith had written back in 2009 called The Blood And The Blues. That book told the story of slavery and how the African American Christians had evolved spiritual songs which pointed to the freedom that they longed for. These songs, like ‘Walk With The Lord’, ‘Joshua Fit The Battle Of Jericho’ and ‘Wade In The Water’, have relevance all over again now in this age of human trafficking.  The album ‘Let My People Go’ was recorded at The Grand Studios in Clitheroe, and was produced by Tom Peters and Bill Hampson. Two of the most intriguing recordings on the set are Elsa dueting with British gospel diva Sandra Godley on the spiritual “Didn’t It Rain” and Paul Simon’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water”. Possibly the most important track is “Go Down Moses”. Said Elsa, “It takes you from the Biblical slavery days to present day slavery to help you at least acknowledge and know that slavery is still going on in the world today, but there are organisations that are coming against it. That’s what we’re all about.

Also on October 24 Gemma Frankland will do a sponsored sky dive for the Medaille Trust.

We are working with the Diocesan Education Departments in Salford, Lancaster and Middlesbrough to set up competitions in schools that would be an educational experience for both the pupils and the public.  We are exploring competitions in a variety of subjects – poetry, music and even dance – with publicity to follow.

Finally we are working with Lancashire Constubulary Public Protection and East Lancashire Police to raise awareness via posters and leaflets.

3 September 2015

THE EPIPHANY TRUST, NEWTON LE WILLOWS Elsa_pictureWe met Bill Hampson in Newton le Willows to discuss Anti-slavery Week activities and particularly promotion for the Elsa Harris concert on the last day of Anti-Slavery Week, October 24.   Elsa Harris is a gospel singer from Chicago and is best known as a musician and vocalist with international recording artist Jessy Dixon whom she toured regularly with for four decades. Elsa one of the Jessy Dixon Singers who own three gold albums, received six grammy nominations and countless other awards. She has performed throughout the world with Jessy and other artists including Paul Simon, Andrae Couch and Pat Boone.  Appearances include Saturday Night Live, Newport Jazz Festival, BBC ‘Songs of Praise’, 700 Club, and many churches and Christian Festivals, including ‘Greenbelt’. Elsa was part of the ‘Paul Simon Worldwide Tour’ for 8 years; featuring on two of his album’s ‘Live Rhymin’ and ‘Still Crazy.’ She sang on a recording of ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ together with Paul Simon, and has included a beautiful arrangement and rendition of this same song on her new album ‘Let my people go’, where she duets with GMA Award winner Sandra Godley.

‘Let my people go’ is a mixture of ‘Blues’ and ‘Spirituals’, originating in the American south during slavery days and has been recorded specifically to raise awareness of modern day slavery. It was recorded at the Grand Studios in Clitheroe with some of the North-West’s finest musicians.

In recent years, Elsa has become an ambassador for the Anti-Slavery cause, and a Patron of Epiphany Trust, an international charity with programmes in many countries aimed at protecting children and young people from being trafficked. www.epiphany.org.uk  In 2012 she performed as part of the ‘Anti Slavery Day’ event at Holy Trinity  Clapham the church famously associated with abolitionists William Wilberforce and the ‘Clapham Sect’ and as part of this years’ events to mark ‘Anti-Slavery Day’ Elsa undertakes a tour of the UK and will return to Clitheroe for a concert at The Grand Theatre on Saturday 24th October at 7.30pm. with ‘The Grand Choir’ and many of the musicians who played on her album. Tickets are £10 and available from the Grand Theatre box office.

2 September 2015

We had a very positive and fruitful meeting with Detective Superintendent Sue Cawley on 19 August 2015.  We met Sue briefly at the UCLAN Trafficking Workshop in Preston in June and were very impressed with her presentation and her approach to the problem of trafficking in Lancashire.   As we have found with Sion, Sue attaches great importance to the public’s role in providing intelligence on anything that may indicate potential trafficking.   Sue has made some amendments to my notes on the meeting which she has now approved for further dissemination

Sue Cawley meeting 2015 08 19 (rev SC)

16 August 2015

There are a number of threads we are currently working on which will need specific input but for the moment click on the link for a summary.  This document was updated on 12 August.

Main Threads (rev 12 August 2015)

8 August 2015

On 23 July our Group met Bishop John Arnold at Wardley Hall to discuss how he could:  “…add my voice to your project…”  You can see a summary of that meeting below.

Summary of meeting with Bishop (2015 07 23)

 

31 July 2015

NEWSPAPER COVERAGE OF OUR TRAFFICKING WORK

The first of four articles, written by Margaret Parsons using material supplied by us, appeared on 18 June in the Clitheroe Advertiser followed on 19 June
with the Burnley Express, Colne Times, Barnoldswick and Earby Times, Nelson Leader and Padiham Express. The Lancashire Evening Post also picked up the articles and published them.   Over 4 weeks all articles appeared in all the newspapers, except the Medaille article which, although published in the other papers,only appeared in the Clitheroe Advertiser this week.

You can see the articles here.

News article OLOTV

News article DCI Sion Hall

News article Caritas

News article Medaille

24 and 26 June 

Roisin has been very helpful with suggestions for activities in schools and suggested we approach Anthony Finnerty who is Secondary RE Advisor, Lancaster and Middlesbrough dioceses. We met Anthony who asked us to speak at his meeting on 26th June with the heads of RE from the eleven High schools in the Lancaster Diocese; and also to Heads of RE from eight high schools in the Middlesbrough Diocese on the 24th. During these talks we shared the Medaille Education Pack with them for possible futures use making a link between the Education Pack activities and Roisin’s suggestions for Anti-Slavery Week. Following on from that, two Education Packs have gone out to each secondary school, one to the Head and one to the Chaplain. An accompanying handout covers the material in the talks and seeks interest in using the Education Pack as the basis for competition ideas for Anti-Slavery Week and Year of Mercy.

11 May 2015

Our Lady of the Valley parishioner, DCI Sion Hall, is a key member of the OLOTV Combating Human Trafficking Group.  On 20 April, Sion spent two hours with me talking about his work with the Police which is now summarised below.  Our work with Sion and East Lancs Police is crucially important to what we are trying to achieve. Each one of us can play a part by raising our own awareness of the signs of human trafficking and adding to the Intelligence that the Police need to identify potential victims.

An excellent source of further information for spotting the signs of Trafficking is Spot the Traffik

11 May 2015

INTERVIEW WITH DETECTIVE CHIEF INSPECTOR SION HALL:  APRIL 20 2015

 

Sion has edited the transcript of a two hour interview with him on April 20 2015

DCI Sion Hall Interview (April 20 2015)

1 May 2015

EVERY CITIZEN OF EVERY COUNTRY MUST BE MADE AWARE OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND JOIN THE FIGHT AGAINST IT

Today, Sion Hall, Mark Wiggin, Mary Brown, Anthony Brown, and Margaret Parsons met to discuss publicity of the Combating Human Tafficking Group in the East Lancashire Press.  Margaret is their News Editor and wants to publish a two page spread in all six of the newspapers in the East Lancashire group followed by a series of articles later.

The articles will cover a range of topics to include: activities and achievements of the group so far; work with East Lancashire Police on their fight against trafficking code named Operation Proteus; our links with the Medaille Trust and its work providing safe houses for victims rescued from charity;  links with Caritas Salford to highlight that our fight against trafficking is part of a much bigger Justice and Peace mission; and why the whole nation including the people of East Lancashire need to be aware of the existence and extent of modern slavery.

If the OLOTV group were to have a mission statement it would reflect the words of Pope Francis:

Every citizen of every country must be made aware of human trafficking and join the fight against it.”

Anthony and Mary Brown

20 April 2015

OPERATION PROTEUS AND THE WORK OF THE COMBATING HUMAN TRAFFICKING GROUP

Today I met with DCI Sion Hall to discuss how the Police are operating in East Lancashire and how our local Parish Group can help.   I will put out a summary of that meeting when it has been cleared with Sion but for the moment there are a few things that are worth saying:

  • East Lancashire Police take the problem of dealing with trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation very seriously and have a dedicated specialist team. They also work closely with the multi-disciplinary Engage Team at Greenbank in Blackburn.
  • In addition to dedicated officers, all officers are briefed to be alert to the signs of trafficking and CSE in carrying out their normal duties.
  • Prosecutions are difficult and Sion is at pains to emphasise that what we are talking about is a social issue. He stresses the importance of safeguarding as well as prosecution.
  • Although there isn’t an epidemic of trafficking in East Lancashire, given what is happening nationally we cannot be complacent.
  • Everybody needs to be alert to the signs which is why East Lancashire Police are passionate about awareness raising.
  • The OLOTV Combating Human Trafficking Group’s is about raising one’s own personal awareness and the awareness of others.  A main aim of our existence is to increase intelligence of Human Trafficking and CSE with East Lancashire Police.
  • You can see the main signs to look out for in the 19 February item on this page Operation Proteus.

Anthony Brown

 

16 April 2015

HOUSING JUSTICE ROADSHOW: SOME TRAFFICKING LINKS

Along with 80 other delegates we attended the Housing Justice Show at the Cathedral Centre Salford, representing Our Lady of the Valley and the Medaille Trust.  The Roadshow was a series of talks and workshops on homelessness and what people of faith (and others) should be doing about it.  Mary and I attended because homelessness sometimes arises from trafficking, but also because homelessness is an issue in itself that should concern us all within the Justice and Peace agenda of the Catholic Church.

After introductory talks by Mark Wiggin and Bishop John Arnold, our two morning speakers were Alison Gelder of Housing Justice and Amanda Croome from the Booth Centre and Chair of the Multi-Disciplinary Homelessness Forum.  These two speakers brought home very clearly the reasons for increasing homelessness brought on by austerity measures and government policy, but perhaps more importantly the widespread misunderstanding about the reasons for homelessness and misunderstanding about immigration.  In the afternoon we attended the workshop on Addressing the Needs of Homeless Migrants.

Trafficking of course was a minor part of all this but did feature in our workshop.  David Smith who led our workshop works for the Boaz Trust, a Christian organisation working with destitute asylum seekers in Manchester, said that there had been examples of escaped victims of trafficking at the Boaz Trust and one was now in fact a trustee!  Examples like this demonstrate just how much more can be achieved beyond rescue and prosecution.

What does one take away from events like this?  To think of a few:

  • Alison Gelder stressed the importance of being informed and sharing knowledge.  She was talking about homelessness but it applies equally to trafficking and  is the main thrust of our OLOTV Combating Trafficking Group.
  • There were 80 delegates at the event, all with their own agenda but understanding the need to communicate, link and work together. Our own focus might be trafficking but it is only a small part of a huge Justice and Peace Agenda.
  • The delegates were a very large cross section of people working with homelessness or issues linked to homelessness.  It had a good Catholic presence and was supported by our bishop but the main speakers were other Christian faiths.  It was very much an interdenominational and interfaith group.
  • The main problem on all Faith and Justice issues is public indifference reflected in government policies and manifestos.  Lobbying is therefore important and petitions have their part to play.
  • We also made a couple of links with people working for charities tackling the issue of human trafficking

Anthony and Mary Brown

10 March 2015

GOOD NEWS FOR SABDEN

 For those of who don’t see Good News for Sabden I did an article for the March editions which summarised what has happened within the group so far:

  • Fr Corcoran has given his wholehearted support to the the group, preaching on the subject of human trafficking, marking the feast of St Bakhita on February 8th, and encouraging communication
  • Saint Bakhita’s feast day was an opportunity to give 200 bookmarks to parishioners, some people seeking additional ones for sick or absent friends
  • Using the Parish website for postings with a dedicated page in progress
  • Features and postings in the Parish newsletter
  • Traffik Jam concert which raised over £2,000 for the Medaille Trust, a Catholic society which provides safe houses for victims of human trafficking
  • Regular emails within the Group to inform and initiate discussion
  • Salford diocesan representation of the Medaille Trust for awareness raising and fund raising
  • Awareness raising at Manchester airport as part of the Stop the Traffik Travel Safe iniitiative
  • Talks in Corpus Christi School, Preston on Justice and Peace Day
  • Networking and representing on Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN) meetings in Salford

Anthony Brown

19 February 2015

OPERATION PROTEUS

Just to update you and the group about what I have been doing from a work perspective. I have launched an over arching Human Trafficking operation across East Lancashire under the name of Operation Proteus. I hope that by utilising the one name for all matters to do with Trafficking, that it will reinforce in the public’s consciousness that this is a real issue  even on a local footprint. There is quite a lot of operational activity ongoing ( cannot go into detail at this stage ) but hopefully this will unfold in the media over the coming months. I have attached a press release I have done and also a job which occurred in Burnley this week. You may have seen this job reported on the evening news.

Thanks Sion

Press Release

Police in East Lancashire are seeking the assistance of the pubic in an effort to combat   the threat of Human Trafficking across the region.

Detective Chief Inspector Sion Hall of East Division said ‘ Human trafficking destroys the lives of many children, women and men each year and is a real crime against the fundamental human dignity of its victims.’

In an appeal for vigilance, DCI Hall continued ‘ the issue of trafficking and slavery is not just a thing of the past and sadly is still apparent in it’s many forms of child abuse, forced prostitution and a variety of forced labour and domestic servitude’

Victims of trafficking can be found not just in the cities, but also in the towns and villages all around the country.

Some of the key indicators of persons forced into this way of life include:

  • Being unable to leave their work environment.
  • Show signs that their movements are being controlled
  • Show signs of fear or anxiety
  • Be subjected to violence or threats of violence against themselves or their family
  • Be distrustful of the Authorities
  • Not in possession of their passport or other important documents
  • Not know the address of their home or work
  • Receive little or no payment
  • Work excessive hours with no days off
  • Have limited or no social interaction.

Lancashire Police are working closely with the UK Human Trafficking Centre ( UKHTC) and other partners and charities to raise awareness of the signs of trafficking and are taking robust action where appropriate against the perpetrators of this offence. DCI Hall added, ‘ Trafficking generates huge amounts of income for organised crime and we will use all options available to target the offenders and to protect some of our most vulnerable members of society’

Anybody with any information regarding Human trafficking or feel that they are a victim are encouraged to contact Lancashire Police on 101

Report of a job in Burnley on Tuesday this week

Specialist officers from East Division supported by the National Crime Agency executed a warrant yesterday at a garage complex on Albert St, Burnley as part of Operation Proteus, an on-going investigation into modern slavery and people trafficking in East Division.This follows an allegation of modern day slavery from a 39 yr old man who had fled from Manchester to Burnley, had been sleeping rough and was then befriended by his future tormentors with promises of work. He was, over a period of months periodically kept against his will and made to work excessive hours for little or no pay. He is currently safeguarded via the National Referral Mechanism (NCA) where he is being supported by a number of charities and agencies.  Further updates over the coming weeks and months re Operation Proteus to follow.

Sion Hall

19 February 2015

MANCHESTER AIRPORT TRAVEL SAFE FORTNIGHT (WEEK 2)

Mary and I had another couple of days at Manchester Airport and found it much busier than last week.  People rush past you not a bit interested in the initiative but we learnt a variety of ploys which worked and we managed to pass on hundreds of leaflets.  It was a useful learning experience on how to engage people and what could be realistically achieved.  However were were left what is ultimately more effective – lots of leaflets given out or some meaningful discussions with those prepared to listen?  My main recollections now that our contribution is over:

 

  • One man I took to be a pilot (pilots were often the most willing to talk) had evidently been involved with the Border Force at one time and recounted a raid to a cannabis farm.  They got the illegal workers who were still there but all were deported.  That was a few years ago and hopefully now they would be referred to the National Referral Mechanism as potential victims of trafficking.
  • One man worked on the buses bringing passengers into the airport from the planes.  He was well briefed on the signs but said he had never spotted someone to be concerned about.  On the other hand he had been stopped personally with his granddaughter who looked nothing like him (Moroccan blood) and interviewed in depth.  One of our volunteers – Greek with a Nigerian husband – recounted a similar experience.
  • Our Greek volunteer was impressed with the Travel Safe initiative and said Greece would benefit from similar.  She had been personally employed at Athens Airport on Border Control and had identified traffickers and trafficked, seeing the perpetrators charged and imprisoned.  She said that countries like Italy and (I think) Greece were corrupt in giving out legal papers which they knew would be used illegally.
  • One trafficked girl at Manchester Airport came with her trafficker and even under interrogation she was certain that she was not being trafficked.  She was convinced  only when the authorities determined that the person she was going to was a brothel owner.
  • The Travel Safe initiative had clearly reached a lot of workers at the Airport but not by any means all.  Most were very supportive but some were as dismissive as some of the passengers.
  • We soon learned that air stewardesses on some foreign airlines were aloof and unapproachable.  Fortunately they came in groups accompanied by the pilots.  They weren’t aware of the Travel Safe initiative but we were able to engage the pilots and get them to take enough of the staff training leaflets to give to the rest of the aircrew.

 

I expect we will be involved next year.  The Stop the Traffik website is very good but look in particular at the signs by following the linkhttp://www.stopthetraffik.org/spot/404 which takes you to a rather uninspiring webpage.  Hover over “spot it” and then over what you want to look at specifically.

Anthony and Mary Brown

12 February 2015

MANCHESTER AIRPORT TRAVEL SAFE FORTNIGHT (WEEK 1)

 

manping

We had two days at Manchester Airport – Wednesday and Thursday – a very useful and rewarding experience.  Our briefing of maybe 15 minutes was enough to give us all we needed and it soon became clear that the knowledge to give out leaflets, show people the Gift Box, or tell them about trafficking, was absolutely minimal.
The most important part of the initiative was awareness training with the 19,000 people who work at Manchester Airport.  On Thursday (not sure about other days) two trainers were taken up all day with staff training sessions.  Talking to some of the staff, it was clear that these sessions were greatly appreciated and well delivered.  The number of staff engaged in this way was a tiny percentage and carefully selected.  For our part we gave out leaflets to as many people as we could but for Health and Safety reasons the Gift Box was sited away from the main airport activity so we had to launch ourselves far and wide but without ever leaving the Gift Box unsupervised.   Talking to staff was more rewarding than customers and there were plenty of them coming to and from work.
So what experiences and reactions can we share with you?
  • Manchester Airport is very much behind the initiative and combating trafficking is high on their agenda.  They were extremely supportive of our efforts
  • Airport staff were usually rushing but it was encouraging how many were aware of what we were doing and some had attended the training.  Some already had the leaflets and almost all who didn’t took one.  All those who stopped and talked were very positive about the initiative and its importance.  Some took extra leaflets for colleagues.
  • Travellers were ALWAYS rushing one way or the other and generally too preoccupied to engage so very often we thrust the leaflets into their hands with them barely aware of what they were about.  Where people were waiting for someone’s arrival we took full advantage and these would stop and listen.  Some had their own tales to tell.
  • Most interesting perhaps were Border Force staff who identified themselves as such and were easy to engage with questions.  We learned about:
    • single girls arriving with a small bag and hardly any money expecting to meet a “relative”.  In one instance the “relatives” were spotted on CCTV but got away before Border Force reached them.
    • Afghans’ selling their land to pay for someone in their family to travel illegally for £6,000 into the hands of traffickers only to be stopped by the Border Force
    • A cannabis farm and its victims and perpetrators disappearing overnight
    • Chinese workers trafficked into restaurants (Border Force get the victims rescued and not just those coming through the airport)
    • a 16 year old Saudi Arabian seized that morning without papers and sent back the same day.  This one is interesting because though probably not  trafficked (Saudi Arabia isn’t a problem country for the UK), when the Modern Slavery Bill is passed the Border Force will not work independently of the National Crime Agency and much more stringent checks will be carried out before deportation.
  • We have learnt a great deal more about trafficking and particularly the work of Stop the Traffik, and we have made some more useful contacts.
All in all it was a worthwhile experience though we did have to work at it.
We will be back there on Monday and Tuesday but they are short of volunteers so if anybody wants to do a bit later in the week, please be in touch on 01200 422811 or 07814 251092
Anthony and Mary Brown

8 February 2014

FEAST OF ST BAKHITA

Image

I have ordered 200 bookmarks for Sunday 8 February and hope that people will take one of the bookmarks and use it as a prayer every time they open their book.

I have posted something on the website  http://www.olotv.org.uk/sunday-9-february-feast-st-bakhita but here is a little more detail about St Bakhita that I have cribbed from Catholic Online.

Saint Josephine Bakhita, sometimes known as the patron saint of trafficking victims, but strictly, I think, the patron saint of Sudan,  was born in Sudan in 1869. This African flower, who knew the anguish of kidnapping and slavery, bloomed marvellously in Italy, in response to God’s grace, with the Daughters of Charity, where everyone still calls her “Mother Moretta” (our Black Mother”).

Bakhita was not the name she received from her parents at birth. The fright and the terrible experience she went through made her forget the name her parents gave her. Bakhita, which means “fortunate”, was the name given to her by her kidnappers.

Sold in the markets of El Obeid and Khartoum, she experienced the physical and moral humiliations and sufferings of slavery. In the Sudanese capital, Bakhita was bought by an Italian consul, Callisto Legnani. For the first time since the day she was kidnapped, she realized with pleasant surprise that no one used the lash when giving her orders; instead, she was treated with love and cordiality. In the consul’s residence Bakhita experienced peace, warmth and moments of joy, even though veiled with nostalgia for her own family whom, perhaps, she had lost forever.

The political situation forced the consul to leave for Italy. Bakhita asked and obtained permission to go with him and a friend of his, a certain Mr. Augusto Michieli. On their arrival in Genoa, Mr. Legnani, at the request of Mr. Michieli’s wife, agreed to leave Bakhita with them. She followed the new “family”, which settled in Zianigo, near Mirano Veneto.

When their daughter Mimmina was born, Bakhita became her babysitter and friend. The acquisition and management of a large hotel in Suakin on the Red Sea forced Mrs. Michieli to move to Suakin to help her husband. Meanwhile, on the advice of their administrator, Mimmina and Bhakita were entrusted to the Canossian Sisters of the Institute of Catechumens in Venice.

It was there that that Bakhita came to know about God, whom “she had experienced in her heart without knowing who he was” since she was a child. “Seeing the sun, the moon and the stars, I said to myself: who could be the Master of these beautiful things? And I felt a great desire to see him, to know him and to pay him homage…”.

After several months in the catechumenate, Bakhita received the sacraments of Christian initiation and was given a new name, Josephine. It was 9 January 1890. She did not know how to express her joy that day. Her big and expressive eyes sparkled, revealing deep emotions. From then on, she was often seen kissing the baptismal font and saying: “Here, I became a daughter of God!”.

When Mrs. Michieli returned from Africa to take her daughter and Bakhita, the latter, with unusual firmness and courage, expressed her desire to remain with the Canossian Sisters and to serve that God who had shown her so many proofs of his love. The young African, who by then had come of age, enjoyed the freedom of choice which Italian law guaranteed.

Bakhita remained in the catechumenate where she experienced the call to be a religious and to give herself to the Lord in the Institute of St. Magdalene of Canossa. On 8 December 1896 Josephine Bakhita was consecrated forever to God, whom she called by the sweet name of “the Master!”. For the next 50 years this humble Daughter of Charity, a true witness to the love of God, lived in the Schio community, involved in various services: cooking, sewing, embroidery and attending to the door.

When she was on duty at the door, she would gently lay her hands on the heads of the children who daily attended the Canossian schools and caress them. Her amicable voice, which had the infection and rhythm of music of her country, was pleasing to the little ones, comforting to the poor and suffering and encouraging to those who knocked at the institute’s door.

Her humility, simplicity and constant smile won the hearts of all the citizens. Her sisters in the community esteemed her for her constant sweet nature, exquisite goodness and deep desire to make the Lord known. “Be good, love the Lord, pray for those who not know him. What a great grace it is to know God!”, she said.

As she grew older she experienced long, painful years of sickness. Mother Bakhita continued to witness to faith, goodness and Christian hope. To those who visited her and asked how she was, she would respond with a smile: “As the Master desires”. During her agony, she relived the terrible days of her slavery and more than once begged the nurse who assisted her: “Please, loosen the chains…they are heavy!”.

It was Blessed Mary who freed her from pain. Her last words were: Our lady! Our Lady!”, and her final smile testified to her encounter with the Lord’s Mother.

Mother Bakhita breathed her last on 8 February 1947 at the Canossian convent in Schio, surrounded by the sisters. A crowd quickly gathered at the convent to have a last look at their “Mother Moretta” and ask for her protection from heaven. The fame of her sanctity has spread to all the continents and many receive graces through her intercession.

Anthony and Mary Brown

 

27 January 2015

HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL DAY

Mary and I chanced to be in York on 27 January, which was Holocaust Memorial Day 2015, and we attended the 600 Candles service in York Minster.
In his opening address to the readings, Paul Tyack of York Univeristy concluded with the words of Yehuda Bauer, one of the world’s leading Holocaust scholars and a driving force behind the foundation of Holocaust Memorial Day:  “We are all one  human race, interconnected and interdependent.  Politics that are not based on moral considerations are, at the end of the day, not practical politics at all.  I come from a people that gave the Ten Commandments to the world.  Let us agree that we need three more, and they are these: thou shalt not be a perpetrator; thou shalt not be a victim; and thou shalt never, but never, be a bystander.”
Those last eight words struck a chord.  It isn’t just genocide, it’s all forms of human exploitation, violence and abuse, and of course I thought of trafficking and how easy it is to do nothing because we feel ignorant or powerless.
We CAN do something.
Anthony and Mary Brown

26 November 2014

CORPUS CHRISTI FAITH AND JUSTICE DAY

We were invited to lead three one hour sessions with Year 10 pupils at Corpus Christi High School in Fulwood on their first-ever Faith and Justice Day.  Essentially we covered:

  • It happens here
  • Worldwide, modern Day slavery is bigger now than at any time in past history
  • It is demand led– and we are all responsible for that.
  • The catholic churchis doing more than any other religious organisation in the World to combat slavery

The things that struck us were:

  • How little they knew about human trafficking and how surprised and shocked they were
  • The school’s encouragement for our work there and the teachers support in the classroom
  • The need to learn from doing this sort of thing and the need to be flexible and open to adapting the material

From the Chaplain of Corpus Chirsti we got: “We had our evaluation and the pupils loved your session.  They found it insightful and also quite frightening that it happens still.  They were really shocked but very thankful that they know about it.  They also really liked you and Mary as presenters”

 

Mary and Anthony Brown

31 October 2014

TRAFFIK JAM CONCERT

The Parish Hall was full to capacity at the Traffik Jam concert at the Parish Centre on 31st October.  The event raised £2,222.50 for the Medaille Trust.  You may have noticed that the figure keeps going up.  It isn’t too late to add to it.  The Medaille Trust is a charity that provides safe houses for people rescued from human trafficking.  Starting with the Garage Band who played English and Irish music with a fine blend of lyrical ballads, comedy and banter, the concert moved onto Nyima Murry’s haunting folk/blues and some of her own compositions.  The evening finished with the hall echoing to the sounds of over two hundred voices singing popular songs along with Clitheroe Ukulele Orchestra.  It was an evening of fun in aid of a serious issue, the music ranging from light hearted sing alongs to the searing reality of human trafficking.  Nyima Murry sang a trafficking song specially composed for the occasion.

Speaking at the concert Anthony Brown said that the Medaille Trust has 6 safe houses, 3 for sex victims and 3 for men plus a family unit and an Albanian Unit.  Government figures for referrals of potential victims of trafficking  for 2013 in the UK were 1746, of which approximately two thirds were female and two thirds were sexual exploitation.  Nearly one third were minors.  These figures are known cases and represent the tip of an iceberg.  Locally, we are working with the Police via parishioner Detective Chief Inspector Sion Hall.  In East Lancashire there has only been one prosecution in recent years but there is no room for complacency.  The trafficking industry is massive world wide and growing and the Police need the public’s eyes and ears.

A large number of people and organisations have been very generous with their support and particular mention should be made of Sign Design, Burnley for their large outdoor posters and Jenny Press for their large free advert.   Donations and raffle prizes have been many but notably from the Lancaster Foundation, Manchester Football Museum, Ultraframe, Carter Leisure, Sitting Pretty, Byrnes Wine Shop, Townsend Records, Booths and Sainsburys.  Thanks to generous raffle prizes the raffle alone made £354 and sponsorship and donations amounted to £663.50.