Anti-Trafficking: What we do

December 20, 2019: GMP Modern Slavery NGO Forum

Details later

December 18, 2019: PLASP Meeting

See a report of the meeting here 

December 14, 2019: Sister Imelda Poole talk on human trafficking at St Joseph’s, Heywood

Ann Cooney attended a talk by Sister Imelda Poole at St Joseph’s Church, Heywood.  Sister Imelda is President of the Mary Ward Loreto Foundation and president of RENATE, a European network of religious and co-workers who work in all fields against trafficking in 27 countries of Europe.

You can see a talk by Sister Imelda talking at the Las Casas Institute, Oxford, in October 2018.

We will follow through with Sister Imelda and also with Fr Paul Daly of St Joseph’s who expressed interest in working with us piloting a parish anti-trafficking initiative.

December 10, 2019: In Plain Sight Conference (October 15) summary

A summary of the conference went out to delegates today along with the remaining slides/speaker notes.  See the summary here.  For slides/speaker notes contact

The next steps are: 

  • Bringing together the conference findings in the light of Pastoral Orientations and producing a discussion document for consultation on the best way of combating human trafficking via effective partnership working.
  • Producing a consultation document with a view to achieving a declaration by all Catholic dioceses, Catholic congregations of religious, Catholic organisations. The document will outline a common approach on advocacy, awareness raising and encouraging slavery-free supply and consumption and emphasise the development of shared resources and the pursuit of joint programmes and projects. The declaration would commit to working together, with common aims and unified practices, to bring an end to human trafficking and modern day slavery in England and Wales.

December 9, 2019: Ann Cooney joins us as our Modern Slavery/Anti-Trafficking Coordinator

Ann Cooney joined us today as our new Modern Slavery/Anti-Trafficking Coordinator.  Ann will concentrate on raising awareness in parishes and schools. 

November 21, 2019: PLASP Meeting 

See a report of the meeting here 

November 14, 2019: Newman College, Preston

Caritas Salford Anti-Trafficking presentation on human trafficking and modern day slavery in Lancashire, delivered to around 100 year 12s in three one hour sessions.  With the recent news of 39 Vietnamese dead in a container, the particular focus this year was on trafficking Vietnamese people into cannabis factories and nail bars.  At least some of the those who died were Catholic and from the same province as the Vietnamese victims we have worked with.  We showed the Unchosen film The Trip which is about a young Vietnamese man trafficked into a cannabis factory and when rescued sent to prison for 2 years before being deported.  It still happens that victims are criminalised but hopefully not in Lancashire where this issue is well understood by the Police.  We also showed the Home Office film Modern Day Slavery is Closer Than You Think, along with local information from Police and newspapers, to  raise awareness of the issue and alert pupils to the signs of modern slavery.  This year we used the experiences of the Morecambe Bay cockle picker who survived in 2004 and a woman rescued from a Preston brothel in 2017.  A key feature in the presentation was the Pan Lancashire Anti-Slavery Partnership Freedom Days the most recent one in Blackpool.  Each student was given a card to recognise the signs of human trafficking.  During the lunch period there was a Caritas Anti-Trafficking stall with leaflets and information.

November 13, 2019: In Plain Sight Conference follow on

Zoom meeting between Caritas Salford, CSAN and Arise to agree the way forward,  We will be in touch with delegates shortly. 

November, 4, 2019: Interviews for the post of Modern Day Slavery Co-ordinator



Four candidates were interviewed and we appointed Ann Cooney as our new Modern Slavery/Anti-Trafficking Coordinator

November 1, 2019: Catholic Press Articles

The In Plain Sight Conference featured in the Universe and the Catholic Times

October 28, 2019: Thought for the Day by the Bishop of Burnley

Following the deaths of 30 people in a refrigerated container Philip North, Bishop of Burnley kindly allowed us to use his Thought for the Day script to promote prayer in the Diocese and we have forwarded widely to priests and parishioners.

October 28, 2019: Secret Art – hide to survive

This exhibition of art by trafficked men, at St Chrisostom’s Church, Manchseter was a good opportunity to network and talk.

October 24, 2019: PLASP Meeting

See a report of the meeting here

October 23, 2019: St John’s Ladies Guild (Burnley) 

The Guild is associated with St John the Baptist’s parish church.  The talk covered the the nature of Modern Day Slavery in the UK, what the Catholic Church is doing, and what the people St John’s Guild can do.  As very often happens someone attending came up afterwards to report a suspicious incident which we reported to Lancashire Police

October 17, 2019: Hidden Voices

This event at Manchester Cathedral was hosted by The Very Revd Rogers Govender, Dean of Manchester. 

Hidden Voices was a multi-faith, multi -agency public event which aimed to raise the voices of Manchester’s Hidden victims of Modern Slavery and collectivise the efforts to prevent trafficking and in the City. The event was organised by Manchester Cathedral in collaboration with Stop the Traffik and Greater Manchester Police Modern Slavery Unit. 

We started with an opening speech by Baroness Beverley Hughes, Deputy Mayor who referred to the people of Manchester’s support in the fight against slavery in the 19th century and the scale of the problem today, bigger than it has ever been.  Talking about the hidden crime of Modern Day Slavery she said that: “Each day some people will see those people”, and the key was understanding and informing  ourselves, building bridges into the communities, working together and collaboration. 

Tina Threadgold from Manchester Action on Street Health (MASH) spoke about ‘The Hidden Voices of Migrant Sex Workers’ and Debbie Lloyd of Justice and Care spoke on ‘Saving lives: Breaking the grip of slavery’ and the Victim Navigator Pilot.

We followed the talks with face-to-face cafe conversations with workers and agencies on the front line combating people trafficking and freeing victims. 

As usual with these events networking was an important feature and it was particularly useful to speak with GMP and their recent Victim Navigator appointment.

October 15, 2019: In Plain Sight – A Conference to promote Catholic responses to Modern Day Slavery and Human Trafficking

This Caritas inspired conference, planned and organised by Caritas Anti-Trafficking and the Catholic Social Action Network, was extremely successful with ten speakers keeping to time leaving the full two hours for workshops, plenary and closing address from Cardinal Vincent Nichols.  The Cardinal concluded by saying that the work of this conference was opening the door to the next phase.

See the programmesummary of the day and a press release

From left to right:  Anthony Brown (Caritas Salford Anti-Trafficking), Phil McCarthy (CEO, CSAN), Peter Hugh Smith (CEO, CCLA),  Cardinal Vincent Nichols,  Andrew Adams (Research Assistant: Ethical and Responsible Investment, CCLA),  Sion Hall (Chair, Pan Lancashire Anti-Slavery Partnership), Luke de Pulford (Director, Arise Foundation).

October 12, 2019: Blackpool Roadshow

Another successful roadshow with the Freedom Bus at the Comedy Car Park next to Blackpool Tower,  the largest Soroptimists march so far, and stalls in the Houndshill Shopping Centre.  With a large contingent of Police cadets we probably gave out more leaflets than ever to a very mixed population of residents and visitors from all over the country.

October 7, 2019: Skype meeting with CSAN and CCLA

Anthony Brown (Caritas Anti-Trafficking) and Phil McCarthy and Ged Edwards (CSAN) met to ensure that the final details of the In Plain Sight conference (October 15) were in place.

October 2, 2019, Meeting with Fr Peter Hopkinson

Fr Peter is a a Vicar General, Episcopal Vicar for Dialogue, a trustee of Caritas Salford and formerly Rural Dean of St John Vianney Deanery.  Formerly of St Mary’s Parish, Burnley, Fr Peter supported Caritas Anti-Trafficking with: the 2017 prayer card exercise, the 2018 Day for Life (theme human trafficking) and a Mass for victims of human trafficking celebrated close to the Feast Day of St Bakhita.  

The meeting was an early discussion on developing our strategy to rid the Diocese of Modern Day Slavery by 2025, in advance of our In Plain Sight conference on October 15.

September 25, 2019: PLASP Meeting

See notes of the meeting

September 21, 2019: Lancaster Roadshow

The event was well publicised in advance in the Lancaster Guardian.

Despite bureaucracy problems the day was a success.  The driver of the freedom Bus had commented about people taking photos as it passed by.

Journey to Freedom was sited at St Thomas’ church with the Health Festival and had a throughput of around 80.  A view from the church balcony of the partly dismantled exhibition gives a good impression of the rooms.

12 cadets helped with leaflets.

15 Soroptimists marched from Dalton Square to the Slavery Memorial.

Hop for Justice and PLASP had stalls in the Market Square.

On the Sunday there was a short service on the steps of the Museum in the Market Square followed by a minute’s silence in remembrance of all victims of slavery.

August 27, 2019: Update on Inter-Diocesan Conference on Human Trafficking and Modern Day  Slavery

See below – June 17 and July 5 – for early discussions on this conference which is being organised by the Catholic Social Action Network and sponsored by CCLA Investment Management Limited.

In Plain Sight is on October 15 at CCLA in London.   The conference is aimed at Catholic Dioceses in England and Wales and Catholic charities that can  support a Diocesan approach to tackling Modern Day Slavery at a diocesan and parish level and will look to develop a strategy under the headings of:

  • Church/diocese
  • Parishioners
  • Education, particularly schools and young people
  • Catholic employers and Diocesan supply chains

These themes are inspired by Pastoral Orientations in Human Trafficking.  See an abbreviated version developed for the Conference.

August 22, 2019: Rotary Clitheroe

30 minute presentation to the Rotary Clitheroe Group on the nature and scale of human trafficking, focusing particularly on Lancashire.

July 28, 2019: Victim Support

Today we were privileged to be invited to a dinner party in a Chinese/Korean restaurant by Eli (the name she uses in England).  The full party was 12 Vietnamese adults and children and ourselves, all Catholics.  Eli was trafficked to the UK aged 15 and is now 20.  Our support throughout that period is best described as pastoral with some signposting but perhaps we contributed is some way to where she is now.  She evidently thinks so.  Eli got her leave to remain last year and the good news now is that she has a travel document that will enable her to go to Thailand where she will see her Vietnamese family.  Eli cannot go to Vietnam but her family are able to go to Thailand.    Perhaps one day we will hear the full story but for now the talk is about the future and happy things.

July 25, 2019: PLASP Meeting

West Division now has a liveried vehicle which will have an official launch.  Hopefully there will be funding for one for each of the other two divisions.

Sion Hall shows the Pan Lancashire Anti-Slavery Partnership report and the Freedom Bus, in the  Unseen Helpline Annual Assessment 2018 report

See some more details of the meeting here

July 13, 2019: PLASP and Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioners in Liverpool

We planned to have the Freedom Bus outside the Slavery Museum but the bus had gearbox problems and we had to satisfy ourselves with pictures of the bus.  Still there was lots of interest and we had some good discussions with interested people of many cultural backgrounds.  Moreover, two people expressed concerns about establishments they knew – a car wash and a nail bar.  We gave them information and the Modern Slavery Helpline number and explained what to look for and what to expect from the Helpline.

July 6, 2019: Trafficking input to Salford Diocese Hope in the Future Event

We had the Freedom Bus, the Journey to Freedom and a Caritas Anti-trafficking/PLASP stall.

Sion Hall with Andy Burnham

Sion Hall with Sir Peter Fahy

July 5, 2019: Planning for an inter-diocesan conference on human trafficking

Mark Wiggin, Sion Hall and Anthony Brown met with Sir Peter Fahy to mull over some issues about the role of the Diocese in planning our strategy for a Diocese free of modern day slavery by 2025.  Peter is a member of the board of trustee of Salford  Diocese which takes in Caritas Salford.

We had a wide ranging discussion on how the Catholic Church needs to respond to modern day slavery and  how we might use the inter-diocesan conference in autumn to guide our priorities and actions.

Read more here  

July 5, 2019: Operation Challenger

We have attended the GMP Modern Slavery NGO Forum since its inception in 2016 but GMP’s Programme Challenger is much bigger than that.  GMP’s first serious assault  on organised crime goes back to Project Gulf which was set up by GMP and Salford City Council in 2009.  Project Gulf now involves 20 national and local agencies from probation to immigration enforcement which collaborate to learn everything they can about organised crime and gang members and disrupt every aspect of the lives of those involved.  Project Challenger was launched in 2013, taking in Project Gulf with Operational Challenger teams set up in all 10 districts of Greater Manchester.  Every organised crime group in Greater Manchester was mapped, risk assessed and assigned a disruption plan.  Programme Challenger now comprises: Organised Crime; Modern Slavery; Trapped (which takes in County Lines); Economic Crime; Foreign National Offenders and Offender Management.

It is clear that in formulating our strategy to rid Salford Diocese of Modern Day Slavery by 2025 we need to be more firmly linked with GMP’s Operation Challenger and on July 5 we met Damian Dallimore,  Partnership Lead for Programme Challenger.

Mostly our discussion was sharing what each of us is doing but useful for us:

  • GMP’s Modern Slavery Statement which may be a useful mode for Salford Diocese
  • A direct line to Programme Challenger in the event of us being alerted to potential trafficking situations – we have previously gone via the Modern Slavery Helpline
  • The Trapped campaign to raise awareness of County Lines with young people aims to enable them to identify when someone is trying to exploit them and provide them with safe places to report their concerns. There is useful material available which we can use in Salford Diocese as part of our schools strategy.
  • We will keep in touch and explore ways of working in partnership.

June 29, 2019: Ormskirk Roadshow

Assembling Journey to Freedom

June 20, 2019: PLASP Meeting

See details of some points from the meeting here.

June 17, 2019: Proposal for a joint conference for diocese and parishes on Modern Day Slavery

Telephone meeting with Mark Wiggin (Caritas),  Phil McCarthy (Catholic Social Action Network, Mick Duthie  (Santa Marta Group), Garry Smith (Medaille Trust), and Anthony Brown (Caritas anti-Trafficking) to discuss the aims and an outline programme for a conference in September.  We agreed that the conference should be a Roman Catholic conference aimed at people already involved and should focus on learning from best practice.   We should aim to come away with more of a strategic direction and a greater commitment  to collaboration.  CSAN will take the lead on organisation and the probable location is Birmingham.

June 7 2019: Presentation by Onjali Q. Raúf at Fulwood Methodist Churh

Onjali Q Raúf is an English author and founder of the NGO Making Herstory,   Her début novel, The Boy at the Back of the Class is written through the eyes of a nine year old girl and draws on her own experience delivering emergency aid convoys for refugee families surviving in Calais and Dunkirk. Inspired by a Syrian mother and baby she encountered in a Calais refugee camp, it portrays the refugee crisis through the eyes of a nine year old child.

This extremely stimulating and worthwhile presentation was initiated by Ed Saville via his contact with Fulwood Methodist Church.  Onjali is based in London but travels widely and was already in the area so happy to speak to a small group of PLASP people.

Onjali said very little about her book which is nothing about human trafficking but illustrates Onjali’s ability to communicate serious modern day issues  to young children in an influential but sensitive way.  Onjali’s spoke instead about the work of Making Herstory,  a woman’s rights organisation which aims to take action in whatever way they can, against all forms of abuse directly impacting women and girls.  She focused on the human trafficking element of Making Herstory and educating young children via literature, theatre and art was an inspiration to us at a time when the East Lancashire component of PLASP is contemplating a strategy to free Salford Diocese of modern day slavery by 2025.  Young people must be a central target.  It seems you cannot start too early and primary school children are particularly easy to engage with at a level they can understand.  Caritas Salford has already explored the subject of slavery and primary schools with the Salvation Army and Just Enough and will engage further with Onjali.

Onjali is a practising muslim.  Her experience trying to influence imams and muslim communities to take responsibility for tackling the issue in their midst was revealing and instructive and highlights the difficulties of changing deeply rooted cultural and religious beliefs. In the mosque and the Christian pulpit there is too much emphasis on ritual and worship, a problem captured in the words of Helder Camara, formerly Archbishop of Olinda and Recife, Pernambuco: “God does not accept praise, gifts and honour from those who have no eye or heart for the human family, his sons and daughters of all races, all colours, all languages and creeds”

May 24, 2019: Meeting with Libre Solutions

This meeting between Mark Wiggin (Caritas), Anthony and Mary Brown (Caritas Anti-Trafficking), and Gary Spratt and Paul Miller (Libre Solutions) was to learn more about the issue of modern day slavery in supply chains  and the need for awareness in Salford Diocese.  We explored the potential for an input by Libre Solutions which includes: procurement policy, ethical investment policy, mandatory advice on money laundering and list of trusted suppliers.

May 23, 2019: PLASP Meeting

The meeting covered: upcoming roadshows, trafficking incidences in 2019, the PLASP Toolkit, the extension of the Clewer Initiative, the Independent Review of the Modern Slavery Act and the latest PLASP newsletter.

See details of some points from the meeting here.

May 14, 2019: Marc Pearson, Medaille Trust Community Engagement Co-ordinator

Marc is a new appointment with the Medaille Trust.  I briefed him on the work of PLASP and Caritas Anti-Trafficking and he updated me on changes in the Medaille Trust.  The Diocesan Funding Representatives (DHRs)  have been replaced with Anti Slavery Envoys who are bank workers.  The main change is that the envoys are used  when needed rather than employ them to create their own workloads.  Richard Owens who was my contact with the Medaille Trust has left the now defunct post of Fund Raising Officer and is one of the envoys.  Marc Pearson is now my contact with the Medaille Trust and will replace Richard as a representative on PLASP

May 9, 2018: Onward Homes’ Avenham Awareness Event

This initiative organised by Onward Homes and Preston City Council aimed to reach out to a local community by bringing awareness of support services to their doorstep.  The event was on a small car park between 2.00 pm and 4.00 pm and had stalls from Onward Homes, Operation Genga, Lancashire Victim Services, Lancashire Police,  Disability Equality North West, and PLASP.  With fine drizzle and a slight breeze the gazebo wasn’t quite enough to keep our leaflets dry but there was an impressive amount of enthusiasm and the residents who came along spent quite some time visiting the stalls and having conversations with the organisations.

May 8, 2018: GMP Modern Slavery NGO Forum

This was Hannah Flint’s last forum as she handed over to Tom.  We had a summary of what the Challenger Modern Slavery Coordination Unit has achieved since its inception at the start of 2016.  We had interesting input about Stop the Traffik and the International Data Hub  to Combat Human Trafficking  which  facilitates the exchange of human trafficking information, allowing a multi-agency, intelligence-led approach to preventing human trafficking globally.

It’s quite hard to summarise the discussion in small groups that followed  about requirements for data collection and future action,  but some useful thoughts were: the need for a national non-Police push for awareness and action with more publicity on the Helpline; a greater understanding of current awareness of the issue and public preparedness to act; and ways to overcome reluctance to report via third party reporting or neighbourhood watch type approaches.   It brought home strongly the need to penetrate communities more and understand more about the nature and extent of communities and attitudes to perpetrators and victims.

May 3, 2019: Discussion of a joint conference on Modern Day Slavery

This was a pre-meeting between Mark Wiggin (Caritas), Sion Hall (PASP), and Anthony Brown (Caritas Anti-Trafficking) to draw up an outline inter-diocesan conference programme for wider discussion.

April 25, 2018: PLASP Meeting

An update from partners.  See the notes on some of the main points.

April 24, 2018: A diocese free of slavery by 2025 – some problems and solutions

Two separate discussions with Sister Bridie Dowd and Mark Wiggin have highlighted issues about our plans to free Salford Diocese of modern slavery by 2025.  Problems have solutions but only if the problems are correctly understood.  Three are worthy of particular note.

Catholic Social Teaching has been termed the Catholic Church’s best kept secret despite many papal encyclicals going back to Pope Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum,  “Of New Things” (1891).  Pope Francis’ two major works – Evangelii Guadium, the Joy of the Gospels (2013) and Laudato Si’, On Care for Our Common Home (2015)  emphasise two themes in particular.  They are reflected recently in the words of Bishop John: In response to what is happening in the world Pope Francis made it clear from the onset of his pontificate that the two central themes of his pontificate would be care for the poor and care for nature. Both are linked and Pope Francis refers to human trafficking as one of the extreme consequences of not caring sufficiently for our environment and for the marginalised, persecuted and exploited.  Catholics who see these central themes as core to their faith, and the very essence of a missionary church, are in the minority.  Hope in the Future, the Salford Diocese response to Pope Francis’ call to be a missionary church, was launched with a pastoral letter in October 2017.  Now in its second year, few parishioners have any understanding of what it means.  If we are to win Catholic hearts and minds on the issue of human trafficking it needs to be in the context of each one of us becoming a missionary disciple, putting words into actions and caring for the victims of human trafficking.  We link our 2025 target with Hope in the Future but for that to have any meaning Hope in the Future needs to be promoted much more vigorously by the Diocese and the parishes.

At a personal level Hope in the Future means recognising that an essential part of developing  a personal relationship with God is developing a  relationship with the whole of humanity.   People tend to see these two things as separate, the former more natural and more comfortable than the latter.  In fact the more comfortable part is the way Catholics have been traditionally taught and what constitutes most of what we hear from the pulpit.    Pope Francis however speaks of structural sin –indifference to the poor, the marginalised and the exploited, with no recognition of personal complicity in perpetuating a system that benefits us at the expense of the most vulnerable.  Catholics need to reposition themselves in their Faith and adjust the balance of devotion to God and compassion for humanity.  The words of St Athenaseus  For the Son of God became man so that we might become God reflects much more than a self interested route to personal salvation.  They are about thinking and behaving like Jesus.  We attempted to capture this in the 2019 Lenten reflections accompanying our anti-trafficking stations of the cross in Our Lady of the Valley Parish.   As we reflected on the passion of Christ we tried also to do what Jesus asks of us and share the pain and anguish of those trapped in modern day slavery.  It is in this spirit that our 2025 becomes more realistic – emphasising with trafficking victims and hurting for them with a heartfelt passion.

For five years we have been promoting anti-trafficking  to groups of adults and in schools in the belief that increased awareness will lead to people reporting suspicious signs to the authorities.   However there is an increasing realisation that an essential part of public  awareness is the employers and employees who actually rub shoulders with modern day slaves, albeit in ignorance.  Modern day slavery is a crime hidden in plain sight.   The Modern Slavery Act (2015) includes a requirement for employers in the private sector with a turnover of more than £36m to make a statement about what they are doing to ensure that their supply chains are free of modern day slavery.  The Public Sector will soon have to make the same  requirement.    Hope for Justice offers advice and an invitation to join their Slave Free Alliance.   On March 28 (see entry below on this webpage) PLASP held a business event to alert employers to the issue and Libre Solutions, a not-for-profit organisation that we work with, presented on the issue and what they offer employers.   It isn’t just large companies that need concern themselves, any company that uses agency staff, subcontracts, or has a supply chain, is a potential user of modern slavery and potentially at risk of litigation.  This of course includes Salford Diocese and every single parish within it.  Apart from obviating any risk, a diocese that is transparently doing all it can to be free of slavery in contractors and supply chains gives out a strong message to its parishioners about the seriousness of the issue and the importance of doing something about it.  Such a message should influence the 40,000 plus regular Mass attenders many of whom are either employees or employers.  With 2025 in mind this is something we will be taking up with the Diocese in the context of its already major concerns about safeguarding, ethical standards and its public image.

April 9, 2019: Anti-Trafficking Day at the Prayer Centre, Formby

Sister Isabel presenting at Formby

This event was organised by Sister Nora Coughlan who wanted to follow through from the CoREW anti-trafficking meeting in Manchester on January 26.   Those attending were Religious, priests and lay people from across the region.

Bernadette Kehoe, Communications & Development Lead, Conference of Religious, introduced the meeting and spoke about the enormous amount of good work on anti-trafficking being done by Religious and documented in the Arise Foundation report Threads of Solidarity.

Brother Francis from the Medaille Trust spoke about how the Medaille Trust was founded as a charity in 2006 by a group of religious congregations and has now grown to be the biggest provider of safe houses in the UK and possibly Europe.  The National Referral Mechanism funds victim support for 45 days but because of generous funding, much of it by Religious, the Medaille are able to offer extended provision in many cases.

Sister Isabel of the Franciscan Convent in Blackburn was one of the founders of the Medaille Trust and has been campaigning and raising awareness on human trafficking for twelve years.  Her presentation featured a series of heart rending and extreme examples of the worst forms of human trafficking, some from personal experience with the victims.   She also talked about the PLASP Freedom Bus and volunteering on it

Anthony Brown of Caritas, Diocese of Salford spoke about the work of Caritas Anti-Trafficking which started as a parish group in the Parish of Our Lady of the Valley in 2004, and though still based in Clitheroe, it has been a Caritas service since 2005.

Those attending were asked to reflect on what they had learned from the day and what they would be taking away as commitment to action.

See the CoREW website for a fuller report of the day.

April 3, 2018: Telephone meeting with Hope at Home

Sion Hall and Anthony Brown (PLASP and Caritas Anti-Trafficking) met with Jerad Hodgson of Hope at Home.

Hope at Home is a West Midlands based charity which facilitates a voluntary, adult to adult, living arrangement between hosts and survivors exiting safe houses.   Hope at Home partners with many of the main victim support organisations.  They currently have 15 hosts in different parts of the UK, and 5 survivors who have remained with their host for periods of up to 12 months.  The responsibility of the host is to provide accommodation.  The professional support that victims need comes from specialists via Hope at Home.  Hope at Home estimates a current need for hosts amounting to 500, given the number of people exiting the NRM without accommodation and often without any legal right to remain in the country.

We will invite Hope at Home to a future PLASP meeting. They seek both hosts and referrals.  It is likely that a small number of victims in Lancashire will need the kind of services offered. We would also hope there will be potential hosts amongst the the large number of people we have access to via the Christian communities in Lancashire and Greater Manchester.

April 2, 2019: The Way of the Cross interlinked with the experiences of victims of human trafficking (St Mary’s, Sabden)

These Stations of the Cross are by Mary O’Malley, Project Coordinator – Human Trafficking at the Medical Missionaries of Mary (MMM).  They are Mary’s experience of encounter with them.  All names are changed but the circumstances and gender are real people.  You can see the full text here.

We started with that wonderful hymn Inspired by Love and Anger

Inspired by love and anger, disturbed by need and pain, 
Informed of God’s own bias we ask him once again: 
“How long must some folk suffer? How long can few folk mind? 
How long dare vain self interest turn prayer and pity blind?”

See more

Between the stations we heard a short piece from Simon and Garfunkel’s Sounds of Silence.

Thank you to Peter and Susan for White for their part in organising the stations and in particular for their management of the music.

March 29, 2019: PLASP Meeting

An update from partners.  See the notes of some of the main points

March 28, 2019: PLASP Business Event

Sion Hall introduces the Business Event

See notes of some of the main points

March 27, 2019: Meeting with the Clewer Initiative and Cumbria

The meeting was to exchange views and ideas between PLASP partners and Clewer, and Churches Together (Cumbria) and Safer Cumbria.  See the notes of some of the main points

March 25, 2019: Love Clitheroe

Anthony Brown spoke to a mixed Christian group at St Mary of Magdalene’s Church in Clitheroe, about the Catholic Diocese of Salford’s aim to free the Diocese of human trafficking and modern day slavery by 2025.  Following background on the nature and number of modern day slaves worldwide and in the UK, Anthony outlined why he thought the target was realistic focusing in particular on the changing direction of the Catholic Church as Pope Francis guides us towards becoming a “poor church for the poor”.

March 22, 2019: Hope for Justice Conference

An uplifting experience at the opening night of the 2019 Hope for Justice Conference.

Prior to the opening we had a useful two hours with members of the Global Executive Team, mostly with Tim Nelson,  International Development Director and then Neil Wain, International Programme Director.  We took a number of things away but notably: the importance of identifying and working with passionate people; reinforcing our efforts to link with prayer and the gospel; and targeting people as employees rather than the public.  We also met Elaine Jones, International Operations Director who was our original contact, and Lynn Kay, Ethiopia Director, who came with Retrak when Retrak became part of Hope for Justice.

Caritas Salford will fix a formal meeting with Tim Nelson to see how we might work together on our strategy to free the Diocese of modern day slavery by 2025.

March 22, 2019: Meeting with Libre Solutions

A useful informal discussion with Gary Spratt and Paul Miller about the importance of targeting employers at an early stage in our strategy to rid Salford Diocese of Modern Slavery by 2025.  Libre Solutions offer a service to employers to help them assess and tackle the risks in their organisation.  Any employer is potentially at risk even if they are too small to require a Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement.  The Diocese of Salford contracts with a very large number of suppliers and as an initial step we will organise a formal meeting with Caritas.

March 8, 2019: AFRUCA/Manchester City Partnership Project 

Fabiola Bayavuge, Modern Slavery Coordinator for a Partnership Project between AFRUCA and Manchester City Council, introduced herself at the recent GMP Modern Slavery Forum.  We met at the Cathedral Centre  to discuss how we might help each other.

Fabiola’s project aims to help prevent and disrupt Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking across Manchester, focusing on communities.    Fabiola has recruited and trained 15 Community Champions,  including individuals from Africa, Asia, Europe and the UK,  who conduct tailored awareness programmes according to culture and language skills.   Awareness covers all types of trafficking, how to spot the signs of Modern Slavery and how to report instances.  The aim is to identify victims and safeguard thousands of people across Greater Manchester.  So far a number of ethnic communities have been targeted including two Roma communities but also supporting organisations e.g. ESOL training and Safeguarding.

Targeting communities is an important aspect of awareness raising and this project recognises the need to invest more resource in it.  From our perspective it is an important link which can contribute to our target of freeing Salford Diocese of Modern Slavery by 2025.  We hope that we can direct Fabiola to homeless and refugee communities via Caritas services and associated charities.

February 28, 2019: PLASP Meeting

Update from partners including Operation Aidant, National Update, the Table Top Exercise, training, a business event, and other things.  See a fuller report.

February 26, 2019: Meeting with Home Start

We met with Julie Raine, Senior Coordinator, Home-Start, Pendle and Ribble Valley, based in Nelson.  They are a potentially useful contact for PLASP Victim Support as they come across possible instances of forced marriage which could be referred to East Lancashire Police or the Modern Slavery Helpline.  We will keep in touch as PLASP develops its Victim Care Pathway.

February 20, 2019: Our Lady of the Valley Parish Forum

Ten minute presentation covering a range of things since we started in October 2014.  See the PowerPoint.

  • Traffik Jam concert, October 2014
  • Detective Chief Inspector, Sion Hall, of East Lancashire Police, Anti-Trafficking
  • Pan Lancashire Anti-Slavery Partnership (PLASP), August 2018
  • Anti-Trafficking Question Time, Clitheroe, October 2016
  • A talk to Anglicans in Lancaster, June 2018
  • Oldham FM Radio, September 2018
  • Blackbirds at Dawn rehearsal, August 2017
  • Corpus Christi High School, Preston, February 2016
  • Anti-Trafficking Question Time, Edmund Rice Schools, Crosby, March 2018
  • Thorneyholme Primary School, Dunsop Bridge, June 2017
  • East Lancashire Newspapers, 2016
  • Operation Magician, November 2017
  • Supporting a Vietnamese Trafficking Victim, February 2018
  • Prayer Cards and Leaflets in churches throughout two East Lancashire Deaneries, 2016
  • Day for Life, June 17 2018
  • The Freedom Bus and a Pan Lancashire Freedom Day, September 2018
  • The Journey to Freedom audio visual, September 2018
  • A pledge to end human trafficking, September 2018

February 15, 2019: Table Top Event, Lancashire Police Headquarters

Around 80 delegates representing mostly NGOs and statutory bodies attended

Introduction and speakers:

  • Clive Gunshaw, Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Lancashire.
  • Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire PCC, National Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) Lead for Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery, and Chair of the National Anti-Trafficking and Modern Slavery Network (NATMSN) [via video]
  • Joanne Edwards, Assistant Chief Constable, Lancashire Constabulary
  • Sion Hall ex DCI Trafficking, East Lancashire Police, and Pan Lancashire Anti-Slavery Partnership Lead
  • Beth Coggan-Lennox, Unseen Modern Slavery Helpline Supervisor
  • Sir Peter Fahy, QPM, formerly Chief Constable, Greater Manchester Police

Three scenarios followed with questions and plenaries facilitated by Peter Fahey.

The afternoon ended with questions to a panel

See a report of the day

February 11, 2019: PLASP Faith Sub Group

Updates from the Clewer Initiative (Anglican), Caritas Anti-trafficking (Catholic) and PLASP with contributions from the Salvation Army and the Romanian Orthodox Church. For more details see a report of some of the main points

February 8, 2019: GMP Modern Slavery NGO Forum

The meeting covered: update from GMP; Unseen Modern Slavery Helpline; the Slave Free Alliance; Bright Futures; Tameside Rough Sleeper Survey.  For more details see a report of some of the main points.

February 7, 2019: Sabden Baptists Church

This was a one hour talk with questions by Anthony and Mary Brown, focusing on the local situation and what  people can do to become more aware and act.

February 1, 2019: Trafficking Talk at Probus (Burnley)

This was a one hour talk with questions, by Anthony and Mary Brown, focusing on the local situation and what  people can do to become more aware and act.  We discussed two follow on possibilities: a talk with a local church; and an article in a Probus magazine.

January 26, 2019: Conference of Religious at Manchester University

Retired Detective Chief Inspector with Lancs Constabulary, Sion Hall,  tells the meeting about some of the victims he has assisted.

Three years ago police in Lancashire noticed that among an influx of Romanians was a man called Gabriel Razvan Ursu, a career criminal with convictions for theft, fraud and running prostitutes.

Brothels started to spring up in the east of the county and officers began to watch houses in Blackburn and Burnley which were being used by Ursu. After they discovered that he had travelled to Luton to collect a “new girl” from the airport they raided his Burnley terr­ace, and there they found Ursu with Maria.

There was not much else in the house. It was generally bare but for a bed laid out for sex, with wipes, condoms and so on. In fact, Maria had so few possessions that she was taken away wearing a scruffy tracksuit and a plastic bag – and she had absolutely no idea where she was. When she entered Britain she had become one of tens of thousands of trafficking victims believed to be at work in the UK.

She had been tricked into prostitution by an uncle and once in the hands of criminal gangs there was no escape. She was tattooed to designate her as property, moved between brothels in Germany and France, and was sometimes traded between gangs, once for just an iPhone with a cracked screen.

Her final handler, Ursu, was eventually jailed for three years by a judge in Preston Crown Court for running brothels and was to be extradited on release. Maria was also repatriated to Romania, where she received assistance from Christian groups working against the modern slave trade.

The Conference of Religious (COR) seeks to be a dynamic and proactive presence of Church, particularly with those on the margins of society.

It aims to unite its membership in collaborative initiatives translating gospel vision into reality, and to offer support to those in positions of leadership.

January 26, 2019: Trafficking Talk at the Xaverian Mission Spirituality Centre (formerly Tabor), Preston

The event was Donna Worthington’s retreat about St Brigid: The Fire, the Well and the Cloak.  St Brigid was born into slavery in Ireland in the fifth century and attributed with a life given to the poor.  In a one hour talk focusing on Preston and recent sexual exploitation cases, Anthony Brown made links between qualities attributed to St Brigid and our Christian response to modern day slavery.

January 24, 2019: PLASP Meeting

  • Operation Aidant is co-ordinated by the National Crime Agency (NCA). The operation is run nationally every year and involves local police forces working alongside partner agencies to focus on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking. The Week of Action in Lancashire starting January 28 will target the homeless to alert them to the danger of being trafficked but also to get some data on sex, nationality, offers of work.  Volunteers will work in Preston, Blackburn, Burnley, Blackpool,  Morecambe and Lancaster.  For Monday only (Preston) hairdressing is on offer.  There may be health support, either direct or via signposting, in Blackburn (Wednesday), and hand warmers will be distributed at all locations.
  • Partners are asked to encourage trained staff (one hour training) to cascade to colleagues. An encouraging number of NGOs and statutory bodies have signed up for the longer training.  Advertising is via safeguarding boards and the aim is to train 2,000 staff by 2019
  • The number of victims identified has increased since the inception of PLASP and now we need to turn attention to supporting victims
  • The Merseyside partnership wants to use the Freedom Bus
  • The first PLASP newsletter has been issued. The view is that the two page newsletter should provide the model for issues every  two months or perhaps quarterly
  • The Table Top exercise (victims scenarios) is planned for February 15 and partners are invited to attend
  • A business event is planned for the private sector with some supermarkets signed up. The hope is that if big companies take part in such events, the idea may snowball with other companies joining.  Small companies might sign up to a half day compared with the full day event.  Suppliers of e.g. NHS should be targeted and Lancashire Constabulary has looked at its own practice of using car washes
  • Compensation for victims of exploitation is an issue being looked at under National Minimum Wages legislation
  • The next Faith Sub-Group meeting is at the Blackburn Diocesan Officers on 11 February at 2.00 pm
  • Hope at Home is a new charity that provides supportive accommodation for post NRM victims with a Conclusive Grounds Decision and may be of interest to PLASP’s victim care aspirations
  • A Radio 4 programme, The Romanian Wave highlights the large number of Romanians in this country and their vulnerability to exploitation.  It also points up their low wage expectations. One individual was content with £4.50 per hour, enough to send over £800 a month back home by living in cheap and no doubt substandard accommodation.

January 18, 2019: Libre Solutions

Libre Solutions is a not for profit company driven by the desire to abolish Modern Slavery and end the exploitation of vulnerable human beings. One of its focus points the private sector compliance, offering training and advice to enable businesses to meet an ethical and legal requirement to ensure they do all they can to prevent labour abuse and slavery within their operation and supply chains.

See a report of the meeting 

January 18, 2019: Fieldings Porter Solicitors

Although Fieldings Porter don’t do immigration there are  potential  services for victim support which support workers may not be aware of:

  • Criminal Defence – sometimes a “criminal” is in fact a victim
  • Criminal Justice Compensation /Personal Injury – where a victim suffers the effects of physical and mental trauma either directly or indirectly a result of action of a perpetrator
  • Employment – in cases of exploitation where a victim has not received their financial entitlement
  • Professional negligence – where for example poor professional advice/service led to a detrimental outcome and unjustified monetary outlay
  • Family – would include e.g. divorce/dissolution of forced marriage
  • Care proceedings – acting on behalf of victims where the local authority is concerned about a child’s welfare
  • Housing and homelessness – where a victim should be higher on priority listing for accommodation

See full report of the meeting

January 4, 2019: Victim Support

“I have been granted [leave] to stay in the UK.  Thank you very much for your help.  I’m so happy.”  It has taken three years for our young Vietnamese trafficked victim, now 18,  to achieve legal status to remain in the UK.  How much we influenced that decision it’s impossible to say.  However, much credit must go to Fr Xavier, our Vietnamese Refugee priest, and his statements to tribunals about the dangerous situation she would face if returned to Vietnam.  Also, Fr Dermot Heakin provided a huge amount of pastoral support and made the referral to Caritas Anti-Trafficking.

There are many lessons learned from this particular case.

December 17, 2018: Meeting with Sean Ryan, National Caritas Community Sponsorship Coordinator for Refugees

A meeting to discuss common ground.  Knowing each other’s remit on the two interrelated issues of refugees and human trafficking can only help promote better awareness of both.

December 13, 2018: PLASP meeting

  • A recent report showed a significant increase in referrals to the NRM during 2018, notably via the NHS, but the figures are skewed by County Lines.
  • More than any aspect of policing, partnerships are important in combating human trafficking.
  • Biggest areas of trafficking in Lancashire are sexual exploitation, forced labour and cannabis factories.
  • However a recent major operation – Operation Reynard (see Police Facebook) – on cannabis factories, resulting in the conviction of 16 men, did not involve trafficking. One of the convicted had put in a strong defence case that he was a victim which was taken seriously but eventually dismissed on sound evidence to the contrary.  A growing difficulty with cannabis factories is that criminals have learned that this sort of defence can be used successfully.
  • Blackpool is a place where more work needs to be done. There isn’t the same degree of intelligence as elsewhere in Lancashire, rented accommodation can be suspect, and there is a transient population.  The hotel industry is an area where exploitation has been shown to exist though so far without convictions for human trafficking.
  • Potential victims include 18 Duty to Notify individuals in 2018 of which 50% are sexual exploitation where the victims refused to testify. One NRM sexual exploitation victim has been taken into Adult Foster Care which is a very positive development.  This victim has agreed to testify which will make for a useful case history in due course.
  • A number of elements were raised to improve victim care: Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC); safeguarding boards; Special Points of Contact (SPOCs); research (e.g. numbers and features of victims); panels of professionals for assessment of need; a bespoke service that could be small, inexpensive and free of bureaucracy.
  • Training is proceeding well: Toolkit launched;  training for trainers expected soon; one hour training accessible via Eventbrite; seven full days booked for agency training.
  • Twitter is up and running with 1,500 hits on the Freedom Bus. It has 90 followers including Unseen, PCC, Lancashire Constabulary, NHS and UCLAN
  • A West Yorkshire Partnership Table Top Exercise with scenarios provides the model for a Lancashire one which will be chaired by Peter Fahy. It is aimed currently at NGOs and the Public Sector rather than the Private Sector but we are aware of the importance of engaging with the Private Sector.
  • A PLASP first newsletter is soon to be released covering news and achievements and is to be shared widely.
  • Although there is soon to be a trafficking SPOC in all jobcentres the DWP are unable to help unless victims are supported by public funding. They therefore need urgent notification of Leave to Remain.

December 10, 2018: Civil Justice Centre, Manchester

Our Vietnamese asylum seeker attended her appeal hearing for the third time on 4 September, after two earlier adjournments, with a positive judgement a couple of weeks later.  However the Home Office, who hadn’t attended the hearing, appealed against it on a point of law.  In this case the victim hadn’t received an NRM reasonable grounds decision and the Home Office argued that a judge could not overrule that decision and accept trafficking as grounds for granting Leave to Remain.  Counsel argued that precedent had outdated the Home Office position.

We now await the judge’s ruling.

December 7, 2018: Case Study of a man trafficked from Poland

One never knows the impact of awareness raising events so it was good to learn that someone who had attended our conference back in February 2017 had responded by supporting a trafficked victim from Poland.  We met to hear more.  On the evening of the conference, listening to her Polish TV channel, she learned about a victim on human trafficking whom she thought might welcome support from someone fluent in both English and Polish.   She approached the TV channel without expectations and was surprised when the man contacted her.  It’s impossible to gauge the extent to which her intervention changed anything but it was certainly appreciated and the last she heard he was settled in work and accommodation back in Poland.

November 26, 2018: PLASP Victim Care Sub Group

In the next few weeks we can expect a list of Single Points of Contacts (SPOCS) for every jobcentre in Lancashire.

The Habitual Residency Test creates a problem for victims of human trafficking who do not meet the statutory requirements.  People forced to work illegally in the UK aren’t entitled to benefits even if they have been trafficked.   It is an issue which needs to be addressed and discussions are underway with the Department for Work and Pensions.

So far in Lancashire In 2018 around 80 potential victims of human trafficking have been identified.  This includes NRM referrals and Duty to Notify (DTN) referrals e.g. victims of sex trafficking who will not testify or acknowledge they are victims when they are rescued.  Lancashire Police are pursuing the idea of a Virtual Victim Panel to monitor and support victims who are still in the system including those now residing in other parts of  the  country and those residing here having come from elsewhere.

The City Heart/Coop Bright Future programme now has 15 companies prepared to give non competitive employment interviews to victims of human trafficking.

There was discussion on the issue of destitute failed asylum seekers needing accommodation.  One possibility is for people to offer a room or for landlords with accommodation for four people to offer one free for a destitute asylum seeker.

In the same vein a new charity, Hope at Home, recently contacted Caritas Anti-Trafficking.  Hope at Home’s mission is to: fight the cycle of human trafficking in the UK by preventing survivor homelessness and re-trafficking. Every survivor in the UK to be offered a place with Hope at Home hosts. Providing survivors with the opportunity to lead healthy, resilient, independent lives and able to bring hope to others. They are nationwide and so far have around 12 hosts prepared to take victims of trafficking into their homes.

Lancashire Victim Services is a charity to support victims of domestic violence and will consider the impact of trafficking in taking potential referrals.  Services include  non-judgemental emotional support as well as practical help with issues including personal safety, housing and benefits.

November 24, 2018: PLASP Freedom Day (Roadshow) in Preston

The Journey to Freedom Experience was situated at the top of Orchard Street (near to the old Squires/Iceland/old market) which is outside the newly renovated Market Hall.  This provided the focal point for all to meet and was an excellent position which attracted a lot of attention.

The Freedom Bus started at the Cenotaph from where it made its way to Preston North End.

We had two two stalls situated in the St Georges Centre and one at the Railway Station.

Unseen, the Charity that runs the Modern Slavery Helpline, supported the event by tweeting live tweets on TWITTER.

The Soroptimists lead a Freedom March from 1.00 pm starting from the Journey to Freedom Experience location and taking a route around the town centre carrying modern slavery placards.


November 22, 2018: Goodbye to Fr Xavier

We had lunch with Fr Xavier at Our Lady and St Gerard’s Church in Lostock Hall to bid him farewell.  We hope we can keep in touch with him at Ampleforth to where he is returning in two weeks time. See the article in the Lancashire Post

November 20, 2018: Fr Jonathon Cotton, St Mary’s, Leyland

Meeting with Fr Jonathan, partly to talk about the upcoming Anti-Trafficking Freedom Day in Preston on Sunday, but also to engage in a long outstanding discussion on how to engage the clergy and laity in tackling modern day slavery.

November 15, 2018: Cardinal Newman School, Preston

Caritas Salford Anti-Trafficking presentation on human trafficking and modern day slavery in Lancashire, focusing particularly on sexual exploitation, delivered  to around 150 year 12s in three 55 minute sessions.  The presentation used the Unchosen film Let’s Talk about Sex and the Home Office/Unchosen film Modern Day Slavery is Closer Than You Think, along with local information from Police and newspapers, to  raise awareness of the issue and alert pupils to the signs of modern slavery.  A key feature in the presentation was the Pan Lancashire Anti-Slavery Partnership Freedom Days (formerly termed “roadshows”), the most recent one in Blackburn and the next in Preston on November 24.   Each student was given a card to recognise the signs of human trafficking, and handouts about car washes and nail bars.  During the lunch period there was a Caritas Anti-Trafficking stall with leaflets and information.

November 12, 2018: Meeting of Caritas Salford, Pan Lancashire Anti-Slavery Partnership, the Santa Marta Group and the Medaille Trust.

See the notes of the meeting

November 11, 2018: Celebrating Volunteers of the Diocese

Mary and Anthony Brown, Caritas Anti-Tafficking volunteers, attended this event at Guardian Angels, Bury.  Anthony Brown spoke for ten minutes about their anti-trafficking activities from 2014 to 2018.

November 8, 2018: PLASP Faith Sub Group

Ed Saville updated us on the Clewer Initiative learning and networking event at Bishopthorpe Palace on 24th October.

Modern slavery lessons have been created by The Clewer Initiative and Just Enough Group as a way to share resources for schools. There are lesson plans for primary and secondary schools, focused on helping children and young people learn what modern slavery is, and how they can help raise awareness about it.

The Anglican Diocese of Derby with Clewer is probably leading the field in tackling modern day slavery so it is very encouraging for us that Bishop Alastair Redfern is so impressed with our Freedom Bus.

Ed Saville updated us on plans for Freedom Day (formerly referred to as a roadshow) at Preston on 24  and 25  November with plans for service on Sunday at a Methodist church.  There will be lots of white ribbons about because the 25th is White Ribbon Day an international initiative established by men to end all forms of violence against women and girls. The White Ribbon flag will fly above County Hall from Sunday to mark the beginning of the 16 days of action to help to end gender-based violence.  Read more at:

October 1, 2018: Journey to Freedom exhibition and a talk to 150 year 11s at Cardinal Allen School, Fleetwood

Due to flooding in the school,  the chapel  wasn’t ready to receive the Journey to Freedom exhibition (formerly termed the mobile human trafficking exhibition) until this week.  Journey to Freedom is a 15 minute audio-visual walk-through of eight rooms featuring stories of domestic servitude, sexual exploitation and labour exploitation.  The exhibition will stay until Friday and as well as accommodating school pupils the exhibition will be available on some evenings for parents and other adults. The event has been advertised in the local churches.

Today Anthony Brown spoke for an hour at assembly to 150 year 11s.  He covered human trafficking from the perspectives of our complicity in using goods produced by slaves in other countries; and the need to be alert and act to combat trafficking on our doorstep.  The  talk was an introduction to the Journey to Freedom for older pupils who had an open invitation to visit the exhibition during class time.  Other arrangements are in place for younger pupils.

The pictures show the exhibition arriving and being erected in the chapel.


September 30, 2018: St Patrick’s church, Collyhurst, Manchester

We attended this Vietnamese Mass with the Vietnamese trafficking victims we have travelled with on their journey to refugee status.  One has made it and the other only needs Home Office agreement following a positive decision by the tribunal judge.  We understand this situation arose because the Home Office did not attend the tribunal and have the right therefore to appeal the judge’s decision.  Fr Xavier concelebrated the Mass with another Vietnamese priest from Birmingham.

September 29/30, 2018: St James the Less, Rawtenstall

Anthony Brown spoke at the 6.30 pm Mass on the Saturday, and the 8.30 am and 10.30 am Masses on Sunday.  See a copy of the talk.  St James the Less parishioners were particularly responsive and with well chosen hymns, and well chosen words from the Parish Priest, Canon Tony McBride, the Mass was a clarion call for action.

This was a follow on from June 17 (Day for Life – theme: Human Trafficking) and we gave out cards to those who hadn’t received them on the day or who had mislaid them.

We also trialled an idea by Meriel Woodward to have parishioners sign a pledge to pray, be aware and act.  See a copy of the pledge.   We obtained 76 signatures suggesting that there is great potential here to get Catholics to commit to effective action requiring minimal effort.

Note the commitment made by senior law enforcement officers from around the world at the first Vatican conference on human trafficking in 2014.

September 24, 2018: Evensong at Blackburn Cathedral

A special evensong on the theme of modern day slavery to follow the Freedom Day

September 23, 2018: PLASP Roadshow in Blackburn

The Freedom Bus

The Journey to Freedom Exhibition

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

September 21, 2018:  PLASP

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

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

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

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

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

September 19, 2018: Preparing the Freedom Bus

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 15, 2018: Caritas Reps Workshop

Around 20 reps attended the workshop which was an opportunity to talk about trafficking and revisit June 17.  A show of hands indicated that most of the reps in the room were from parishes where our initiative had featured in some way.  The cards had been distributed according to plan.

September 4, 2018: Victim Support

Our Vietnamese asylum seeker attended her appeal hearing for the third time, the case previously having been adjourned on August 8, 2017 and exactly a year later on August 8, 2018.  The appeal was finally heard today and we now await the result.

There is always something to learn from these tribunals:

  • She had failed to reach an NRM reasonable grounds decision in 2014 and her solicitor at the time had advised her against appealing that decision.  However, with her current solicitor, she is still pursuing a case based on human trafficking with success considered to be 50:50
  • Even with a positive assessment of human trafficking the Home Office wisdom is that safeguarding can be achieved in Vietnam, something Fr Xavier, our Vietnamese refugee priest, and witness, hotly contests.
  • There was no Home Office presence on this occasion which greatly reduced the number of questions asked of the appellant and witnesses.  It meant that the judge had less information to consider but  whether or not that worked in the interests of the victim wasn’t clear.
  • In tribunals, Inconsistency and incredibility challenge honesty.  We find that compared with the Police the Home Office are less open minded and  less willing to put inconsistency down to stress and fear of authority.

September 3, 2018: Oldham FM

The invitation to speak on Oldham FM was a direct result of a Day for Life talk at St Aiden’s and St Owald’s, Royton, a valuable spin off from the June 17 initiative.  The programme was broadcast live at 11.00 am on September 3 when Anthony spoke about the growing awareness of human trafficking from the 2004 Morecambe Bay Cockle Pickers tragedy to the present time.  Although there is much greater awareness and Police action now,  a great deal more is needed from the public.   Anthony referred to a talk by Bishop Patrick Lynch of Southwark in 2014 when he outlined his own journey to action in Four Steps: Being Aware, Being Convinced, Being Compassionate and Being Collaborative.   It is difficult to move people from being aware to being convinced that the issue is as huge as it is and on their doorstep;  more difficult still to get them to the final stage of collaboration with Police and alerting them to something that doesn’t look right and probably isn’t.   The message of the programme was the need for listeners to heed the signs and act by calling the National Slavery Helpline number 08000 121 700

August 30, 2018: Lee House Centre for Mission Awareness

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

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

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

August 28, 2018: PLASP

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

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

August 3, 2018: Some reflections following June 17

We put a lot of effort into the build up to June 17 but it is difficult to know how much impact we have had.

In the build up to June 17 we communicated and publicised widely:

  • Apart from the two deans we know well we had personal meetings with five of the other six deans and spoke at three deanery meetings
  • There are around 100 Caritas representatives in the Diocese who promote the charitable work of Caritas in their parishes. We spoke about Day for Life at one their meetings with an attendance of around 25 and the message was communicated to all via email
  • Four newssheets went to all priests and all schools in the Diocese
  • Two Beacons (the Caritas Salford newsletter which goes to all parishes) featured the Caritas Anti-Trafficking Day for Life exercise, as did Caritas Refugee Response Newsletter Number 7 for June, and the Diocese of Salford July E newsletter
  • A letter about the day went to the entire Caritas Salford email listings of 1,241 people
  • Bishop John did a short video about the issue of human trafficking in which he urged people to take one of our cards
  • A newsletter insert went to the other eight Christian communities in Clitheroe

Without doing a formal evaluation we only have  limited information on what actually happened on the  day. However, arising from the day,  or from communication before it,  we have spoken in, or had eight invitations to speak in, seven Catholic churches, one Baptist church, one charity and a local radio slot.

Feedback has been very positive where we have sought it but we need to remember that that is entirely from a small sample of people already committed. Of over 160 churches in the Diocese we have feedback from 17.

We asked trafficking representatives covering 16 churches in St John Southworth Deanery:

  • Did the cards arrive on time?
  • Was it clear what was expected of parishes?
  • Was it clear that Day for Life this year had the theme of human trafficking?
  • Did prayer and awareness raising feature at Mass?
  • Did parishes succeed in handing cards out to all (or most) Mass attenders?
  • Were there enough cards or too many?

The result of  that gave a positive indication that the exercise had gone well in eleven churches.   The representatives covering five churches did not respond.

In other deaneries two people said the day had gone to plan. One of these was particularly positive and had generated interested contacts.   Two said they had been away and couldn’t  comment.  One had little recollection but said that most of the cards remained in the porch.

We asked deans to get back  from their next deanery meeting which we had assumed would be July but turned out to be September by which time memories and interest may well have faded.

For the future we need to build on what we have achieved by keeping the topic live and encouraging people to keep their cards.  What seems to be clear is that whilst it is probably the minority that respond to any great extent, there are a number that do so very positively and subsequently engage with others.  From experience we know that positive affects only come to light later and sometimes under chance circumstances.    We almost certainly impact in ways we will never know.

August 3, 2018: The Mobile Human Trafficking Exhibition

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

July 25, 2018:  The Freedom Bus

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

July 23, 2018: PLASP

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

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

NRM National Referral Mechanism

DTN Duty to Notify

HT/MDS Human Trafficking/Modern Day Slavery

PCSO Police Community Support Officer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Business:

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

July 16, 2018: PLASP Victim Care Sub-Group

The meeting largely focused on two things.

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

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

July 16: PLASP Roadshow  Sub-Group

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

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

July 14 and 15, 2018: Talk at St Aiden’s and St Owald’s, Royton, Oldham

Ten minute talk at Mass at 5.30 on Saturday and 10.30 on Sunday.

This arose following a recommendation from someone who had heard Anthony Brown speak on the subject of human trafficking elsewhere.  St Aiden’s and St Oswald’s didn’t receive the Caritas Day for Life cards in time for June 17 so we agreed to focus on those and the Caritas/Lancashire Police partnership in raising awareness on human trafficking: Please keep the card with you to remind you to be on the look-out for victims of human trafficking, and to know what to do if you see something.  If all the Catholics in Salford Diocese did what I’m asking we would rid the Diocese of human trafficking.  Pope Francis wants to rid the world of it by 2025 so let’s help him to do that in Salford Diocese by 2020. 

Apart from a very positive response from the Parish which is good for fostering links, we have an invite to speak on Oldham local radio.

Concern was expressed by one parishioner after the Saturday night Mass about the appropriateness of the material for children and Fr Stephen gave out a health warning before Sunday Mass.  Via the Caritas Director, we subsequently pursued with the Diocesan Safeguarding Officer who felt that it wasn’t an issue.  However this does raise the issue of how to tackle subjects, which need to be addressed by Catholic congregations, in a way that gives them sufficient substance in an audience which includes young children.

Although this was a Caritas Salford Anti-Trafficking exercise St Aiden’s and St Oswald’s had agreed to give a donation to the Medaille Trust.  In the event they doubled it.

July 11,2018: PLASP, Faith Sub-Group

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

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

July 11, 2018: Blackburn and Darwen Asylum Support Multi-Agency Forum

This was an opportunity to brief the forum on our June 17 awareness raising exercise and talk about future plans with PLASP for roadshows.

July 6, 2018: GMP, NGO Forum

These meetings are always good value for information and networking.

The Medaille Trust reported on their two Greater Manchester safe houses currently with 26 men of a wide range of nationalities including German and Australian.  There has been an increase in negative National Referral Mechanism (NRM) decisions with some incorrect rulings and one reversed decision leading to a very positive success story.   Negative rulings and the issue of the NRM as a whole engendered some discussion with reference to the October 2017 report: An Evaluation of the National Referral Mechanism Pilot  and other reports underway.

The Medaille/Salvation Army MoRe pilot which provided accommodation pre and post NRM had ended due to lack of referrals there having been only eleven in 6 months.  Three of these individuals had secured employment.  The house had reverted to a normal safe house and now had full occupancy.

Barnardo’s reported on Independent Child Trafficking Advocates.   All local authorities within Greater Manchester, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and Wales have been chosen to become early adopter sites of ICTAs. This means that all children identified as potentially trafficked in those areas must be referred into Barnardo’s ICTAs Service and an ICTA will be allocated and make contact with the child within 24 hours.  Making a referral quickly after identification could reduce the number of children who go missing and are re-trafficked.   We heard that referrals must be trafficked, within he NRM, under 18, and within Greater Manchester.  There is long term and short term provision centring on advocacy, advice and links with professionals.  Barnardo’s expected 140 referrals but have had 300 of whom 40% were female and 60% male, predominantly labour exploitation and Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE).  65%  came from the UK and Vietnam (in approximately equal numbers) with a wide range of other countries represented but only in small numbers.

Greater Manchester Police reported a general increase in enquiries with a much bigger response from NGOs and the Modern Slavery Helpline.

In Manchester it was pop up brothels and car washes but CCE was also a major issue which was being tackled by Trapped  the campaign against the criminal exploitation of children & vulnerable adults, developed by Programme Challenger in order to raise awareness of these issues with the public and professionals.

Rochdale is tacking the CCE by looking first and foremost at the children rather than looking at the top of organised crime network.  They had recognised three organised crime groups (OCGs).

In Bolton it’s pop up brothels, labour exploitation and CCE with numbers in the latter rising and 20 cases recorded.

June 28, 2018: PLASP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

June 19, 2018: PLASP Roadshow Sub-Group Meeting

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

June 19, 2018: PLASP Victim Support Sub-Group

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

June 18, 2018: Lalley Centre Volunteer Away Day

The Lalley Centre is part of Caritas Salford and provides one-to-one advice and access to other support and welfare services.  We took the 45 minute safeguarding session and used film and video to raise awareness on human trafficking and what to do in the event of seeing something.

June 17,2018: Day for life talks in church

We don’t know the extent to which Salford Diocese parish priests engaged parishioners is supporting Day for Life but some certainly did.  Apart from dealing with posters and giving cards out to parishioners, our supporters in three parishes gave talks at Mass, urging people to note the signs of human trafficking and act.

Margaret McNulty spoke at St Peter in Chains, Blackburn on the Sunday morning.  Angela McKay spoke at St John Vianney, Blackburn at Saturday night and Sunday morning Masses.  Margaret and Angela had consulted over their script and agreed to ask people to take out their mobile ‘phones and insert the National Slavery Helpline number there and then.  This had some success but with mobiles turned off not everybody managed at the time. Hopefully it would be a spur for them to do it later.  If this exercise were repeated parishioners could be asked to turn their ‘phones on at the start of the talk but keep them on silent.

Anthony Bridge spoke at Our Lady of Lourdes, Farnworth at Saturday night and Sunday morning masses and the Legion of Mary gave a donation to the Medaille Trust


June 17, 2018: Day for Life

Poster available from

Cards available from

Day for Life is the day in the Church’s year dedicated to raising awareness about the meaning and value of human life at every stage and in every condition. The Church teaches that life is to be nurtured from conception to natural death. This year’s Day for Life is celebrated on 17 June in England and Wales and the theme is human trafficking.

The previous weekend and into Monday we packaged and posted posters, “signs” cards, Medaille prayer cards and a covering letter from Mark Wiggin, Caritas Salford, to 132 parishes in the Diocese.  We hoped the meetings, newssheets and other communications would encourage priests to ensure that every parishioner received a card.

June 15, 2018:  Bishop John’s message for Day for Life, theme Human Trafficking

This was a last minute thought and with technical problems it didn’t go out till today.  Worth listening to though 

For more information on Day for Life and what is happening in Salford look at these weblinks:

Cartias Salford

Santa Marta Group

Day of Life

June 12, 2018: Caritas Salford Anti-Trafficking Newssheet Number 4

The newssheet, which is part of the build up to the Day for Life (Theme: Human Trafficking) June 17, is below.  Click to get a full size pdf version.

June 11, 2018: Love Clitheroe

Short presentation to members of the Christian churches in Clitheroe on Day for Life, June 17, 2018 (Theme Human Trafficking)  and our awareness raising launch of posters and cards throughout the Diocese of Salford.  The  churches were invited to take cards with the signs of human trafficking and distribute them to parishioners.

June 8, 2018: Salford Diocese Social Action Network Meeting

This was an opportunity to talk about what we are doing on June 17 and brief attenders from parishes on giving out cards to parishioners.  The majority of the cards were to be posted the following Monday in batches varying from 150 to 900 so it was good to save postage and also to have some volunteers who would take responsibility for ensuring that everything went smoothly on the day.

June 7, 2018:  Meeting with Mathew Young: Red Cross

Mathew has a full time trafficking brief with the Red Cross in Liverpool and we met mainly to discuss a young female victim living in Greater Manchester and wanting to move to Merseyside.   Mathew was able to list potentially helpful agencies in both places which was extremely useful both generally and in this specific instance.  In this case, as with just about every case we come across, victims are rarely signposted to all the services they can benefit from.

June 5, 2018: St Thomas Anglican Church, Lancaster

Presentation to a group of mostly Anglican parishioners focusing largely on Police operations in East Lancashire fighting sexual exploitation and with a strong emphasis on the need for organisations to work together and for the public to play an active part in spotting the signs of human trafficking.  In particular we highlighted the work of: the Catholic church’s Santa Marta Group, Caritas Salford and the Medaille Trust; the Anglican Clewer Initiative;  and the Salvation Army.  We used the Unchosen film Let’s Talk about Sex and the Clewer Initiative’s video  We See You: Modern Slavery in the UK”.

May 31, 2018: PLASP Faith Sub-Group

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

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

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

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

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

May 22, 2018: Caritas Salford Anti-Trafficking Newsheet Number 3

The newssheet, which is part of the build up to the Day for Life (Theme: Human Trafficking) June 17, is below.  Click to get a full size pdf version.

May 15, 2018: St Chad Deanery meeting and lunch

Thank you to Fr Philip Brady for the invitation to speak and share lunch at his deanery meeting.  We had 45 minutes on the issue of human trafficking and the Day for Life, June 17, awareness raising launch, with questions and answers, followed by an excellent lunch by the Presentation Sisters at the Presentation Convent.

May 4, 2018:  In a Strange Land

This film put on by Afruca was aimed at an African audience and, of the perhaps a hundred people attending, almost all were.  The film followed the story of a young girl from Nigeria brought into the country to work with a professional Nigerian family as a domestic.  She is kept locked into the house and it is the mainly the woman who is abusive and humiliating in her behaviour.  The husband is weak and turns a blind eye to what he sees but is probably unaware of the worst excesses of abuse.  The children don’t witness too much and seem pretty much unaffected by what they do see.  Eventually the girl seizes the opportunity to take the house key’s from the woman’s handbag, unlock the door and escape.  The Police arrive and the woman appears unable to understand that she has done anything wrong.

What was interesting was the discussion afterwards on the issue of domestic slavery in the UK.  The questions reflected a total unawareness and naivety on the issue.  The presenters were at pains to use the word “slavery” rather than “servitude”.  In Nigeria there is a class culture where the well off have domestic workers and the point was made that whilst the practice in the UK is fine it itself, when it turns into exploitation and slavery it is a serious crime.  It is a crime that takes place behind closed doors and it’s extent is largely unknown.  The film was an eye opener to this community and will hopefully alert people to the signs of what may be going on on their doorstep.

April 30, 2018:  Santa Marta Group Telephone Meeting

Meeting to go through the detailed plan for Day for Life, June 17.  We learned that as well as our own materials within Salford Diocese there will be  a letter to parish priests from Bishop John Sherrington, Auxiliary  Bishop of Westminster, along with A5 leaflets for parishioners.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Their Fast Track into Work offers:

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

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

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

April 24, 2018: Clewer Initiative Training Day

Around 25 people attended this event which was to provide delegates with the material to spread the word in churches and other places.  The PowerPoint and videos took around three hours but the material can be edited and tailored to the audience.

April 16, 2018: Medaille Newsletter, Easter Edition

Over the last few days we have posted out copies of the Easter edition of the Medaille Newsletter to all churches in Salford Diocese, in order to raise the profile of the Medaille Trust’s work in the build up to Day for Life.

Download a copy below.

April 14, 2018: Caritas Diocese of Salford Representatives Workshop

Presentation on the Day of Life, June 17 Trafficking Awareness Raising Launch

See the PowerPoint

April 12, 2018:  Modern Slavery Campaign, Community Event (Domestic Slavery)

This event, held at the People’s Museum, Manchester was to promote the Modern Slavery Campaign, update on activities and showcase new campaign materials.

The aim of the campaign is to reduce the prevalence of Modern Slavery offending in the UK by deterring potential offenders and ensuring victims and potential victims know how to keep themselves safe and where to go for support.

Following a successful pilot project focusing on the issue of domestic slavery within the Nigerian community in Manchester and Dagenham the aim is to get more local organisations involved  In partnership with The Salvation Army, AFRUCA and Unseen.

A team from the Home Office presented insights gathered from last year’s campaign, while partners including Afruca and the Salvation Army explained the work they are doing.  Ogo Okpue, the award-winning Nigerian film-maker showed the films he produced for the campaign.  The evening finished with a Q&A and discussion to inspire new ways that organisations in the community can support the campaign going forward.

Click on the images below to see the PowerPoint and the films

April 10, 2018: Caritas Anti-Trafficking Newssheet 2

The newssheet, which is part of the build up to the Day for Life (Theme: Human Trafficking) June 17, is below.  Click to get a full size pdf version.

April 6, 2018: Materials for Awareness Raising in Schools

We met with Liz Bitakaramire, Caritas, Fundraising & Community Services, who is interested in exploring educational materials to raise awareness on human trafficking in schools.  The Caritas in Action Curriculum touches on the topic only briefly in key stages 4 and 5 and is a potential target  for further development.   In 2015 the Medaille Trust published an education pack with four lesson plans which went to all secondary schools in Salford Diocese but we do not know the extent of any usage.  Caritas Anti-Trafficking have used, or advised on, materials in secondary schools and some primaries and there is interest and scope for much more.  Liz’s interest is welcome.

April 6, 2018: Student Project to investigate the unmet needs of victims of human trafficking

We met with Holly Richardson to frame up the next step which will entail (mostly telephone) interviews with key players who will have views on the National Referral Mechanism and its failings.  We also outlined the interview protocol for more in-depth case study work to identify victims’ needs that are currently being met and those which  are not.

March 23, 2018: The Way of the Cross of Human Trafficked Victims at St Michael and St John’s Clitheroe

The reflections for each station were read by Sion Hall and Anthony Brown. We had The Sound of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel,  between stations.  At the end Sion Hall reminded us that human trafficking is a local issue as well as an international one.

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

Present were:

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

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

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

March 20, 2018: The Way of the Cross of Human Trafficked Victims at St Mary’s, Sabden

Peter White introduced the stations by reminding us of the importance of prayer, particularly during lent.  He asked us to reflect on the issue of human trafficking and to pray for the victims.  We had The Sound of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel,  between stations, which worked extremely well.  People in  the congregation took it in turns to read the reflections.

March 20, 2018: St Joseph Deanery meeting and lunch

Thank you to Fr Kevin Foulkes for the invitation to speak and share lunch at his deanery meeting.  After a 15 or 20 minute presentation on human trafficking and the Day for Life, June 17, awareness raising launch, it was good to talk informally over a good meal.  Two of the priests had personal experience of victims of human trafficking

March 16, 2018: Question Time at St Mary’s College, Crosby

This event had students from seven schools who presented questions to a panel comprising:

  • Mark Wiggin, Director, Caritas Salford (Chairman)
  • Mick Duthie, Director, Santa Marta Group
  • Detective Chief Inspector Mark Vaughton, Head of Human Trafficking, East L ancashire Police
  • Sion Hall, Head of the Lancashire Anti-Trafficking Partnership
  • Sam Baxendale, North West Regional Manager for the Medaille Trust

At the end of he session each of the seven schools presented their ideas for future action in their schools.  Ideas included:

  • Engage the Head of Year or School Chaplain
  • Use assemblies to raise awareness
  • Show a video
  • Raise money/run an appeal for a charity e.g. the Medaille Trust
  • Organise a sponsored walk
  • Raise awareness by selling badges e.g. Green Heart badge
  • Link with asylum advocacy in the next United Nations, Universal Periodic Review
  • Raise awareness via  Students Services
  • Use notice boards to display information on the signs of human trafficking plus ‘phone numbers to ring
  • Get the message to lower years starting with refugees and moving onto trafficking)

In their final summaries the panellists made the points:

  • The interest and enthusiasm of the students was impressive
  • There was an encouraging level of knowledge of human trafficking amongst the students
  • Students were urged to keep the conversation going with friends and networks
  • There is a lot of information to access and learn from. Students should do everything they can within their circles of interest
  • Five years ago one wouldn’t have envisaged anything like this event and this level of awareness. Where will be in five years time?
  • The students were absolutely right to suggest awareness raising with younger pupils
  • You only have one chance to save a life – and that chance may lie in your hands

We now have a Schools Question Time Panel Format for similar events in the future

March 7, 2018: Westholme School, Blackburn

A fifteen minute presentation to 200 year ten to thirteen students, and forty minute presentations to two classes of year nines.  It is worth noting note how the invitation  to speak at Westholme came about.  A Westholme sixth former who is parishioner at St Mary’s in Todmorden became aware of human trafficking via Fr Peter Hopkinson and our trafficking materials at the back of the church and suggested the school do something.  It happened that one of the teachers had heard Anthony Brown speak at St Wilfred’s in Preston and another had heard him at Lancaster at Donna Worthington’s play, Blackbirds at Dawn.

The students were particularly receptive and asked a number of insightful questions e.g. why do victims not testify.  The school was having a Fairtrade stall that day and we were able to make links between modern day slavery and Fairtrade.  One student, who had grasped that our western way of life depends on exploitative  working practices, asked the highly pertinent question of what would happen if everybody stopped buying cheap goods and bought Fairtrade.

At lunch we sold Mama Margaret’s key rings and talked to students.  We met the sixth former from Burnley who was happy to represent the Medaille Trust at her church.

We will offer further support to Westholme who want to extend awareness in the school and are exploring the idea of giving out leaflets in Blackburn.

March 6, 2018: Meeting with Fr Philip Brady, Dean of St Chad Deanery

Meeting to discuss our diocesan awareness raising launch on Day for Life June 17.   Fr Brady invited Anthony Brown to come to his deanery meeting and lunch to talk to the deanery priests on May 15.

February 28, 2018: Meeting with Nigel Rix, Chairman of Clitheroe Christians in Partnership

Nigel has always been extremely supportive of our work and is our main link with the eight other Christian communities in Clitheroe.  We focused on the Day for Life which, although a day in the Catholic calendar rather than one that has wider currency, is an opportunity to include the wider Christian communities in awareness raising.  As usual Nigel had ideas and suggested the possibility of having a stall in a prominent place in Clitheroe where we could display materials and give out leaflets.

February 25, 2018: Bolton FM

The  opportunity to speak on Bolton local radio arose came from Anthony Bridge, who leads the Spirit of Bolton programme once a fortnight.  He had spotted a Medaille Trust, St Bakhita prayer card in the bookshop in the Cathedral Centre in Salford.  As a result of that he attended Fr Peter Hopkinson’s St Bakhita Mass in Burnley on February 7 where he heard Anthony Brown speak.  Things come to pass in convoluted ways and little things can bear unexpected fruits.  The Spirit of Bolton is an hour of discussion and music and was a good opportunity to talk about human trafficking and the work of the Medaille Trust.

February 23, 2018: An appeals tribunal in Manchester

We have been supporting this young Vietnamese woman for nearly two years now and today Fr Xavier, Fr Dermot Heakin, and Anthony Brown attended as witnesses.  Also in support were the Local Authority case worker, the foster carer and Mary Brown.  In the event the tribunal was adjourned because our barrister was unhappy about a document previously unknown to her and tabled by the Home Office that morning.  This reflects poorly on the Home Office.  We were told that a witness in another case had to attend a hearing in London for the fourth time later this year because, out of incompetence or inefficiency, the Home Office had failed produce a necessary document on the previous three occasions.

The day was not completely lost though as Fr Xavier took us to the Vietnamese restaurant where his nephew worked where we were treated to a 50% discounted meal.  It was good to talk and learn more about what the situation is really like in Vietnam.

February 22, 2018: Pan Lancashire Anti-Slavery Partnership

Present were individuals from:

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

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

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

February 21, 2018: Telephone Conference between Caritas Salford and the Santa Marta Group

Discussion of resources for the Day for Life Launch on June 17

February 20, 2018: St Therese of Lisieux Deanery meeting and lunch

Thank you to Canon Paul Brindle for the invitation to speak and share lunch at his deanery meeting.  After a 15 or 20 minute presentation on human trafficking and the Day for Life, June 17, awareness raising launch, it was good to talk informally over a good meal.

February 16, 2018: Burnley Express article by Julie Cooper

This article appeared in the Burnley Express and the Padidahm Express following our meeting with July Cooper on Feburary 9

February 12, 2018: Coffee with Liz Andrews, Medaille Diocesan Funding Representative (DHR) for Leeds Diocese

We met in the Folly Coffee House, Settle, for an informal sharing of action and experiences.  Liz is relatively new to the Medaille Trust and keen to learn what others are doing.  We had a very pleasant hour in a delightful cafe within easy travel distance for all parties.

February 9, 2018: Julie Cooper, MP for Burnley

Karen from Canada joined us.  She is a member of our Network and over here for a few weeks.

We had been taken with Julie’s presentation at the New Neighbours Together launch last December when she spoke with concern and passion about the plight of asylum seekers locally.  She had expressed interest in our activities and offered us a very generous 40 minute appointment at her office, an appointment which finally stretched to nearly one and half hours.

We talked about the local situation citing four instances where something had occurred in Burnley or where the people arrested had lived in Burnley.   Julie knew the streets concerned and one in particular where there is a history of social problems and criminality.  We talked about our awareness raising and publicity, our link with East Lancashire Police and their need for more public intelligence.  We also raised the two current listed parliamentary bills.  The first of these is the Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill which aims to expand the 45 day recovery and reflection period and enhance support provision.   This private member’s bill initiated in the Lords had its first reading on June 17, 2017, second reading was 8 September and the bill is now awaiting a Committee Stage date.  The second is the Human Trafficking (Child Protection) Bill, initiated in the Commons with its first reading on September 5, 2017; its second reading scheduled for January 18 did not take place.  Private members’ bills rarely come to fruition but provide opportunities to publicise.

It was perhaps inevitable that we strayed into the politics of social justice issues with Karen making the observation that human trafficking might be seen as a barometer for the health of a society.    Julie commented on the use of media in raising awareness and referred to a recent meeting with James Norton, star of McMafia, a current TV series about organised crime and human trafficking.   The portrayal of human trafficking is accurate.   Julie suspected that the people of Burnley would not generally be aware that modern day slavery featured in their town and offered to raise the issue whenever she could, starting by placing our ‘Spot It Stop It’ poster in the office and including a message on human trafficking in the next issue of the Burnley Express.

We spoke about the East Lancashire Police anti-trafficking team stationed in Burnley and their education/awareness raising remit, referring in particular to the need for front line Health Service staff to be able to identify victims who present for treatment.   Julie is Shadow Minister for Health and Social Care and interested to learn that NHS were amongst the 130 frontline workers and others who attended an awareness raising conference at the Dunkenhalgh Hotel in October 2016.

With that in mind Julie would be interested to meet DCI Mark Vaughton who heads the East Lancashire Anti-Trafficking Team and Sion Hall who chairs the Lancashire Anti-Slavery Network.  Julie referred to the East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning  Group  which is run by GPs and commissions care and community health services.

Julie commented on the importance of engaging with communities, particularly Asian communities who are concerned not only about social issues in Burnley but also the way they have been unfairly targeted for abuse by local extremists.  She gave us a contact point for Building Bridges.  Other useful contacts she referred us to were Kate Hollern, MP for Blackburn, two local schools with a strong social justice agenda and Fr Brian Keeley a priest formerly of Burnley and now in Darwen.

Altogether it was a very useful meeting and the start of a working partnership.

February 7, 2018: Mass for St Bakhita

Fr Peter Hopkinson of St Mary of the Assumption Parish in Burnley agreed to celebrate a Mass for St Bahkita as part of our human trafficking awareness raising work.  The Mass is listed on the diocesan website as one of the Hope in the Future activities and events for 2018.

The Mass was beautifully celebrated with choir, and readings, references and a homily, about St Bakhita and modern day slavery.  Anthony Brown gave a 20 minute presentation after Mass first covering slavery prior to abolition and then modern day slavery, focusing in particular on Burnley and other parts of East Lancashire.  At the back of the  church was a stall with Medaille Trust prayer cards and leaflets and other information.  There was also opportunity for further discussion over tea and biscuits.   It was a wonderfully spiritual experience as well as an opportunity to raise awareness on an important issue that features locally.  See the order of service

February 5, 2018: Cathy and Paul Scivier of the  Salvation Army

This was interesting meeting sharing experiences and learning about the work of Cathy and Paul transporting victims of human trafficking to safe houses.  The Salvation Army is one of the main charities fighting human trafficking and has useful anti-trafficking resources.

February 4, 2018: a Vietnamese meal with victims we are supporting

Fr Xavier of St Gerards, Lostock Hall has been enormously generous with his time in supporting these women.

February 2, 2018: Canon Paul Brindle, Dean of St Theresa of Lisieux Deanery

Meeting to discuss our diocesan awareness raising launch on Day for Life June 17.   Fr Paul invited Anthony Brown to come to his deanery meeting and lunch to talk to the deanery priests on February 20.

February 1, 2018: Fr Kevin Foulkes, Dean of St Joseph Deanery

Meeting to discuss our diocesan awareness raising launch on Day for Life June 17.   Fr Kevin invited Mary and Anthony Brown to come to his deanery meeting and lunch to talk to the deanery priests on March 20.

January 31, 2018: Revd. Canon Ed Saville, Area Dean, Pendle Deanery

Ed is Lead Officer for Social Responsibility in Blackburn Diocese and Anthony Brown met him to talk about the Anglican Clewer Initiative and how it might link with what we are doing in Salford Diocese to raise awareness on human trafficking.  We went through the Clewer Initiative resources on screen and Ed also brought up the PowerPoint on human trafficking which is designed for the Anglican church audience and available to those trained in its use.  In two sessions, entitled ‘Trafficking Awareness’ and ‘Spotting the Signs’ it covers the definition of modern slavery, the Modern Slavery Act, the common hallmarks of modern slavery in the UK, and what you should do if you encounter it.  Ed said that the PowerPoint could be modified to suit a non religious organisation and emphasised that Clewer resources  should be used or adapted for audiences beyond the Anglican community.

January 30, The first Caritas Anti-Trafficking newsletter

This newsletter went out just prior to the feast day of St Bakhita on February 8 but is the start of a diocesan wide awareness raising initiative which will focus initially on June 17, the Day for Life.  The newsletter went to all churches and all schools in the diocese.  Click on the picture to get a full size pdf version.


January 21, 2018:  Christian Unity Service at St Charles Borromeo, Swinton

The material was prepared by the people of the Caribbean, taking as its theme “That They All may Be Free”.   This is coloured by the history and legacy of slavery in that part of the world.

Anthony Brown spoke during the service about slavery in the Caribbean and modern day slavery.

January 18, 2018: Fr Phil Sumner, Dean of Mount Carmel Deanery

Meeting to discuss our diocesan awareness raising launch on Day for Life June 17.  Fr Phil had a number of interesting ideas on materials and media we intend to use which we will take to our next meeting with the SMG

January 17, 2018: Clitheroe Christians in Partnership

Anthony Brown now represents Our Lady of the Valley Parish, Clitheroe, Sabden and Dunsop Bridge and updated the group on Faith Based Organisations (FBOs) and what they are doing in anti-trafficking.  He started by referring to the University of Leeds and University of Sheffield  research on the subject and went on to talk about the Caritas Anti-Trafficking partnership with Santa Marta and the Medaille Trust and their awareness raising initiative throughout Salford Diocese to be launched on June 17.  He also referred to contact with the Clewer Initiative and aspirations to link with them in order to complement each other and give out the same messages.  He also referred to the good work of the Salvation Army with their Government safe houses contract,  and their educational materials for schools.

January 17, 2018: Pan Lancashire Anti-Slavery Partnership

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

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

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

January 15, 2018: Mgr. Paul Smith, Dean of St John Deanery

This was the first of six meetings with deans to discuss our diocesan awareness raising launch on June 17.

January 9, 2018: Understanding the role of faith based organisations in anti-trafficking

The aim of this research is to determine:

  1. Which faith based organisations are involved in anti-trafficking, and what do they do?
  2. Is there anything distinctive about the work being done by faith-based organisations?
  3. What ideas and images about trafficking are present in policies, campaigns, and media stories?
  4. Why are faith-based organisations increasingly visible in anti-trafficking?

Caritas Anti-Trafficking was interviewed as one of many FBOs.  It was interesting meeting as we are likely to learn something from the findings and previous work by these researchers on refugees and asylum seekers has value and may guide our MA student project on the unmet needs of victims of human trafficking.  See Generic Research Information Sheet

December 15, 2017: Pan Lancashire Anti-Slavery Partnership  

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

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

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

December 12, 2017: Fr Peter Hopkinson

This was a useful informal meeting at Costa Coffee with Fr Peter who is Dean of St John Vianney Deanery and would be attending the Council of Deans meeting on the 14th.  We briefed him on our planned Diocesan awareness raising launch on the  Day for Life (June 17 2018) so he could give the deans an update.

We also discussed preliminary details of a Mass Fr Peter will celebrate at St Mary’s of the Assumption, Burnley, on or around the Feast of St Bakhita (February 8)

December 11, 2017: Santa Marta/Caritas Salford Telephone Conference

Present: Mark Wiggin (Caritas Salford), Mick Duthie (Deputy Director SMG), Phoebe Prendergast (SMG), Anthony and Mary Brown (Caritas Salford and Medaille)

This was a follow on to the November 8 meeting in which we extended our aspirations to include all eight Salford deaneries in a larger exercise with a remit beyond the earlier one.

Anthony Brown reflected on the efforts and energy required to engage people at parish level.  His  strategy has been to make small incremental gains in awareness  raising concentrating on individuals and extending his network of concerned individuals.    He proposed a diocese wide awareness raising initiative which would be a joint Caritas, SMG, Medaille Trust effort with funding support from all for materials and staff.

Mick Wiggin emphasised the need to constantly engage the audience and acknowledged that energy and strategy needed to create traction in the diocese on the subject of trafficking/modern day slavery.   Getting the diocesan clergy on board is essential and we expect Bishop Pat Lynch will do a pastoral letter for 17th June (Day for Life) which would be a good day for the launch of a diocesan wide awareness raising initiative in all parishes.   Mark supported the idea that SMG branding was essential to feel part of a bigger global movement.

Phoebe Prendergast offered links to other dioceses and noted national awareness opportunities such as the Feast of St Bakhita on 8th February.   SMG are developing resources for awareness raising and prayer and will use the SMG website and social media to good effect.   Follow up after a launch is critical to maintain momentum.

All agreed on the need for a resourced strategy that could eventually include a part time diocese coordinator.

Agreed action included:

  • Planning for a diocesan awareness raising launch on the Day for Life (June 17)
  • Use the Feast of St Bakhita (February 8) as precursor to Day for Life
  • SMG to visit Caritas Salford to further plans.
  • Possible diocesan round table meeting to share practice at diocese/parish level and agree action and delivery plans towards a diocesan model

December 9, 2017: The Cornerstone Cafe

We manned a stall to promote the Medaille Trust and sell Mama Margaret’s jewellery.   It is always good to talk to people who generally know very little about human trafficking.   We made contact with two individuals in particular, one of whom was a teacher who outlined a success story of a trafficked girl who completed her secondary school education and ultimately went to  university.

The Cornerstone Cafe facility was designed to provide a safe place in the city for people experiencing hardship, and contains meeting spaces, offices and a community café. The building is also used by a number of charities that support people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

December 8, 2017: New Neighbours Together Launch

Our link with New Neighbours is more to do with refugees than trafficking but the two are inextricably linked and we have made useful contacts.  New Neighbours Asylum and Refugee Support Project has recently become an Independent Charity and is now called New Neighbours Together.  We were invited to the Launch and Office Opening Event where Julie Cooper,  MP for Burnley and Padiham , would cut the ribbon.   Ruth Haygarth, leader of the group spoke to us followed by Julie Cooper,  a City of Sanctuary speaker, and two asylum seekers.  One of these was a young man from Iraq whose asylum claim Mark Wiggin had been trying to assist with via Caritas Iraq.

The main benefit for us was networking and we made a couple of good contacts.  Julie Cooper had spoken with genuine compassion for the asylum seekers and refugees in Burnley so we approached her on the subject of trafficking.  She agreed to talk further about  the current parliamentary bill Human Trafficking  (Child Protection) Bill.  She has a particular concern for safeguarding of children.

Fr Michael Waters is the priest at St John’s Parish, Burnley where New Neighbours together is based.   Wythoham Street which had featured in a trafficking incident reported in the Lancashire Telegraph, was in his parish.  As one of the priests in St John Vianney deanery he had our Spot it, Stop It materials in his church porch.  He was interested in our work and we agreed to talk further.

December 8, 2017: Sacred Heart Primary School, Rochdale

From Pamela Dungworth, Head Teacher, Sacred Heart.  The school used Salvation Army resource materials for input on Friday 1 December which is the day before International Day for the Abolition of Slavery.   It as particularly good that these materials forwarded to Pamela at the last minute were used effectively suggesting that they are ready to use with minimal effort on the part of teachers.

Dear Anthony,

Just to let you know that we used the materials you sent us during our anti-slavery day and that the teachers found them incredibly useful particularly the Power Point about the cocoa farms.

The children learnt a lot during the day and our year 6 children asked some very thoughtful and challenging questions.

Thank you again for sharing the materials with us, they have been gratefully received.

December 5, 2017: Cardinal Allen Secondary School, Fleetwood

We joined Joe Howson at Cardinal Allen to discuss use of the Lee House mobile human trafficking exhibition which the school will employ for a week in February 2018, to coincide with the feast of St Bakhita.  The Medialle Trust provided funding for some additional panels for the exhibition and a Medaille input to the week will feature in a way yet to be decided – probably with a 40 minute assembly presentation.   Medaille prayer cards and materials will be available throughout the week.   Although the Lee House mobile refugee exhibition has been in use for over 12 months, this will be the first use of the new trafficking exhibition and the start of a new phase in the Medaille Trust/Lee House partnership.

November 29, 2017: Operation Magician

Wednesday saw East Lancashire Police’s second big success in fighting a human trafficking ring based on Blackburn with simultaneous raids on premises in Blackburn, Preston, Manchester, Luton and Northampton.   I  was privileged to be invited to the Police Headquarters briefing in Blackburn at 7.00 am where I met Mark Vaughton and Sion Hall and then visited one of the premises in Preston after the occupants of the house had been removed.

I sensed the same emotional reaction in the eyes of the police as I experienced myself.  It was a scene that would rend the heart of anyone – condoms and wipes on a table, and a teddy bear on the floor next to an unmade bed.  See the full report of  Operation Magician

You get a slightly different take depending on which newspaper you read.

Anthony Brown

November 24, 2017: Cardinal Newman High School, Newman Day

Medaille Trust  presentation on human trafficking and modern day slavery in Lancashire, focusing particularly on sexual exploitation, delivered  to 200 plus year 11s in four, 55 minute sessions.  The presentation used the Unchosen film Let’s Talk about Sex and the Home Office/Unchosen film Modern Day Slavery is Closer Than You Think, along with local information from Police and newspapers, to  raise awareness of the issue and alert pupils to the signs of modern slavery.  Each student was given a Medaille newsletter and a Medaille card with the general signs to look out for and what to do if people see something.  During the lunch period a member of staff manned a Medaille stall in the main hall, with Mama Margaret’s jewellery and trafficking information.

November 22, 2017: Update from DCI Mark Vaughton at Greenbank Police Station, Blackburn

East Lancashire Police have recently established a reception centre where victims can remain safely whilst awaiting a Reasonable Grounds Decision to establish whether they are a potential victim of human trafficking.  During this interim period there is no statutory requirement to provide safe accommodation and in the past East Lancashire Police have had to pay for hotel accommodation.  The Gangmasters and Labour  Abuse Authority (GLAA),  with whom East Lancashire Police work closely,  have already used the reception centre.

The Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) was formed after the Morecambe cockle pickers tragedy on 5 February 2004 when at least 21 Chinese illegal immigrant labourers were drowned by an incoming tide.  The GLA  was a non-departmental public body  regulating the supply of workers to the agricultural, horticultural and shellfish industries. Employment agencies (labour providers) working in those fields have had to be licensed by the authority since 1 October 2006.  Since May 2017 the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) has taken on the role and remit of the former GLA.  It has also been granted police-style powers to investigate labour abuse and exploitation across all aspects of the UK labour market which make it easier to tackle breaches of labour law and fight modern day slavery.   The recent Anti-Slavery Police swoop at Preston car wash was GLAA.

Mark referred us to the GLAA Modern Slavery video which he uses in presentations to employers  and which makes the point very clearly about what to do and what not to do

Mark updated us on the various cases they had been dealing  with, and progress on prosecution or sentencing.  Most Significantly  In Operation Ludlow seven men had been found guilty of trafficking offences.  A woman had been found not guilty. Sentencing is on December 23.

East Lancashire Police recognise the importance of working with ethnic communities and are seeking to use link workers  to engage with the Romanians and also with communities where forced marriage could be an issue.

November 20, 2017: MA Student Project to investigate the unmet needs of victims of human trafficking

Victims of human trafficking who go through the National Referral Mechanism are entitled to 45 days safe house provision which comes with a range of support services to help them adjust and reintegrate into society.  In some instances it may be possible to apply for funding for longer periods and the Medaille trust  is able to keep some victims for longer without additional funding using its own resources.  However many victims leave safe house provision with outstanding needs and many finish up street homeless.   Moreover standard funding is insufficient to provide the specialist services which some victims need.  Day 46  Is there life after the safer house for victims of human trafficking explored these issues and made recommendations.

Building on this study a Manchester University student opted for a Caritas Salford project to investigate  victims’ unmet needs. Holly Richardson is doing an MA in Disaster Management and  on November 20 we had our first meeting to outline the remit of the project which will entail around 20 days work between now and May 2018.

November 14, 2017, Thorneyholme Primary School, Dunsop Bridge

We met Olga Jackson, Deputy Head at Thorneyholme Primary School, Dunsop Bridge on May 8, Olga having 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.  We offered Olga 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.

I asked Olga for any feedback from what they had done and got the following very positive response

Hello Anthony,

Attached is some of the work, if you would like to put it on the webpage.

The junior children at Thorneyholme RC Primary School had several lessons on Human Trafficking in June 2017.
They began their learning with St Bakhita who was kidnapped and experienced suffering when she was sold into slavery.
Children went on to watch a video about Child Slavery in the Chocolate Industry and made a big group poster about the story of a child (see photograph).

We look at Human Trafficking as it arises from the news and children write comments about it. (see photograph)

Kindest regards,


Deputy Headteacher

Thorneyholme RC Primary School

The children’s words:

  • Come and work in my chocolate factory and you can get all the bikes you want
  • Do you want a bike.
  • Do you want a bicycle. Yes Please
  • I am so tired
  • I wish I was with my family
  • Oh no
  • Help
  • Hello Police I need help
  • Why did I agree to do this

November 13, 2017: Let My People Go

This presentation for the Medaille Trust featured the Unchosen film Let’s Talk about Sex and recent sexual exploitation incidents as well as other forms of trafficking in the North of England, and what the Medaille Trust offers by way of support and reintegration into society in its nine safe houses.

November 13, 2017: Christ the King secondary school Preston

Presentations to four groups of Year 8 pupils at Christ the King secondary school, Preston.  Christ the King is one of the secondary schools where we speak every year and human trafficking is recognised as an issue that needs to be included in the curriculum.

November 11 and 12, 2017: St Wilfrid’s RC Church, Preston

Medaille talk at three Masses on Saturday and Sunday with a Medaille stall and Mama Margaret’s jewellery for sale afterwards.

November 10 2017: Advocacy Day, Edmund Rice sixth formers, Hale Barns

The Advocacy Day was attended by students from Edmund Rice secondary schools of which there are four in the North of England, one in Altrincham and three in Merseyside.  Anthony Brown spoke about the work of the Medaille Trust and Caritas Salford, and presented possible ideas for the students to raise in their schools – e.g lobbying, desk research, social media.  What took their attention most was the Question Time event we had in Clitheroe (see 23 October 2015) and we agreed to hold a similar event for students in Crosby in March 2018.

November 8, 2017: Santa Marta Group/Caritas Salford Conference Call

Present:  Mark Wiggin (Caritas Salford), Mick Duthie (Deputy Director SMG), Phoebe Prendergast (SMG), Anthony and Mary Brown (Caritas Salford and Medaille)

At this meeting aimed at strengthening the relationship between the Santa Marta Group (SMG) and Caritas (Salford) Anti-Trafficking, we had updates from Mick Duthie (SMG), Anthony Brown (Caritas Anti-Trafficking) and Mark Wiggin (Caritas).  We agreed to produce a proposal with costings for a joint funded exercise to introduce anti-trafficking materials  to the six Salford Diocese deaneries not included in the earlier exercise which took in the two East Lancashire deaneries of St John Southworth and St John Vianney.  See a full report of the meeting.

October 20, 2017 Burnley Express

The article in the Burnley Express today is identical to the Clitheroe Advertiser and no doubt the other East Lancashire newspapers but the headline better captures the importance of the part the public must play in fighting human trafficking.

October 19, 2017  Clitheroe Advertiser

In the week of Anti-Slavery Day, Margaret Parsons’ seventh major article on human trafficking appeared in the Clitheroe Advertiser today. This latest article refers to 14 cases that East Lancashire Police have investigated in the last 18 months, focusing in particular on victim care and the need for more intelligence from the public.  Detective Chief Inspector Mark Vaughton, who has taken over from Sion Hall who retired recently,  emphasises the need for more help from the public in tracking down the perpetrators and rescuing the victims.

The article should also appear in the other five East Lancashire newspapers this week and perhaps in the Lancashire Evening Post at a later date.  Margaret’s previous articles were: a series of four in June 2015; one in November 2016; and one in April this year.  You can find PDFs of all on this webpage under the relevant date.


October 18, 2017, Sold: A Film about Human Trafficking

This full length feature film was shown at the Old School House (formerly St Michael and St John’s Parish Centre) on Anti-Slavery Day.   Based on a novel by Patricia McCormick,  published in 2006, it tells the story of a girl from Nepal who is sold into sexual slavery in India.

The film was produced by Emma Thomson.  Gillian Anderson plays Sophia, a humanitarian photographer who instigates the rescue of Lakshmi.

Although attendance was perhaps less than expected we still got over £100 in donations for the Medaille Trust.

Click here for Wikipedia details of the film.

October 18 2017:  Rotary Anti-Trafficking stall at Oswaldtwistle Mills

Accrington Rotary invited us to help on their Anti-Trafficking  Day stall and display Medaille newsletters, Spot it Stop it leaflets, and East Lancashire Police materials.  It was a good opportunity to talk to the public about what is happening locally, what the Police are doing, and the support that the Medaille Trusts gives to victims rescued.

We spoke at an Accrington Rotary meeting on February 16th this year and it was good to be invited to this Anti-Slavery Day event.  Rotary is one of many charities that includes human trafficking in its remit.  See the Rotarian Action Group Against Slavery newsletter for September.

October 17 2017: Manchester University, Volunteering and Social Justice Fair

Caritas Cornerstone and Caritas Salford Anti-Trafficking had stall 75 at this well attended and extremely busy fair for students seeking volunteering opportunities.  We were there mainly to raise awareness on human trafficking focusing on the work of  Caritas, Medaille, and East Lancashire Police and Greater Manchester Police.  We spoke to a lot of very socially minded young people and collected a lot of names to add to our network and encourage them to spread awareness by word of mouth and social media.  A few evidently wanted more involvement and we will endeavour to take advantage of whatever skills they may have to offer.

 October 15, 2017: Santa Marta Human Trafficking Survey

[From the Parish newsletter]

Dear Parishioners

We have been asked by the Bishop to support this survey. In 2016, Pope Francis called Modern Slavery a ‘true crime against humanity’ and urged the Catholic Church to assist in the fight to eliminate it. The eradication of Modern Slavery was included in the United Nations Sustainable Development goals in 2015. As a Church we are in a privileged position as many of those exploited look to the church and come to the Church for help. In this survey we are asking you to help us identify these vulnerable communities – who they are, where they are, what they need, and what you need to support them effectively. The Modern Slavery Act (2015) defined the crime of modern slavery as occurring when any person holds another person in slavery or servitude, or when a person requires another person to perform forced or compulsory labour. In this country there are many faces of modern slavery: people who find themselves in situations of domestic servitude; women and girls from abroad and from the UK trafficked for sexual exploitation; men and women abused by drug cartels and organized crime groups who end up in car washes, nail bars and as cleaners; and finally the thousands of people recruited from Eastern European countries who are exploited in various industrial and agricultural sectors – farming, fishing, poultry and factories. Human trafficking, more specifically, occurs when one person arranges or organises the movement of another person (within the same country or across national borders) so they can exploit or enslave that person. Parishes and chaplaincies across the UK are asked to assist with this short survey about modern slavery. It will help the Church, via the Santa Marta Group, in gathering important data in the fight against Modern Slavery. Please go to the link below and input the password: Bakhita

Fr John

October 11, 2017: Diocese of Salford Social Action Networking Meeting and Manchester Citizens

Human trafficking is just one element of social action and these meetings are an opportunity to platform our aspirations and activities within the wider context.

The key speaker was Furqan Naeem, Community Organiser of Greater Manchester Citizens.  Greater Manchester Citizens is Manchester’s response to the UK Citizens approach to engage people in fighting social injustice.  Adapting the model developed by Saul Alinsky in the 60s, a model which greatly influenced Barak Obama, the approach recognises that policies are led by Government and big business whilst a third sector – the public– have virtually no voice.  Working  together, many voices can influence both elections and the policies that ensue.

The four main issues for Manchester Citizens are Social Care, Hate Crime, Living Wage, and Housing and Homelessness.  There is clearly interconnectedness between these four issues and interconnectedness with human trafficking.  However we cannot expect to influence Greater Manchester Citizens directly on human trafficking but in the spirit of Alinksy we can bring influence to bear via its sponsors.   We asked if any parish within Salford Diocese could legitimately buy into Greater Manchester Citizens but even if we could it would mean financial outlay and a still limited voice.  A better way is to campaign via the Diocese of Salford or Caritas Salford,  both of which subscribe to Greater Manchester Citizens and therefore have some sway.

This whole concept is an interesting one and one with potential to influence at Parliamentary level rather than with individuals and small groups where impact will always remain low.   There is already an awareness and concern about trafficking with private members’ bills coming from both houses.  We must learn more about effective lobbying and support  parliamentarians who are fighting our cause.

 September 29 2017: Modern Slavery NGO forum at GMP Force Headquarters

These forums are always good value and a few things struck me as particularly useful.

Chris Genoux updated us on the Greater Manchester Police (GMP)  figures for the number of reports logged and the number of trafficking crimes committed but as always convictions always fall well short of crimes.  More cases were being logged from charities and other agencies illustrating an increase in awareness and there had been an instance of a take-away being used which is something new to GMP.  Chris spoke about how the nature of the crime differed between different parts of GMP.  You can find full details of Chris’ talk here.

Somebody asked about the numbers of slaves in the UK referring to the figure of 13,000 put out by the National Crime Agency (NCA).  Chris pointed out that the NCA now believed the figure was much greater and 13,000 probably represented only the tip of the iceberg.  He had no idea where the 13,000 figure came from, a figure which had remained unmodified for five years.

Detective Sergeant Debbie Hirst gave an uplifting story of success, a Roma woman from Hungary who had been taken into sexual slavery and was working the streets.  After many nights of Police activity trying to gain the confidence of street workers she finally came to trust the Police and accepted the support on offer  As always it was a harrowing story of what she had endured at the hands of her traffickers but she was finally repatriated to Hungary.  Her Victim Liaison Officer flew with her to link with the Hungarian support services.  She didn’t have to give evidence in court and the perpetrators were given long prison sentences.  Unusually she received £16,500 injuries compensation.  Debbie was at pains to emphasise that victim safeguarding comes first and prosecutions are a bonus, a message we have heard many times from Sion.

Philippa Roberts, a lawyer who works with Hope for Justice spoke about the inadequacy of statutory support for victim and the need for advocates to make cases via European conventions and directives.  Hope for Justice are moving more to an advocacy role – advocating for victims and raising awareness on government bills.  The statutory 45 days recovery and reflection period is in fact a minimum but longer entitlements aren’t always easily gained and Phillipa maintained that 75% of cases they worked with would have finished up homeless without Hope for Justice involvement.  The current private members bill by Lord McColl would make put European conventions and directives on the statute books. You can find full details of Philippa’s talk here.

September 25 2017: Our Faith, Our Planet, Our Community

Bishop John and Fr Eamann Mulcahey spoke about Laudato Si at this excellent event at Manchester Cathedral.  Whist there wasn’t any mention of human trafficking, Pope Francis refers to human trafficking in a number of places in Laudato Si e.g. “In the absence of objective truths or sound principles other than the satisfaction of our own desires and immediate needs, what limits can  be placed on human trafficking, organized crime, the drug trade, commerce in blood diamonds…”

We cannot escape our complicity in what is happening to our planet and the people who live on it, and if we are to bring an end to human trafficking it means living very differently to the way we currently live our lives.  Read a report of the evening here.

 September 23 2017: Caritas Representatives Meeting, Cathedral Centre, Salford

The Caritas Representatives’ role is to raise awareness of, and promote, Caritas, Salford within their parishes; and also to share charitable activities within the parishes. Anthony Brown, representative for Our Lady of the Valley updated the meeting on trafficking and refugee activity emphasising the need for more Catholics to be aware of trafficking in their localities and to alert the Police to possible instances. He gave out the latest Medaille Trust cards which summarise the main signs and tell you what to do when you see something that should be reported.

 September 21 2017: Exploring the employment needs of refugees at Cornerstone, Caritas Salford

Cornerstone, Caritas Diocese of Salford  Cornerstone is a day centre providing services to vulnerable and disadvantaged adults including refugees and asylum seekers .

We went to Cornerstone as an initial exploration of the employment needs of refugees with a view to developing a provision of assessment and employment placement taking advantage of an employment specialist (who is part of our network) and a recruitment manager.  The employment specialist is offering to assess the employment and training needs against the employment market, and the  Gala Bingo recruitment manager will offer interviews to selected  individual without them having to go through a sift.  Employment or an employment  trial would follow for suitable people.  We talked to a number of refugees from a number of countries and will be seeking more details on whom might be suitable for an early pilot.

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 staged at the  University of Cumbria, Bowerham Road, Lancaster LA1 3JD

Performances were 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.

The play was virtually sold out for its three showings and was well received by an appreciative if shocked audience.  The intimacy of the University of Cumbria’s Black Box Theatre added to impact with the feeling that you were actually in the room.  Some people left the theatre clearly moved by the play and one person commented: “Not enjoyable but deeply thought provoking and superbly acted.”

The after-production discussions highlighted real concerns for the issue of modern day slavery and we were able to draw useful analogies between what people had just seen and what happens in real life.

Thanks to Fr Kevin Murphy for organising and driving the minibus for Our Lady of the Valley parishioners.  A total of 20 people went from the Parish, 14 on the minibus.

See the reviews of the play, by Anthony Brown and by Fr Kevin Murphy.

September 12 2017: A Medaille Safe House

We visited one of the newest Medaille safe houses, open  since May.  This one caters only for men and we met a few of them and learned something of the others.  The house which accommodates nine was full and always has been.  As soon as one victim leaves, there is another to fill the place.  Three have left in the last few days but one is a success story worthy of note.  From Romania, and now with leave to stay, he had found a job and was working 12 hour shifts with a 45 minute cycle ride, to and from the safe house, at the beginning and end of each day.  Many of these men are desperate to prove their worth and this man had now secured accommodation near to his place of work. and was very happily settled into a secure and manageable existence.

We talked about lengths of stay given that 45 days is the statutory period, for reflection and recovery, funded by the Government, even though a determination on trafficking may take considerably longer.  Medaille safe houses probably do better than most of those run by other charities, via the voluntary donations they receive from Medaille supporters.

Even so the Medaille, as with other charities, is unable to provide victims with the extended support they often need. Coincidentally it was the second reading of a private members bill on victim support in the House of Lords last week: .

Currently, a trafficking victim is only entitled to 45 days of support following their rescue. A recent report by the House of Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee have labelled the current system of support as having ‘inexcusable failures’, arguing that this system not only leaves many victims destitute but enables their traffickers go unpunished.   Lord McColl’s Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill explicitly addresses these concerns. Trafficking victims would be entitled to support for a full year which would include safe accommodation. This would ensure that victims would not end up homeless and vulnerable, which is sadly the case for many of them currently.

New Medaille prayer cards


September 6 2017: Victim Support

Today we met a Nigerian woman trafficked from Nigeria into domestic servitude into London.  After two years she escaped but it was nearly three more years before she made herself aware to the authorities via an asylum claim. However that asylum claim is weakened by her remaining unknown to the authorities and by not going through the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) as a potential victim of human trafficking.  We took details and referred her to the NRM.  Fortunately she has a good case worker who is supporting her in supplementing the current asylum application.   Many victims of human trafficking do not go through the NRM and may never learn about it even when they find a solicitor with whom to pursue a case for asylum.  We made the referral via the Salvation Army rather than the Medaille Trust even though the Medaille Trust is one of the first responders.   However we alerted the Salvation Army to the fact that the Medaille would be happy to assist with victim support if needed.

August 30 2017: Meeting with Tom Murray, Youth Development Officer with Edmund Rice Office, Christian Brothers, Altrincham

Tom was referred to us by Brother Jim Catterson whom we met on May 15.

Tom told us about the Edmund Rice work with the United Nations Universal Periodic Review (UPR) which is a unique mechanism of the Human Rights Council (HRC) aimed at improving the human rights situation on the ground of each of the 193 United Nations (UN) Member States.

Edmund Rice have put forward proposals on homelessness, food poverty and asylum seekers and we talked about adding human trafficking to the list.  Once accepted it would have to be implemented and the monitoring process is there to ensure that it is.

We also talked about trafficking input to Edmund Rice schools and agreed to meet again on 10 November.

August 16 2017: Rehearsal of 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.

Today we went to talk to the actors and help them get into their parts in full knowledge of the harsh reality of modern day slavery.  They knew very little about human trafficking and were surprised and shocked to hear about everything we learn from East Lancashire Police.    They had lots of questions to enable them to take on their roles as trafficker, alpha female and victim, and we had a very energised and interesting hour and a half.  We left them with a Santa Marta Group prayer card each to highlight the signs of human trafficking, and copies of the latest three editions of the Medaille magazine for first hand victim testimonies.

The pictures show a couple of scenes from the play (Donna directing in the second one), and Anthony and Mary leading the question and answer session.

August 15 2017: Meeting with Fr Peter Hopkinson, Rural Dean, St John Vianney Deanery, Diocese of Salford at St Mary of the Assumption, Burnley

Between Fr John Corcoran, St John Southworth Deanery and Fr Peter Hopkinson, St John Vianney Deanery we cover most of the parishes in the East Lancashire.

St John Vianney was the second deanery for our poster, leaflet and prayer card and we wanted to discuss further developments in the deanery and a roll out across the diocese as agreed with Fr David Glover, Episcopal Vicar for Social Responsibility.

As usual it was a very productive meeting with Father Peter promising to pave the way for us at the upcoming Council of Deans’ meeting.  We discussed further local initiatives to keep the issue live:

  • A follow on to the earlier exercise with a card listing the main signs of human trafficking on one side and what to do when you see a potential victim, on the other.
  • A special Mass for the victims of human trafficking in Burnley on the Feast of St Bakhita next February 8.

 August 8 2017:  Knights of St Columba, St Michael and St John’s Presbytery

KSC were very generous at our Medaille appeal in church earlier this year and we wanted to thank them formally and tell them more about the work of the charity they were supporting,  The Spring 2017 edition of their magazine featured an article on the Medaille Trust and provided a back cloth to our Anti-Trafficking Network and its links with the Medaille Trust under the themes of:

  • Our parish initiative inspired by the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis
  • The Medaille Diocesan Representative Network with Anthony Brown and Richard Owens the Salford representatives
  • The value of prayer and our prayer card initiative in St John Southworth  and St John Vianney deaneries
  • Our local awareness raising efforts
  • Fund raising and recent appeals in church in parishes within St John Southworth Deanery
  • Our work with the Police and the Gangmasters’ Licensing Authority
  • Our work with Vietnamese victims and the possibility of making contact with victims’ relatives via the Medaille Trust’s link with Hagar International in Vietnam,

August 8 2017: Victim Support

On Tuseday, 8 August, we were in a different court with a different Vietnamese female to the one we reported on back in January.

This time it was a 17 year old girl and it was a Crown Court where she was attending as a witness in the sexual assault case in which she was the victim.  She was trafficked into the county two years ago.

Fr Xavier was foregoing the first day of a retreat to be there and she had made it clear that she wanted Mary and I to be there too.

Although she had to be at the court by 10.00 it soon became clear that she would not be called that day.  The preliminaries took some time and there were prolonged discussions between the barristers.  It happens.   The first evidence the jury would see would be three hours of videoed witness statement from 12 months ago.  The length of the video was in large part due to the use of an interpreter and although her English was much better one year on, there was an interpreter waiting with us in the Witness Care room.    The interpreter was a Vietnamese refugee  who had come to England as a young girl,  28 years ago.  With Fr Xavier also in attendance it must have been a welcome experience for the young girl to have prolonged three way conversations in her own language.  She told us later that her interpreter knew the defendant’s family and was surprised to learn what he had done.  They seemed a decent family.  It brought home that the tentacles of Vietnamese communities go far and wide.

We looked at the room where she would be cross examined via a video link and would only see the judge and the barristers.  She had declined the offer of a screen even though everyone in the court would see her.  We also looked at the  court room itself.   She seemed relaxed and ready for it.

At around 12.00 pm we learned that the court had gone into recess and would reconvene at 12.30.  Lunch was between 1.00 and 2.00 pm and the day would finish at 4.30.  It was clear that the three hour video would have to continue into the next day.  We had been warned that the trial could take up to three days.

Just before lunch the prosecution barrister came into the witness care room and told us that the defendant had changed his plea to guilty.  What is more, he acknowledged her statement in its entirety.  It was an emotional end to the morning with everything pouring out that she had so successfully held down for nearly three hours.

Fr Xavier left to try and get to Ampleforth and arrive in time for the last session of the day and we took her for a bite to eat before taking her home.  She was happy and outpoured her story in more detail than we had heard before.  She felt sympathy for the defendant’s family having learned something about them from the interpreter.

As always we are left with thoughts on what we have learned:

  • She arrived in Dover in the back of a truck with 20 or so other individuals including two very young children whom she thought were dead.  The heat was unbearable  and breathing was difficult and it seemed hours before their banging on the side of the truck brought the Police to the rescue.  However the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) assessment process deemed her situation to fall short of modern day slavery and her solicitor’s advice is to pursue an asylum case on other grounds rather than appeal against the NRM decision.  In any case trafficking in itself is not enough reason to grant asylum.
  • Although the evidence in this case was extremely strong, success was by no means assured and depended on the credibility of her evidence and how well she would stand up to a defence barrister who would do his best to discredit her.  Under pressure, the advice – always tell the truth, be brief, don’t be led under pressure, don’t say more if there is a long silence whilst the barrister waits for the judge to write his notes – isn’t always easy to follow.   It is often easier for a defendant than a victim to offer a credible story to a jury, a fact that defence barristers take full advantage of.
  • That the defendant acknowledged her statement in its entirety and didn’t try and put any blame on her is a testament to her honesty which we hope will play dividends in her asylum claim when credibility and consistency are all important.
  • She comes from a farming community and she spoke of her grandmother working the paddy fields.  She doesn’t expect to ever see her mother again which left us wondering if there was anything that could be done to locate the family even if they live out of normal communication with the world.  The Medaille have a partnership with the Hagar trust in Vietnam and the Red Cross have a family tracing service.  Depending on what she wants we may explore family tracing via these two charities.


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 an 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 FacecardSlavery 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 15 2017: Meeting with Brother Jim Catterson of the Christian Brothers, st Sabastian’s Presbytery, Salford.

Brother Jim was one of the people who attended our February 7 Human Trafficking conference and wanted to learn more about what we do and how the Christian Brothers might become involved.

We briefed Brother Jim on the subject of human trafficking and what we were doing and agreed to meet one of the teachers at a later date to see how we might work with the Christian Brothers.

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 Barnardo’s.  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 Barnardo’s 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 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 Support 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.

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 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.


  • 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 8, 2017: Medaille Coffee Morning

An opportunity to talk to the Police about the work of the Medaille Trust

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

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 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  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  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

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

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:


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


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.


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.


Shortly before the conference started


Tony Atkins talks about the work of East Lancashire Police


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

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

















Richard Owens with a fine set of Mama Margaret products
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

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.


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



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





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


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

June 6 2016: Blackburn Soroptimists

June 3 2016: Baptists Church, Sabden


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

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


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 




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.


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

Telephone: (0161) 202 1056



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




Caritas Diocese of Salford

Cathedral Centre
3 Ford Street
M3 6DP
0161 817 2250


For more information about Revive:

To learn more about Boaz Trust:

To find out more about the work of Caritas Salford Diocese:

 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

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


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


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  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


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 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 .

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

13 November 2015


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


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.



 Al Yusuf

Business Development Officer

Lancashire Partnership Against Crime

Lancashire Constabulary Headquarters

Hutton Preston PR4 5SB


2 November 2015


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


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

23 October 2015


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


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


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

11 and 12 October 2015


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


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.



  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


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


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

16 September


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


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


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.  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


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


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


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


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


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


 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


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


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 link 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



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



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 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


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


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


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.