On Saturday 17th October I attended the Modern Day Slavery Summit at SCDC Offices at Cambourne, represent both Hildersham and Balsham residents, what follows is an entry that will be in various local newsletters and magazines. What came out of the summit, made it very clear that this is happening on our streets here in South Cambridgeshire, one area that surprised me was it was very prevalent in every day things like the new hand car washes that have sprung up everywhere.
The presentation began with three short films, each one was dramatising actual cases of modern day slavery.
Yoke farm: First was about a group of men forced to work on a chicken farm only taken out to sell eggs to corner shop owners, they spoke no English and were controlled by one of their captors. One shopkeeper became suspicious and called the police, and the captors were arrested the next time they visited the shop, and the men were subsequently released. http://unchosen.org.uk/
The Trip: The second involved a Vietnamese man locked in, and forced to manage a Cannabis factory if he complained or tried to leave he was beaten and told his family back home would be killed. The police raided the factory and finding only him there arrested him, due to the threats made against his family he would not speak and was jailed, but after 18 months it was realized that he had been a victim and was released. http://unchosen.org.uk/
Katerina: A Hula Hoop Tale of Human Trafficking: Next was a film of a Russian girl who wanted a job in the UK as a nanny, so that she sent money home to help her family however on arrival her passport and papers were taken away and she was forced into prostitution. She managed to escape. http://www.hooping.org/2014/02/katerina-a-hula-hoop-tale-of-human-trafficking/
We were told that all three of these films represented similar incidents that had occurred in South Cambs, you can watch the films for yourself at http://unchosen.org.uk/
Here is my report that will feature in local Newsletters and Magazines:
On Saturday 17th October, 105 South Cambs parish representatives from parish councils and local churches attended a Modern Day Slavery Summit hosted by the South Cambs Area Police Commander. The need for such a summit is best put in Chief Inspector James Sutherland’s own words:
“There are many types of crime that affect us here in South Cambs but none as shocking as human trafficking and modern day slavery. Many of us would quite justifiably think that slavery had long been consigned to the history books but as recent media reporting has shown, it not only exists but is a growing force.
It would be easy to think of this as something that is happening abroad or confined to our cities. I'm afraid that I have to tell you that slavery and exploitation are happening right here, under our noses. As commander of local policing this is something that sits very heavily on my conscience and I am determined to do everything in my power to drive it out, but I need your help to do this.
The greatest challenge we face when tackling slavery is that it doesn't look like it used to do. Modern day slavers don't need chains and manacles- their methods are far more insidious and this can allow it to pass almost un-noticed: possibly even in your street. To tackle this menace we therefore need to raise awareness about how modern slavery manifests itself- how to spot the tell-tale signs and how to safely report concerns and suspicions to the police”.
HOW TO SPOT THE SIGNS OF MODERN SLAVERY
Signs of slavery in the UK and elsewhere are often hidden, making it even harder to recognise victims around us. Whilst not exhaustive, here is a list of some common signs which you can be aware of.
1. PHYSICAL APPEARANCE
Victims may show signs of physical or psychological abuse, look malnourished or unkempt, or appear withdrawn
Victims may rarely be allowed to travel on their own, seem under the control, influence of others, rarely interact, or appear unfamiliar with their neighbourhood or where they work
3. POOR LIVING CONDITIONS
Victims may be living in dirty, cramped or overcrowded accommodation, and / or living and working at the same address
4. FEW OR NO PERSONAL EFFECTS
Victims may have no identification documents, have few personal possessions, and always wear the same clothes day in day out. What clothes they do wear may not be suitable for their work
5. RESTRICTED FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT
Victims have little opportunity to move freely and may have had their travel documents retained, e.g. passports
6. UNUSUAL TRAVEL TIMES
They may be dropped off / collected for work on a regular basis either very early or late at night.
7. RELUCTANT TO SEEK HELP
Victims may avoid eye contact, appear frightened or hesitant to talk to strangers and fear law enforcers for many reasons, such as not knowing who to trust or where to get help, fear of deportation, fear of violence to them or their family.
If you think a person is in immediate danger you should Call the Police on 999 and report it
Call 101 for non-emergencies, 24/7 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 anonymously or at www.crimestoppers-uk.org
If you suspect slavery is happening and there is no immediate threat to life...You can report it by calling the Modern Slavery helpline on 0800 0121 700
To watch the films shown at the Modern Day Slavery Summit go to http://unchosen.org.uk/
Represented Balsham and Hildersham at the Summit
Hildersham Village Website
The PCC of the Ecclesiastical Parish of Holy Trinity, Hildersham - Charity No: 1153435
The Hildersham Village Hall Charitable Trust - Charity No. 1118087
(c) Hildersham Team 2016