Southend Againts Modern Slavery (SAMS partnership) welcomes the publication of the ‘It still happens here’ report by the think-tank The Centre for Social Justice and the anti-slavery charity Justice and Care. SAMS was involved in the research for the report, highlighting our ongoing work in Southend-on-Sea.
The report highlights that ‘Britain has at least 100,000 slaves’ which includes a high number of UK citizens including children. Modern Slavery is a hidden crime but is prevalent in Southend through shellfish pickers, nail bars, car washes for example. We know it is a problem, ‘but we do not have the data to understand how big modern slavery is in our area.’
SAMS uses community intelligence to drive our activities and to understand the local picture, which is in line with recommendation one of the reports. However, we believe we can do more, but the challenge is to build trust between the victims, us and the relevant authorities. Working with our partners we strive to deliver this.
Over 60% of people did not know what to do if they spotted the signs of modern slavery and this is the challenge to provide people with the awareness of the signs and then where to report them. SAMS has been working with local charities and Southend Borough Council to provide awareness workshop for volunteers, front line employees, charity workers and members of the public. However, further awareness workshops are needed.
SAMS Community Intelligence Lead Simon Werrett said, ‘Modern slavery is about our friends, our children, our town and we need to work together to try and eradicate it and make Southend a ‘slave free’ borough.’
SAMS Partnership – www.samspartnership.org.uk – is Community Partnership working within the Borough of Southend-on-Sea. The Partnership includes local charities, faith organisations and the voluntary sector. We work in Partnership with Law Enforcement and the Statutory Sector towards ending exploitation and human trafficking