New website launched to help victims of modern-day slavery and human trafficking in Norfolk
Victims of modern slavery and human trafficking in Norfolk are being offered extra support and assistance on where to find help with the launch of a new website.
The site has been created by the Norfolk Anti-Slavery Network (NASN) which was launched late last year thanks to funding from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk (OPCCN).
The NASN is a two-year pilot scheme co-ordinated by the British Red Cross and aims to work with partners to ensure best practice and shared learning.
Also, targeted at professionals and businesses, the new website is just one of the mechanisms the partnership is using to increase reporting of such crimes, raise awareness and offer vital support and advice.
Norfolk’s PCC Lorne Green, said: “Partnership working is ultimately the key to ensuring victims get the right support and help they need to escape the impossible trap they can find themselves in.
“Modern day slavery is a reality here in Norfolk. These are vulnerable people living in our communities, people who are often too frightened to speak out.
“We must work together to use all the tools we can in our armoury to help those most at risk of being exploited while highlighting the dangers as well as the responsibilities we all have to help make a real difference.”
The launch of the website comes on the eve of national Anti-Slavery Day on Sunday 18 October which provides an opportunity to raise awareness of human trafficking and modern slavery, and encourage government, local authorities, companies, charities and individuals to do what they can to address the problem.
The NASN is a multi-agency partnership that brings together statutory and non-statutory partners from across Norfolk. The website will support the work of the network.
The vision of the network is to enhance the response to modern slavery and human trafficking by responding to and supporting victims and creating a zero-tolerance environment for the conditions in which such crimes thrive.
Strategic Objectives include:
- To identify, support, protect and empower victims of modern slavery and human trafficking
- To support local organisations who are tackling modern slavery and human trafficking by ensuring the right skills, knowledge and processes are in place
- To promote collaboration and joint working amongst partner organisations and community-based agencies
- To increase reporting of suspected modern slavery and human trafficking
- To raise awareness of modern slavery and human trafficking within the communities of Norfolk
The NASN has been funded under the £450k Hidden Victims’ Fund (HVF) which was launched by Police and Crime Commissioner Lorne Green in July 2018 and aims to support hidden victims of crime and reduce vulnerability.
The Red Cross received £66,155 under the fund after the OPCCN identified a need for additional provision to complement existing networks, for a co-ordinated and strategic response by partner organisations to recognise and support victims.
Jillian Fosten, Anti-Trafficking Network Coordinator for Norfolk at British Red Cross, said: "Anti-Slavery Day is an important day to make sure people know the signs of someone who is being exploited.
"People who are experiencing exploitation may be withdrawn and unwilling to interact, they might live in cramped, unhygienic and overcrowded accommodation and have no identity documents. They could well appear scared, avoid eye contact, and be untrusting or show signs of abuse. People who are being exploited are used as a commodity for the gain of other people."
"There are also several types of exploitation. These include, but are not limited to, sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, a form of forced labour usually in residential properties, labour exploitation for example in farming or car washes as well as forced begging or criminal activity.
"If you have concerns that someone is being exploited, or suspect modern slavery, please call the national Modern Slavery 24 helpline on 08000 121 700."
Detective Superintendent Andy Coller, head of safeguarding for Norfolk Police, added: “Norfolk Constabulary is proud to be part of the Norfolk Anti-Slavery Network. It’s important for partners across different organisations to come together to tackle modern slavery, which blights our communities and changes lives. A coordinated approach means we can target those who commit the crime of modern slavery and help vulnerable victims on a path to a better life.”
The project is one of a number funded by the OPCCN to help tackle modern slavery and criminal exploitation in Norfolk as part of the PCC’s commitment to supporting victims and reducing vulnerability – a core aim of his Police and Crime Plan.
It was the third initiative to be funded in the county under the Hidden Victims’ Fund.
Earlier this year the OPCCN also funded the livery of a number of police vehicles in a bid to raise public awareness of modern slavery.
The vans – which can be seen across the county - carry the number of the national Modern Slavery Helpline (08000 121 700) to encourage people to report any concerns or seek free and confidential help and advice.