Police and Crime Commissioner funds new network to step up response to modern slavery and human trafficking

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June 20, 2022

County Durham and Darlington Police and Crime Commissioner Joy Allen has funded the appointment of Robin Brierley, who will chair a new local panel to coordinate the response to modern slavery and human trafficking and increase support for victims.

Robin Brierley is an independent consultant on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking who has been involved in the setup of a number of networks nationally.

Robin Brierley commented: “Multi agency partnership working is essential in identifying adult and child victims of exploitation and ensuring they receive the appropriate care and support”.

“It also significantly enhances criminal justice outcomes ensuring perpetrators are brought to justice, reducing harm to some of the most vulnerable people in our community.  Durham Police and Crime Commissioner has had the foresight to support a brand-new Modern Slavery Partnership.”

The aim of the Durham Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Network is to ensure a coordinated response across County Durham and Darlington by increasing understanding and awareness of the nature and scale of the issue in the area.  The Network brings multiple agencies together to share information, improve intelligence gathering and ensure the county is better equipped to respond to victims.

Representation from Durham Adults Safeguarding Board, Durham & Darlington County Council, Durham Constabulary, Durham OPCC, VCAS, the Salvation Army and Ashiana, has already been secured and the PCC is keen to hear from other organisations who currently work in this area and feel that they contribute and/or benefit from being part of the network.

Commissioner Allen said: “The launch of the Network is a significant milestone and demonstrates my commitment, and the commitment of our partners, to addressing these heinous crimes and preventing future harm.

“Victims and survivors of modern slavery and human trafficking deserve the very best support and protection and together we are determined to ensure those who come into our care receive the full support and justice they are entitled to.

“One of my key Police and Crime Plan priorities is to support the coordination of the local, regional and national response to these issues through the National Anti-Trafficking and Modern Slavery Network and I am pleased to say this work is very much in progress to enable us to better join up policy and services to address and understand risk and vulnerability.

“Modern slavery is a complex crime impacting every area of the country.  Victims of crime are at the heart of everything I do and it is vital we work together with our partners to ensure staff have the knowledge and training they need to understand and support survivors and those at risk of harm.”

It comes as a new national report reveals the number of police investigations, prosecutions and convictions for slavery and human trafficking rose in 2021-22.

The report, by Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner Dame Sara Thornton, outlines the progress being made to meet her four key priorities of improving victim care and support, supporting law enforcement and prosecutions, focusing on prevention and achieving value from research and innovation.  Dame Sara Thornton highlighted in her report that “multi-agency partnerships have a vital role in helping to facilitate a co-ordinated response to modern slavery at a local level”.

For the full report visit: https://www.antislaverycommissioner.co.uk/media/1796/iasc-annual-report-2021-2022.pdf

For further information or to represent your organisation please email; info@durhamantislaverynetwork.org.

If you are a victim or suspect modern slavery, report it to the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700 or call Durham police on 101. In an emergency always call 999.

Ends

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