West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster has called for a coalition to eliminate modern slavery from across the region.
The PCC made the call to action after experts from across the region gathered in Birmingham for his West Midlands Anti-Slavery Day Conference to showcase how modern slavery, human trafficking and exploitation are still happening.
It is estimated that up to 130,000 people are living in modern slavery in the UK, including trafficking into criminal activities like cannabis farming, sexual exploitation, domestic slavery or forced labour on farms, in construction, shops, bars, nail bars, car washes or manufacturing.
Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster said: “Just as in the 19th Century, it took a coalition of committed, determined and tenacious people and organisations – over many decades – to end traditional slavery, it will take a modern coalition, equally committed, determined and tenacious to eliminate Modern Slavery from the 21st Century.
“Modern Slavery covers practices such as forced labour, debt bondage, forced marriage and human trafficking. Essentially, it refers to situations of exploitation that a person cannot refuse or leave – because of threats, violence, coercion, deception, and/or an abuse of power.
“It exists in many forms in the UK, including trafficking into criminal activities like cannabis farming, sexual exploitation, domestic slavery or forced labour on farms, in construction, shops, bars, nail bars, car washes or manufacturing.”
The PCC commissions and supports a number of interventions, to support victims of modern slavery and human trafficking, including the West Midlands Modern Slavery Network, which coordinates the modern slavery efforts regionally and keeps the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner updated and informed about national, regional and local initiatives and developments.
And since 2019, West Midlands Police has been operating Op Sandstar,in collaboration with Black Country Women’s Aid – to identify new sex work locations across the region and provide intelligence to the force – for the purpose of undertaking visits to relevant locations and to examine safeguarding risks.Back to News Archive