Family and awareness event in Broadstairs to support Thanet safehouse for modern slavery victims

Modern slavery in the UK

A fundraising, awareness and family day will take place in Broadstairs in aid of an isle safehouse supporting victims of modern slavery.

The safehouse has space for around 20 people and hosts mainly women and children but also some men in family groups. It is looked after by The Medaille Trust which works to help modern slavery and trafficking victims and to bring those responsible to justice.

The Trust says there are some 122,000 people currently living in slavery in the UK and exploitation can range from imposed  labour to prostitution, forced marriage and even young and vulnerable victims of County Lines drug dealing.

The Medaille Trust, which has ten properties across the county, supports 600 people per year nationwide through protection and outreach services.

‘Supporting survivors’

The main aims of the Trust are “prevent, protect and pursue.”

Ben Ryan, from the Trust, said: “The prevent work is mainly raising awareness and there is a project in Albania with vulnerable people at risk of modern slavery.

“Protect is where we do most of our work and in (Thanet) we have safe accommodation to support survivors of modern slavery and help with housing, employment, health, trauma support – everything they need to rebuild their life.

“We have outreach working with people in the community and work with the NRM (National Referral Mechanism) to support potential victims. We support around 600 people per year (in the country) across the tow services.

“Pursue is helping survivors get justice, we work with police on operations and help survivors achieve best evidence which can be used to secure convictions.”

Ben says the issue of modern slavery in the UK is ‘huge’ and only a small minority of victims will seek the help they need.

Although some of the people arriving in the UK by small boats will be referred as victims, they are not the largest group.

The Trust encounters sexual exploitation with those forced into prostitution an enforced labour within farming, abattoirs, nail salons and those coerced into County Lines drug networks.

Many of the people impacted are British nationals, particularly young men.

Medaille Trust awareness day

The Trust will hold a family activity and awareness day on October 7, 9am-1pm, at The Gap, Queens Road Baptist Church, Broadstairs.

There will be family activities while raising awareness of modern slavery. Raffle prizes, cake sale and more will be on offer. All money raised on the day will go to Medaille Trust charity.

A justgiving page to support work at the Thanet safehouse can be found at:
https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/kent-safehouse

Most survivors at the Thanet house are from other areas of the country, taking refuge in Kent so they are out of the reach of their exploiters. There are 10 Medaille Trust safe houses in the country.

Find out more about The Medaille Trust at: https://www.medaille-trust.org.uk/

Modern Slavery in the UK

In 2022 the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) received 16,938 referrals of potential victims of modern slavery, which represents a 33% increase in referrals compared to the preceding year (12,706).

Last year saw the highest number of annual referrals since the NRM began in 2009.

  • 52% (8,854) of potential victims were adults
  • 41% (7,019) of potential victims were children
  • 78% (13,290) of potential victims were male
  • 21% (3,634) of potential victims were female.

Most potential victims of modern slavery were referred for Labour exploitation and criminal exploitation. Almost half of children in modern slavery were victims of criminal exploitation.

Modern slavery victims are trafficked from more than 130 countries to the UK. However a quarter of the victims last year were British.

The most common nationalities for modern slavery victims in 2022 were:

  • Albanians-  27% (4,613) of all potential victims
  • UK – 25% (4185) of all potential victims
  • Eritrean – 7% (1,171) of all potential victims
  • Sudanese – 5% (851) of all potential victims
  • Vietnamese – 5% (768) of all potential victims

Slavery and trafficking reports in Thanet

Between August 2021 and January 2022 Thanet accounted for 11% of modern slavery/human trafficking reports made in east Kent, including fears of sexual and labour exploitation of young women at a food outlet and a case of suspected forced labour.

The figure was revealed by Kent Police District Commander for Thanet, Chief Inspector Matthew Smith, during a presentation to district councillors last year.

During those months there were 12 Thanet reports of modern slavery and/or human trafficking.

Eight related to adults and four to children and included a range of criminal actions from County Lines drug running to forced labour.

These were categorised as:

Criminal Exploitation: 4

Labour Exploitation: 5

Sexual Exploitation: 1

Suspected trafficking: 1 – reported in Thanet but taking place elsewhere

Domestic Servitude: 1

Chief Insp Smith said work to tackle the exploitation was carried out by partners in the Multi Agency Task Force. These include officers from Kent Police’s Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking team, the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA), Border Force, Thanet council, Kent Fire and Rescue, HMRC and Dept for Work and Pensions.

Signs that someone might be a victim of modern slavery include:

Showing signs of injury, abuse and malnourishment;

Looking unkempt, often in the same clothing and having poor hygiene;

Appearing to be under the control and influence of others;

Living in cramped, dirty, overcrowded accommodation;

Having no access to or control of their passport or identity documents;

Appearing scared, avoiding eye contact, and being untrusting

Allowing others to speak for them when addressed directly, rather than speaking for themselves;

Being collected very early/returned late at night on a regular basis;

Having inappropriate clothing for the work they are performing/lack of safety equipment;

Being isolated from the local community and their family;

Travelling only with other workers.

How to report it:

Modern Slavery Helpline 08000 121 700

National Crime Agency  

Police – 999, 101 or online

Crimestoppers 0800 555 111

6 Comments

  1. One just does not know what goes on outside of our cosy environments. Anything that highlights other human beings beings being mistreated is a good thing even better if the abusers can be arrested and brought to justice.

  2. Meanwhile the left are too busy banging on about slavery that happened hundreds of years ago along with Black Lives Matter

    • Sparky, you really must get help, were you subjected to abuse when younger, or even now? You sound as if you must get some sort of pleasure bullying those who are unable to respond, what a sad person you must be, get help before you end up self harming, or are you doing that already?

      • My point is that the left would be better focusing on modern day slavery rather than banging on about an issue that happened hundreds of years ago that the UK was instrumental in banning. Your other comments are quite frankly pathetic and ridiculous, yawn ….

  3. Lots of statistics and numbers around fears , reports and potential, but none for actual cases that were proven to be cases of modern slavery. Which could suggest the issue is being overstated, especially given that according to the media many albanians entering the country by irregular means have apparently claimed they were victims of modern slavery in order to stay here.

  4. It happens to english people too Lc, take it from me, I know…. It is nearer than you think when doors are closed, people that run places you ( not you personally ) go every day to….

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