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In December ERSAB participated in a proactive Policing event to set a number of themes for action for the upcoming year. Through discussion the group settled on four areas of focus:

  • Sexual exploitation
  • Juvenile labour
  • Care homes
  • Domestic servitude

A steering group will be established to focus on each theme which will endeavour to:

  • Increase public awareness
  • Increase professional awareness
  • Encourage more intelligence submissions, ideally including relevant operational names
  • Explore enforcement opportunities

Following the time dedicated to each theme, the aim is to collect data which includes:

  • Intelligence reports submitted in relation to the theme of the steering group
  • How many individuals trained
  • How many public media pieces
  • Investigations undertaken
  • Disruption, including site visits, NRM referrals, Duty to Notify submissions, and crimes flagged

In addition to this Humberside Police are shifting their focus towards a critical and challenging issue that affects communities both locally and nationally - County Lines drugs networks.

This month, they are dedicating their collective efforts to disrupt and dismantle these networks and would like to encourage partner participation.

Understanding County Lines:

County Lines operations involve drug distribution networks that exploit vulnerable individuals, including children and adults, to sell drugs in rural areas, small towns, and larger cities outside their normal operating base. These operations are characterised by their use of dedicated mobile phone lines (known as ‘graft lines’), as well as significant levels of violence and exploitation associated with them.

Humberside Police will be promoting work along four key workstreams;

Intelligence-Led Policing: Enhance intelligence-gathering efforts on known and suspected County Lines activities. Utilising intelligence from multiple areas including Police Staff and Officers, members of the public, partner agencies and Community Partnership Intelligence.

Protecting the Vulnerable: Focus on identifying and safeguarding individuals who are being exploited by these networks. Collaborating with social services, schools, and community organisations to provide support and prevent further exploitation.

Interagency Collaboration: Work closely with neighbouring forces and agencies to share intelligence and resources. County Lines operations cross boundaries, and so must our efforts to combat them.

Public Awareness and Engagement: Increase awareness within the community about the signs of County Lines exploitation and encourage reporting. Public cooperation is vital in tackling this issue.

Chief Inspector Mark Skelton said

“This month, let us focus our efforts to combat the scourge of County Lines drug distribution. Each operation we disrupt, each individual we save from exploitation, is a significant victory in our ongoing battle against organised crime.

The fight against County Lines is not just about law enforcement; it's about protecting our most vulnerable from exploitation and dismantling networks that sow discord in our communities. Your dedication, vigilance, and proactive approach are key to our success.

As community partners, we have an opportunity to make a real difference.”

Please disseminate through your respective networks, and encourage partners to submit intelligence through the Community Intelligence Portal – (for professionals)

 - or via any of the other means listed via the following link;

ERSAB have produced their first Annual Report around Modern Slavery. Please see below:

Modern Slavery Annual Report 2023-24 (pdf 1.7mb)

National Focus

The House of Lords Select Committee on the Modern Slavery Act 2015 was appointed on 24 January 2024. It will report by 30 November 2024.  It will consider the impact of the 2015 Modern Slavery Act, and its effectiveness in achieving its aims. It will also consider how the Act’s provisions have been implemented, how the Act has been impacted by recent political developments, and whether the Act requires improvement.

The Committee is seeking submissions relating to any or all of the following topics: 

  • The extent to which the Modern Slavery Act 2015 has been impacted by recent legislation (for example the Nationality and Borders Act 2022 and the Illegal Migration Act 2023)
  • Whether the Act has kept up-to-date with developments in modern slavery and human trafficking, both within the UK and internationally
  • The efficacy of the provisions of the Act relating to supply chains
  • The efficacy of the other key provisions of the Act, including definitions, sanctions, reporting, enforcement, and the statutory defence for victims
  • The role of the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, including whether the post is sufficiently resourced, and the process of appointment
  • Suggestions for improvements that could be made to the Act to help it to better achieve its aims

For more information, please click here.

#LookCloser is The Children’s Society’s award-winning campaign with the British Transport Police and the National County Lines Coordination Centre, aiming to raise awareness about the exploitation of children and young people and the vital role that everyone can play in helping stop it.

The next #LookCloser campaign week begins Monday 4 March. For more information, please click here.

In the news

Below are a selected number of recent articles around Modern Slavery:

Rwanda plan puts modern slavery victims at further risk of exploitation, campaigners warn

Days without eating and 16 hour shifts: Exploitation is still rife 20 years after Morecambe Bay

Trafficking gangs involved in Morecambe Bay cockling tragedy 'untouchable' 20 years on

Modern slavery in social care surging since visa rules eased

Luton drug dealers jailed for modern slavery offence

'Predators' convicted after woman forced into sex work

Brothers ran 'epic, mind-blowing' cannabis ring with farms in Hull and Withernsea

Training Opportunities

What's Wrong with Exploitation?

The Wilberforce Institute

Wed, 13 Mar 2024 16:30 – 18.00 – Online

Since the turn of the millennium there has been a concerted international response to the exploitation of human beings. National and international awareness campaigns about the extent of various forms of exploitative practices have driven law enforcement, victim support and human rights strategies to combat them. Despite this progress the language, definition and explanation for these exploitative behaviours remains contested, unclear and under-theorised. This contestation manifests itself in a fault line between the framing of the problem on one hand as interpersonal victimisation and criminal justice and on the other, as political human rights, migration and global economic forces.

This lecture seeks to resolve these conceptual and practical limitations, and in doing so reconfigure the understanding and response to all forms of exploitation by developing a clear definition that is philosophically and theoretically grounded. The purpose of this reconceptualisation is to provide a governing explanation for the type of injustice that sits at the heart of all forms of modern slavery.

Eventbrite link

Modern Slavery - Awareness Raising

Lewisham Safeguarding Adults Board

Mon, 29 April 2024 10.00 – 12.30 - Online

The aim of this session is to provide a basic introduction to modern slavery by outlining the legal framework, definitions and principles that are used, and by signposting to key local and national resources (led by Martin Crow LSAB Business Manager).

Eventbrite link

In 2024, Ersab will be participating in the June and November Safeguarding weeks along with colleagues from across the East Riding, Hull, York and North Yorkshire. A number of Modern Slavery themed events are planned. Details will follow later in the year. To keep updated please follow Ersab on Eventbrite.

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