We’ve been a partner of the Humber Modern Slavery Partnership since early this year and we’re proud to say that our CEO and Founder Andrew Smith is now Chair.

With over 60 agencies, the partnership frequently meets to discuss ways in which we can fight and prevent trafficking and slavery in our region.

Unfortunately, many people believe that slavery is a thing of the past; an issue that was solved by MPs like Hull’s William Wilberforce back in the 1800s. However, despite the Slavery Abolition Act in 1883, the problem continues to this day and is constantly changing its form.

The term “slavery” covers any activity that involves one person holding another person in compelled service. For example, when someone is forced to work via mental or physical threat, has been bought or sold as property, or is physically constrained with limits placed on their freedom.

“Modern slavery is firmly linked with homelessness. The homeless population is one of the biggest sources for modern slavery,” Andrew explains.

Earlier in 2017, the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner revealed that slave masters are more likely to prey on vulnerable people. He identified that many who are affected by homelessness are more exposed to rogue “employers”. Promises of work and accommodation often lead to individuals and families left exploited and living in appalling conditions.

A lot of the time, these individuals may not realise the extent of their situations. Others may be personally threatened with violence or harm towards their families if they don’t comply. It’s a whole system of abuse that we need to work together to prevent and end for good.

“Being a member of the partnership has allowed us to make a clear link between slavery and homelessness,” adds Andrew. “This provides us with the information we need to continue our work as a charity, as well as pass others our knowledge from the homelessness perspective.”

Andrew has now been given the honour to oversee all of the partners to ensure that we push forward with strategic aims, and that members of the partnership, as well as the general public, are aware of modern slavery and how we call all help to prevent it.

“One of my jobs is to put Humberside on the map in terms of awareness that it’s a hotbed for modern slavery,” Andrew tells us. “Hull is a port city and we have a lot of different commerce and trade. This means that there are many ways that slave masters can operate. Meanwhile, due to the high percentage of poverty in the area, there are more desperate people on the streets, willing to believe the empty promises of those just waiting to take advantage.“

More information is available on the Humber Modern Slavery Partnership website. Here you’ll find information on how to get involved and help to prevent modern slavery on a daily basis. www.humberantislave.com