Twin conference on modern day slavery and homelessness (11 Oct 2018)

The links between Homelessness and Modern Day Slavery are the focus of a high profile partnership conference at the University of Huddersfield next week (15/10)

It follows a report by Homelessness Charity 'The Passage', supported by the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner's Office, which makes a series of recommendations.

West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Mark Burns-Williamson is leading the event, which sees numerous organisations and agencies come together.

At the same time, a twin conference will take place in the West Midlands to help share experiences and learning across the country using the hash-tag #breakingchains.

Experts in their field will be speaking as part of workshops to raise awareness of the links, challenges, nature and scale of the issue.

Mark-Burns Williamson, who is also the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) lead for Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking says it is incredibly important that we create a platform for these conversations:

"The 2017 report by 'The Passage' is a real indicator of what is required in our response to modern day slavery and its connections to homelessness.

"It made 12 recommendations including closer working between local authorities and police to raise awareness of modern slavery.

"Likewise, it highlighted the appropriate data collection to increase understanding of the links with homelessness and the establishment of partnerships across homelessness charities, anti-slavery organisations, police, local authorities and others in addressing any gaps in support.

"These conferences are therefore a great opportunity to bring together all the experts in the field and talk in greater depth about what more can be done in West Yorkshire.

"The information gathered from these discussions will also help to form a national debate on these themes, particularly through the portfolio I hold around Modern Day Slavery and Human Trafficking through the national PCC network which I chair.

"On Wednesday 17th of October, I will be feeding back much of what I have learned to the next National Anti-Trafficking and Modern Slavery Network (NATMSN) in Coventry.

"By having these conversations and sharing our knowledge, it can only serve to focus efforts around prevention of these horrendous crimes and human rights abuses offering increased support for victims and survivors."

Gordon Laing is the General Manager of Simon on the Streets which works to support the homeless across West Yorkshire and who attended the event.

"It is great to see the Police and Crime Commissioner publicise the connection between homelessness, in particular rough sleeping, and slavery/trafficking.

"Our charity works with entrenched rough sleepers who are incredibly vulnerable to such targeting by those who would wish to take advantage of them."

Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer is the National Police Chief Council (NPCC) Lead for Modern Slavery and added:

"As the National Policing Lead on behalf of all forces within England and Wales, I very much welcome the approach being taken in respect of Modern Slavery and its links to homelessness within this conference.

"This is a true partnership initiative and will be critical to not only safeguarding some of the most vulnerable in society but also helping wider policing to better understand the complexity of the challenge and develop innovative, preventative approaches with local partners.

"On the national stage, West Yorkshire have particularly led through the PCC Mark Burns-Williamson, innovation in respect of Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking.

"As one of our largest and most diverse urban areas, the commitment of West Midlands in this joint initiative is particularly significant and I very much look forward to reports from the conference in order to develop national best practice and learning."

© Copyright West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner 2019