Modern Slavery Conference held to tackle awful crime (3 Oct 2016)

20160929-_WYP5925West Yorkshire Police and the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner joined partners from the public and private sectors to host a Modern Slavery summit.

The aim of the event, which was held at West Yorkshire Police's Carr Gate facility, was to bring together partners from the business, banking and public sectors to work together to tackle this most awful crime.

Over 140 delegates from a cross section of businesses from the banking and recruitment sectors and representatives from academia attended the event.

Key note speakers included Kevin Hyland - the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner and Paul Broadbent - the Chief Executive of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority.

Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner said:

"Human trafficking is a vile crime perpetrated by money driven criminals who have no regard for the suffering of their victims.

"Being the lead Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for human trafficking and modern day slavery, here in West Yorkshire we are leading the way both regionally and nationally in tackling traffickers and criminal gangs, as well as rescuing and supporting the victims.

"In conjunction with anti-human trafficking charity Hope for Justice and other partners we have trained thousands of frontline officers and staff on spotting the tell-tale signs of this crime. We created 2 years ago a dedicated team of detectives to investigate reports and tackle the perpetrators head on. We also established the West Yorkshire Anti-Trafficking Network at the same time and this year I helped launch the national PCC network in the Home Office to share good practise and promote true joined up partnership working. The only way we can tackle this crime is to work together and this event with partners from across the public and private sectors was the latest step in developing our approach with key partners. I was therefore delighted with the take up for this event and the input from all our speakers and participants.

Modern _slavery - Copy"It was a really constructive and excellent event and I would like to thank all those who attended and share our vision of bringing an end to modern day slavery and human trafficking."

The West Yorkshire Police Temporary Chief Constable Dee Collins, said:

"Modern Slavery is a harrowing subject to discuss but this event was a very powerful reminder that there are lots of people and organisations out there who can make a massive difference.

"The event itself could not have gone any better - we had support from so many people who came along, and listened and contributed to the discussions.

"It is vital that we get it right 'on the ground' in terms of how we safeguard vulnerable victims and deal with those looking to profit from the misery of others. West Yorkshire Police is only one of only a handful of Forces to have a unit dedicated solely to tackling this insidious crime.

"It is also vital that we get it right at a strategic level too. Modern Slavery is an issue that can affect various organisations and sectors - no one can or should work in isolation to tackle it.

"That is why we held this summit - to discuss and share best practise and to learn from others so that we can then ensure that together we are doing everything possible.

"Everyone has a role to play - from the police officer 'on the beat' to the bank cashier taking a payment - the approach to tackling Modern Slavery must be a joint one."

The conference heard from keynote speakers about the crime and what can be done to stop it and the steps that can be taken to safeguard victims of it.

During the lunch interval at the event the Leeds based theatre company, Bughlight staged a short play about modern slavery.

Participants at the conference were also shown a hard-hitting video about modern slavery and the impact it has on victims.

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