Region Marks Anti-Slavery Day

The Yorkshire and the Humber Regional Organised Crime Unit joined partners to support National Anti-Slavery Day.

To support the Day (Thursday 18 October), members of the Unit worked in partnership to raise awareness and visit a number of waste recycling centres in West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire. The industry is one where there is low skilled and paid labour workers and is often an area where exploitation can occur.

The aim of the day was educate the industry, looking for any signs of exploitation while identifying and supporting any potential victims.

Andy Leonard – Modern Slavery Regional Co-ordinator, said

“Modern Day Slavery is an abhorrent crime which trades in human misery. We need to work together to bring those people responsible for it to justice.

“Throughout the region we visited the waste recycling centres to speak to the staff so they know how to spot potential signs that could indicate a colleague is a victim of the crime.

Working in partnership with other agencies and private industry is a key to us gathering intelligence about potential exploitation. The waste sector is vulnerable to this type of slavery and the education of staff and managers will help to prevent this type of abuse.

“Work to tackle this crime is ongoing 24/7, 365 days a year but what Anti-Slavery Day does is provide a platform to help us spread the message about the crime and how to spot it.

“These visits were carried out in partnership with local forces, the Environment Agency and Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA). It is important to work with our partners to have the greatest possible impact.”

Director of Operations Ian Waterfield from the Gangmasters & Labour Abuse Authority, said:

“We are the foremost agency for investigating modern slavery and labour exploitation but as a relatively small organisation in terms of resources, we place a high value on the excellent relationships we have built with our colleagues, as demonstrated by this partnership work on Anti-Slavery Day with West Yorkshire Police and the Environment Agency.

“We cannot simply arrest our way out of the problem of modern slavery, so these visits are invaluable in ensuring workers are better informed about their rights and can spot the signs of labour exploitation in the workplace.”