A group of Welsh public service workers are to be trained to recognise the signs of modern slavery.
A pilot training programme to be launched this weekend at a UNISON event will help public service workers to report instances of people in forced labour to the authorities and better help affected individuals.
UNISON Cymru Wales Black Members Group holds an annual event on 23 August to mark International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition and the trade union has warned there are more people in slavery today across the world, than in the entire 350-year history of the transatlantic slave trade.
UNISON said according to National Crime Agency statistics, there was a 30 per cent increase in reported cases of modern slavery in Wales 2018 – 2019. 60 per cent of the referrals in Wales were for labour exploitation.
The online Anti Slavery Training Awareness has been developed by Jasmin Ahmed from Black Association Women Step Out in partnership with Welsh government, Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, and UNISON’s Aneurin Bevan branch.
Kebba Manneh, chair of UNISON Cymru Wales Black Members Group said,
“UNISON is committed to tackling discrimination and exploitation in every form. Modern slavery is a shocking stain on society and there is an obligation to do everything we can to root it out and protect vulnerable individuals.
“60 per cent of the referrals in Wales were for exploitation at work. That’s why trade unions like UNISON have a major role in the fight against modern slavery.
“With 100,000 members in Wales, UNISON can help educate our members and the wider community in recognising the signs of exploitation.”
Jasmin Ahmed, who has developed the Anti Slavery Training Awareness said,
“The Anti-Slavery training package has been put together for UNISON members from the Welsh Government Anti-Slavery Training Initiative. The more people who are trained and recognise the signs of modern slavery and human trafficking the bigger the impact we make to tackle slavery.
“This training will help people understand their responsibilities and know what course of action to take. They will help in preventing this illegal and immoral practice. Based on a new police data analysis tool it is believed that there could be at least 100,000 victims in the UK.
“Slavery was meant to have abolished in the UK in 1833, but here we are in 2020 and still talking about ways of tackling it. We need to unite and tackle slavery together if we want to abolish it within our communities.”
Stephen Chapman, Anti-Slavery Co-ordinator, Welsh Government, said
“It is 2020 and slavery still exists in Wales, the UK and globally. The Welsh Government does not tolerate any form of slavery. I am proud to work with Kebba Manneh and members of the UNISON Cymru Wales Black Members Group, to raise the awareness of slavery which contributes to our aim of identifying victims of this heinous crime, rescuing and support them; and where possible bringing their perpetrators to justice.”
Notes for editors
- Link to the National Crime Agency statistics, National Referral Mechanism Statistics, End of Year Summary 2018, published on 20 March 2019. See in particular, pages 1, 25 and 26
- Using International Labour Organization figures, the Human Trafficking Foundation says that there are more people in slavery today across the world, than in the entire 350 year history of the transatlantic slave trade. The Foundation says the extent of human trafficking in the UK is likely to be far greater than the NRM statistics would suggest.
- Justice-and-Care-Centre-for-Social-Justice-It-Still-Happens-Here 2020 says based on a new police data analysis tool it is believed that there could be at least 100,000 victims in the UK.
- To report slavery you should call the Modern Slavery Helpline on 0800 0121700. There is also a telephone number providing support for victims: 0800 731 8147.
- UNISON Cymru Wales Black members’ event to mark International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition will be held online on Sunday 23 August 3-5pm
Alastair Gittins, UNISON Cymru Wales press officer on 07816 53 83 97