Modern Slavery and Organised Crime Minister, Karen Bradley, visited the safe houses which are run by Ashiana and City Hearts - organisations which provide support to adult victims of human trafficking. There she met a number of specialist support workers and slavery survivors.
The visit comes as the government is taking a wide range of action to end modern slavery and protect victims through legislation and non-legislative work.
Karen Bradley said:
At the heart of everything we do is the need to protect victims and prevent further men, women and children falling prey to this particularly evil crime.
We are taking action on a number of fronts. The Modern Slavery Bill, the first of its kind in Europe, will strengthen the punishment of offenders and the protection of victims. Through the National Crime Agency and police forces we are stepping up enforcement against the criminal gangs behind much of modern slavery.
We are urging businesses to take responsibility for ensuring their suppliers are not involved in trafficking and exploitation and we are working with high risk countries to try and stop victims falling prey to traffickers in the first place.
All this is a good start, but we need everyone to play a part, at local as well as national level, and to raise awareness of the issues involved. I am grateful for the vital work being carried out by Ashiana and City Hearts in Sheffield to help consign slavery to the history books where it belongs.
City Hearts also works with local businesses in Sheffield to help survivors find employment opportunities once they leave the safe house as part of their ‘move on’ scheme. Outside of its work with victims, Ashiana runs a development project which delivers training to multi-agency groups.
The Salvation Army sub-contracts support services and accommodation for potential victims of human trafficking to 11 local partner organisations, including Ashiana and City Hearts, through a network of safe houses and outreach services across England and Wales.