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Working to protect the vulnerable from slavery

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Home Office shines light on criminals seeking to exploit homeless people this Christmas

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The Home Office is joining forces with charities across the country today (Saturday 20 December) to raise awareness of criminals preying on the homeless and vulnerable this Christmas.

Criminals often target vulnerable individuals, particularly at Christmas, with false promises of work and accommodation. There have been numerous occasions where this has led to people being trafficked, forced into labour and a life of servitude.

The Minister for Modern Slavery and Organised Crime Karen Bradley has written to charities and shelters that provide support to homeless people across the country about this horrific crime.

Posters featuring a powerful image from the Home Office’s hard-hitting television advert have been sent to shelters around the UK, alerting homeless people to the risks of modern slavery and directing them to the dedicated helpline number. Advice has also been provided to shelter staff on what to do if they suspect modern slavery.

The Home Office’s hard-hitting television

Minister for Modern Slavery and Organised Crime Karen Bradley said:

Modern slavery is taking place across the UK, often out of sight - in shops, fields, building sites and behind the curtains of houses on ordinary streets.

But we also know of some horrific cases where victims have been approached when they are at their most vulnerable – looking for work and living on the streets.

That is why we are taking action on a number of fronts. We have brought forward a Modern Slavery Bill, the first of its kind in Europe, and published a wide-ranging strategy to tackle this crime.

If we are to abolish it, everyone needs to play a part, at local as well as national level, and to raise awareness of the issues involved.

The Home Office launched a national campaign this year, the first of its kind in the UK, to encourage the public to identify the signs of modern slavery and report it by calling the new national helpline.

The Modern Slavery Bill will give law enforcement the tools to stamp out modern slavery. It will ensure perpetrators receive suitably severe sentences for these appalling crimes; introduce an Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner; enhance support and protection for victims; and encourage businesses to do more to eliminate slavery from their global supply chains.

Legislation is only part of the answer. The new Modern Slavery Strategy sets out a cross-government approach, detailing the actions that we expect from government departments, agencies and partners in the UK and, importantly, internationally.

If you think you work with someone who may be a victim of modern slavery, call 0800 0121 700 or visit modernslavery.co.uk

Published 20 December 2014