Pledge to Eradicate Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking

31st January 2018

Welsh Assembly Member Joyce Watson and the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Gwent, Jeff Cuthbert, will today (Wednesday January 31st) be urging partners and leading political figures in Wales to take positive action and pledge their commitment to do everything in their power to eradicate modern slavery and human trafficking.

The event at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay is sponsored by Joyce Waston AM who is working in partnership with the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Gwent, Jeff Cuthbert. The awareness event has been organised to look at how partners can work together to prevent these heinous crimes from happening in Wales and to provide a platform for change. Those attending will be asked to sign a pledge highlighting their commitment to eradicate modern slavery and human trafficking and will discuss how they can use a collective approach to provide support and reduce the long-term impact on those who have unfortunately been victims.

Urging people to use the event as a platform for change, the event sponsor, Joyce Watson AM, said: “I am honoured to be sponsoring this event. In 2010, I published a report on Human Trafficking in Wales, ‘Knowing No Boundaries’. At that time, the extent of human trafficking and modern day slavery in Wales was largely unknown - it wasn’t on the radar. Thankfully today it is. We are now aware that we may come in contact with people who are victims in our everyday activities which is why it is crucial that we continue to raise awareness.”

Gwent PCC Jeff Cuthbert represents all four of the PCC’s in Wales on the Welsh Government Leadership Group that focusses on ways to tackle Modern Slavery.

Highlighting the importance of the event, Mr Cuthbert, said: “Tackling modern slavery is an area that my office and Gwent Police are determined to drive forward with our partners locally and nationally. Each and every one of us has a responsibility to ensure that people are not exploited and no single organisation can effectively tackle and eradicate this problem alone. I hope this event will help raise awareness across our communities and will ensure that victims and survivors of these heinous crimes receive the appropriate support they so desperately need.”

BAWSO is a Wales-wide organisation, providing specialist services to people affected by domestic violence and abuse including forced marriage, honour based violence, Female Genital Mutilation and human trafficking.

The Chief Executive of BAWSO, Mutale Merrill OBE, said: “Many people have little or no knowledge of human trafficking, yet it is on the increase and an issue as a society we all need to be aware of. Human Trafficking destroys lives and damages individuals, communities, the economy and wider society. Alongside supporting people through a crisis situation, BAWSO works long term to provide emotional support through counselling, advocacy, health guidance and education.”

Julian Williams, Chief Constable, Gwent Police said: “The uncomfortable reality is that modern day slavery isn’t an issue which is confined to other countries, it’s here on our doorstep. A significant problem we face with this offence is people often don’t realise they are victims. We want to offer support and protection to victims and tackle the perpetrators. I urge anyone who suspects someone may be a victim to contact us on 101 or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

Delegates at the event will include numerous Welsh Assembly Members from across Wales, representatives from the Home Office, the National Crime Agency, safeguarding specialists and the Crown Prosecution Service.

Follow the seminar on social media on the day using the #ModernSlavery18 for twitter.