Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer talking about the modern slavery conference today @EdenProject

Mar 03, 2015, 03:53 PM

Listen to Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer talking about the modern slavery conference today @EdenProject and the extent of modern slavery in #Devon, #Cornwall and the Isles of #Scilly. #MSConEden

Follow @CCShaunSawyer on Twitter or Devon And Cornwall Police

Event aims to raise awareness of this hidden crime

Modern slavery is the topic of discussion at a conference to be held in Cornwall at the iconic Eden Project on Tuesday 3 March.

A number of speakers from across the UK will be delivering keynote speeches addressing the complexity of this issue.

The event is being co-hosted by Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer, National Policing Lead for Modern Slavery; Bishop of Truro, the Right Reverend Tim Thornton, and Chief Executive of Cornwall Council, Andrew Kerr.

The conference aims to raise awareness of the issue in Cornwall in the hope that it will increase reporting of this crime and improve the way victims of slavery are cared for.

Delegates from law enforcement, health services, faith communities, Cornwall Council, education, local businesses and other partner agencies will hear from six speakers, including the newly appointed Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, Kevin Hyland.

An overview of slavery in the UK, national case studies, victim identification and care, the Kensington partnership approach, the Stronger Together initiative and the role of the Gangmasters’ Licensing Authority will be among the areas discussed.

Modern slavery is a hidden crime and there is no typical victim; men, women and children of all ages and nationalities are being targeted by both serious and organised criminal gangs and opportunistic individuals who prey on their vulnerabilities.

Victims are controlled and often isolated which makes it difficult for people to spot the signs and therefore report this type of crime to police. Forced to work against their will, for long hours in appalling conditions for little or no pay, victims are frequently subject to verbal or physical threats of violence to them or their loved ones.

Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer said: “Police forces across the UK are committed to combating modern slavery and this conference will enable professionals dealing with this type of crime in Cornwall to share best practice and continue to identify opportunities to work together to tackle the issue.

“National figures suggest an increase in reports of victimisation in the areas of forced labour, domestic servitude and sexual exploitation, with an estimated 10,000 to 13,000 victims of slavery currently in the UK.

“In September 2014 eight suspected victims of human trafficking were rescued and eight people from Plymouth and Bodmin were charged with conspiracy to traffic people into the UK for the purposes of labour exploitation, as a result of Operation Triage, the largest investigation of its kind in Devon and Cornwall to date.

“As National Policing Lead I believe that working closely with partners, agencies, and key groups from within our communities is absolutely essential.

“I hope that as a result of this event we will continue to improve our ability to identify, rescue and support victims across the Force area whilst ensuring that perpetrators are brought to justice.”

Bishop of Truro, the Right Reverend Tim Thornton, said: “How sad it is that we need to have a piece of legislation which is called the Modern Slavery Bill. We all would have hoped that slavery was something in the past. Clearly it is not.

“I am grateful to my colleague Alistair Redfern, the Bishop of Derby, and Frank Field for working so hard to get this through parliament. Now we need to ensure that we are working together to identify bad practice wherever it is and do what is necessary to stop it.

“Sadly, here in Cornwall there are too many opportunities for people to misuse other people. We, as human beings, should value each other and affirm one another. It is very good to have this da...