Experts gather at ‘eye opening’ Cambs Human Trafficking summit

Cambridgeshires first-ever Human Trafficking summit

Cambridgeshires first-ever Human Trafficking summit - Credit: Archant

Cambridgeshire’s first-ever Human Trafficking summit took place on Saturday October 17, which saw policing experts and human rights campaigners from across the UK meet to consider what action is needed to safeguard vulnerable victims living within the county.

The event was jointly hosted by Cambridgeshire Constabulary, South Cambridgeshire’s Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner alongside anti-slavery campaign charity Unchosen.

Aimed at raising awareness of human trafficking in South Cambridgeshire, the event screened a series of graphic films based on real life case studies of victims of human trafficking within the UK.

The films were produced by Unchosen as part of its work increasing awareness of modern day slavery and helping people understand the everyday realities that victims of slavery face.

The films aim to encourage people to report possible incidents of slavery to the police and allude to some of the signs that members of the public can look out for in their areas.

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Commenting on the conference, Police and crime commissioner Sir Graham Bright said: “This amazing summit demonstrated how committed we all are to raising awareness of this highly complex issue and increasing the protection we offer to victims and potential victims.

“I spend a lot of my time talking to people to find out what concerns them and the biggest threats within their community. When I ask specifically about human trafficking, people more often than not reply that it’s ‘not an issue around here’.

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“In reality, it is a problem and it’s happening right the way across the county, including South Cambridgeshire. The summit was a graphic example of what modern day slavery looks like and importantly how to spot it.”

Experts on Human Trafficking from within the constabulary, alongside representatives from anti-trafficking organisations the Red Cross, Salvation Army and Hope for Justice, made up a panel that took questions at South Cambridgeshire District Council’s offices in Cambourne.

Area Commander for South Cambridgeshire, Chief Inspector James Sutherland, said: “The modern day slavery summit was a huge success in raising awareness of this issue in our village communities. The delegates have described it as eye-opening and it has helped spread the message about reporting suspicions to the police: It doesn’t matter if you are wrong; what if you’re right?”

Following the event, 90% of delegates said they had a better understanding of the signs to look for, 95% said they would tell others about slavery and 100% said they would proactively look for human trafficking within their areas.

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