South Tyneside council bosses in call to tackle modern slavery

Coun Ed Malcolm
Coun Ed Malcolm

Town Hall chiefs have repeated their call for help to stamp out the ‘horrors’ of modern slavery and human trafficking.

The appeal came as South Tyneside Council’s ruling cabinet met to discuss how to tackle the issue.

Modern day slavery is on the increase

Modern day slavery is on the increase

Councillors voted unanimously to accept the updated plans to combat the issue - which could be unwittingly supported by business practices and supply chains.

Anyone who believes they may know a victim is being asked to call the relevant authorities.

Coun Ed Malcolm, cabinet member for resources and innovation, said: “It really is devastating to think that in modern Britain the horrors of slavery continue to persist.

“It is essential that as an employer, as a business and as part of the wider community we remain vigilant and aware.

“There is no place for slavery in this council, in our supply lines or in our community.”

The revised Modern Slavery Statement includes an employees code of conduct and whistleblowing policy, as well as guidelines for responsible procurement and due diligence when dealing with suppliers and outside organisations.

There are thought to be up to 13,000 victims of modern slavery and trafficking in the UK.

According to the council there is ‘no typical victim of slavery’, who can be of any gender, age or race and forced to work anywhere from factories to fields, shops or even private homes.

Key indicators of trafficking or modern slavery include:

*People not in possession of their own documents, such as passports

*People appearing frightened, withdrawn and anxious, or ‘controlled’ or ‘coached’ by someone else

*Limited freedom of movement, with victims often regularly collected early in the morning or dropped off from work late at night

*Signs of malnourishment, injury or lack of sleep, medical care or other life necessities

*Limited social interaction with those outside their immediate environment.

Anyone who witnesses any suspicious activity is urged to call the police or 999 in an emergency.

Information can also be reported to the Modern Day Slavery helpline on 0800 0121 700 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Anyone who suspects that a child is at risk of harm or abuse or is being trafficked or enslaved in South Tyneside can call the council’s children’s safeguarding team on 0191 424 5010.

For concerns relating to an adult, call the adult safeguarding team on 0191 424 6000.

James Harrison, Local Democracy Reporting Service