South Tyneside Council in call to beat modern day slavery

Council bosses want more action to beat modern day slavery
Council bosses want more action to beat modern day slavery

Council bosses in South Tyneside are underlining their campaign to stamp out modern day slavery with a new pledge to combat the issue

Members of South Tyneside Council’s ruling cabinet will be asked next week to endorse an updated pledge to protect people from modern slavery and human trafficking.

The decision-making body is to be asked to support a revised modern slavery statement which reinforces the local authority's commitment to tackling the issue.

The council pledged to help eradicate modern slavery and raise awareness to help prevent violence and exploitation of vulnerable people last year

The statement details the actions taken by the council to reduce the risk of modern slavery in business practices and supply chains.

It is estimated there are between 10,000 and 13,000 victims of slavery and trafficking in the UK, including children.

Victims, which also include UK nationals, are exploited or forced against their will to work for little or no pay for the benefit of others. They are often abused, threatened or stripped of their rights.

The refreshed version also refers to the development of a strategy which would bring together work undertaken by the council, staff awareness training on identifying the signs of modern slavery, partnership working and the response to any potential incidents.

Coun Ed Malcolm, lead member for resources and innovation, said: “It is horrifying and hard to believe that slavery and human trafficking exist in modern Britain, but they do.

“We are committed to playing our part in stamping it out and the statement sends a message loud and clear that there is no place for slavery in our business, our supply lines or our community.

“As a major employer and business it is essential that we lead the way and do all we can to help eradicate these crimes, including awareness raising and staff training, having robust recruitment processes and responsible procurement policies.

“We will be asking cabinet members to pledge their ongoing support to the revised statement.”

Key indicators of trafficking or modern slavery include:

* People not in possession of their own documents;

* People appearing frightened, withdrawn and anxious, or 'controlled' or 'coached' by someone else;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 in the first instance 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.

Councillors will be asked to support the refreshed policy at the cabinet meeting at Wednesday.