Speaker meeting : Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking

Mon, Oct 24th 2022 at 6:15 pm - 8:00 pm

Anta Brachou - from The Bakhita Centre St Mary's Twickenham, established in 2015 to respond to the growing scale of modern slavery and human trafficking locally and internationally.

An Honorary Visiting Fellow at the Bakhita Centre for Research on Slavery, Exploitation and Abuse at St Mary’s Twickenham, Dr Ruth Van Dyke’s talk highlighted the very many forms that Slavery can now take. Modern Slavery involves areas of concern which may not have existed before. Slavery would seem to have as its main contributory causes, poverty and greed;

-    poverty, because those in various forms of poverty are the most vulnerable, and thus victims;

-       greed, where chasing monetary reward for criminal activity is typical of the perpetrators of Slavery.

Whilst victims can be found in all countries, certain countries where there is widespread poverty, poor employment opportunities and poor education, are likely to contain large numbers of vulnerable young boys/girls/men/women who may fall prey to perpetrators.

Ruth explained the various forms of Child exploitation within the UK:
· Child Criminal Exploitation – Cannabis cultivation, County Lines (travelling
with and supplying drugs), Shoplifting and pickpocketing, Begging
· Child Sexual Exploitation
· Domestic Servitude
· Forced Labour
·Organ Trafficking

It will often be UK youngsters who get caught up in the first two above, and certain young people are particularly vulnerable:
· Those in financial poverty
· Those Excluded from school
· Those with Learning Disabilities
· Those subject to family breakdown
· Those who may go missing
· Those with certain identity characteristics – race, gender, class
· Those specifically targeted by gangs

The subject discussed is very serious. The extent of Slavery across the UK and across the world is much greater than that suggested by the numbers reported, because so many victims are reluctant to report the criminal activity, sometimes because of shame, sometimes because of fear of violence, and sometimes due to a number of other factors.

We will no doubt return to this topic at some time in the future, but in the meantime, thank you Ruth for your presentation.

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