On Tuesday 30th April, Caritas Plymouth organised an event at St Mary’s Catholic Church in Poole to hear about how we can spot the signs of modern slavery. There was a line up of expert speakers, including Stevie Waight, from The Medaille Trust. Alexandra Miranda, the Caritas Plymouth Refugee and Migration project lead, chaired the event.

We started the session reflecting on the words of Pope Francis when referring to the work of the Santa Marta Group:

‘…to free the victims of the new forms of slavery… to unmask the traffickers and those who create this market and to offer effective assistance to cities and nations; a service for the common good, and for the promotion of human dignity, that it may be able to draw out the best of every person and of every citizen’.

Stevie spoke about the many types of slavery, such as criminal exploitation, domestic servitude and forced labour, amongst many others. We  discussed who may be most vulnerable to slavery, such as those with addiction issues, insecure immigration status, or homeless, before looking at the UK referral system and the support available to victims. In discussion groups we reflected on what we heard and whether we had encountered anyone who displayed potential signs of slavery/exploitation, thinking in particular about our local area and how well we know it. Many people are concerned about reporting concerns but Neville Bradbury of the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA), stressed the importance of speaking so that victims can be supported.

Some of the signs to look out for are in the Caritas poster which you can download here.

If you have any suspicions or concerns, you are encouraged to contact the following numbers:

  • 999 in an emergency
  • 101 for non-emergency suspicions

Other helplines for advice include:

  • The modern slavery helpline: 08000 121 700
  • The Salvation Army: 0300 303 8151
  • Our diocesan safeguarding team 01364 645430

If you would like more information about running an event in your parish please contact caritas@prcdtr.org.uk