Together Against Trafficking: The Role of Community in Disrupting Modern Slavery

On 6th March, STOP THE TRAFFIK was delighted to hold it’s annual UK conference – Together Against Trafficking – in Greater Manchester’s Media City. The event was a fantastic opportunity for us to celebrate the work of all our UK volunteers. As well as the community engagement that defines us an organisation. Bringing together hundreds of activists from across the UK, the conference symbolised the integral role that we all play in tackling modern slavery, and the power we hold by working together and sharing together.

The role of community collaboration was at the core of the entire evening. Ruth Dearnley OBE, CEO of STOP THE TRAFFIK, explained that if we are going to ‘stop the traffik’ for good, we need to challenge the normative, predictable methods; we need to generate systemic disruption that targets trafficking at its core. However, she stressed that it is only through people – individuals, businesses, NGOs, communities – working together and harnessing the power of technology that we will be able to achieve this.

The conference also shone a light on the fantastic work that is taking place in Manchester to tackle modern slavery in the region. Eighteen Manchester-based NGOs joined STOP THE TRAFFIK to present the work they are doing within the community. Saheli Asian Women’s Project, which provides a support network for Asian women and children fleeing domestic abuse and forced marriage, were also kind enough to provide the incredible catering for the event.

Hannah Flint STOP THE TRAFFIK’s Modern Slavery Network Coordinator for the Greater Manchester Police and DC Colin Ward from the GMP also mapped out Manchester’s Modern Slavery Unit. This is a working model that allows the city’s police force, border force agencies and social workers to work alongside one another to combat human trafficking throughout the region.

Moreover, through a series of workshops, the event was an opportunity to explore how communities in a wider sense were essential to fighting trafficking:

  • The Train the Trainer Taster session, hosted by STOP THE TRAFFIK’s UK Projects and Training Coordinator, Wendy Adams, helped attendees understand how to spot the signs of trafficking and provided insight into the UK’s National Referral Mechanism
  • The Engaging With Businesses workshop, led by Finance Against Trafficking’s Lead Researcher, Anne-Marie Barry, and STOP THE TRAFFIK Devon and Cornwall’s, Robert Alexander, highlighted the role of the business community in fighting modern slavery.
  • The ‘What Does Community Action Look Like?’ session explored how local STOP THE TRAFFIK groups are creating change in their communities. STOP THE TRAFFIK Manchester’s work represented a key example.
  • The Managing Offenders Involved in Trafficking workshop allowed attendees to learn more about the role of probation and financial investigation in tackling modern slavery.

The conference concluded with a presentation by Ruth Dearnley and Neil Giles, Director of STOP THE TRAFFIK’s Centre of Intelligence-Led Prevention (CfILP), sharing real-life case studies of the CfILP in action. This was an opportunity to showcase how STOP THE TRAFFIK  is harnessing the power of technology to uncover a clear picture of modern slavery on a global scale and is sharing this back with the communities that can generate real change.

Thank You

The STOP THE TRAFFIK team would like to thank all those who joined us for the event, and all our supporters around the world. The conference was a great success. We hope it inspired attendees to make a difference in their communities and, most importantly, equipped them with knowledge and tools to do so.

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