Posted: Sun 28th May 2023

North Wales Police and business community rally against modern slavery

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Sunday, May 28th, 2023

Local business owners, public organisations, and high-profile speakers from across the UK, congregated in Llandudno Junction on May 22nd to tackle the persistent issue of modern slavery. The event, which focused on identifying and addressing the risk it poses to the local economy, saw nearly 100 representatives come together in a show of unity and determination.

Held at the Conwy Business Centre, this free conference was organised by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) for North Wales. The day was kicked off with a welcome and introduction by North Wales’ Police and Crime Commissioner Andy Dunbobbin, and Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Wayne Jones.

Among the notable speakers was Kevin Hyland OBE of the Santa Marta Group, the UK’s first Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, who delved into the ways modern slavery victims are exploited, highlighting the business sectors most vulnerable to such abuses. Martin Plimmer of the Gangmasters & Labour Abuse Authority shared specific case studies of modern slavery, including a recent investigation into abuses in the care sector.

The conference also featured compelling insights from local experts. Glory Williams of BAWSO and Melanie Chitty of Barnardo’s shared their experiences supporting victims. Williams gave a moving account of a victim’s struggle with forced labour and their journey to seek help. Simon Williams, North Wales Police’s Detective Superintendent, discussed the current reality of modern slavery crime in the region.

As part of the conference’s finale, Seb Phillips, North Wales Police Director of Finance, discussed the crucial role of ethical procurement. Phillips stressed the importance of transparent and slavery-free supply chains.

Commenting on the event, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Wayne Jones remarked, “Modern Slavery, although often hidden, is very much present. My aim is to protect vulnerable people by working with agencies in the public and private sector to continue to raise awareness, develop best practice and share knowledge.”

Echoing these sentiments, Commissioner Dunbobbin stated, “A key priority in my Police and Crime Plan for North Wales is supporting victims and communities, and helping people who have suffered at the hands of traffickers and bringing the perpetrators to justice is hugely important to me personally.”

The conference represented a significant stride in the collective fight against modern slavery. It underlined the crucial role local businesses, law enforcement, and public organisations play in ensuring the safety and well-being of the community, bringing to the forefront the necessity of awareness and proactive engagement. For further information on modern slavery and how to report it, the public is encouraged to visit the OPCC’s official website.

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