Release date: Thursday 15 October
This Sunday, 18 October, marks the 10-year anniversary of UK Anti-Slavery Day, which raises awareness of human trafficking and modern slavery.
To play its part, West Sussex County Council, part of the Sussex Anti-Slavery Network, is supporting Sussex wide plans to eradicate slavery and exploitation and become a Slavery Free Community by 2030.
The aims of becoming a Slavery Free Community include:
- eradicating forced labour;
- ending modern slavery and human trafficking;
- securing the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour.
To show their commitment, the County Council, alongside East Sussex County Council and Brighton and Hove City Council, will sign a pledge which commits to:
- demonstrating strong leadership for anti-slavery initiatives;
- raising awareness amongst staff, associates and the people of Sussex;
- training staff to recognise and respond appropriately to potential signs of slavery;
- sharing intelligence and information to help detect slavery and ensure it cannot take root;
- supporting victims and survivors in the community;
- removing slave-based labour from all supply chains;
- contributing to building a prosperous and slavery-free economy.
Sussex Police will work alongside all three local authorities to support their commitment to becoming a Slavery Free Community.
Duncan Crow, Cabinet Member for Fire and Rescue and Communities, said: “This pledge demonstrates our commitment to working closely with the Police and our local partners to raise awareness of the plight of the people affected by modern day slavery and to do everything in our power to stop modern slavery happening in West Sussex.
“It also requires action on the part of each and every one of us to ask ourselves if the goods or services we are paying for are being provided by workers who are treated fairly and legally. Modern slavery will be eradicated if we make it socially unacceptable as consumers.”
The County Council has already formed an internal Modern Slavery Operational Group and is committed to preventing and taking action against identified slavery and human trafficking in its corporate activities, its supply chains and the wider community.
The council is asking the public to be alert to signs of modern slavery and human trafficking and to report anything they think is suspicious.
Businesses are also being asked to raise awareness on the subject and to know more about where their employees come from as well as where the materials come from for their production lines.
If you suspect someone may be a victim of modern slavery, you can contact the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700. This is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
You can also report it to Sussex Police on 101 and if you wish to remain anonymous you can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
The County Council are pledging to become a Slavery Free Community by 2030 and you can find out more about the pledge on their Modern Slavery campaigns page.