December 5, 2018, by htaylor

Working together to tackle modern slavery

Victim and survivor care is an area which needs urgent improvement in the fight against modern slavery, say frontline staff working with perpetrators and survivors.

This is just one of the findings from a series of workshops which brought together local agencies to help them better understand how they can fight modern slavery in their communities.

Multi-agency work is frequently said to be critical in developing coherent national and local responses to slavery, but until recently little guidance has been available on what partnerships should do and how they  should carry out their work.

In 2017 the Rights Lab and the UK’s Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner produced research which identified a gap in the evidence available to partnerships in identifying and delivering effective anti-slavery interventions.

Now, a series of workshops hosted by experts from the Rights Lab have enabled 67 frontline practitioners from anti-slavery partnerships across the East and West Midlands to talk about how they can improve their work and what success should look like in multi-agency working.

The five workshops allowed researchers from the Rights Lab to work alongside colleagues from the police, local authorities, academia and NGOs to identify opportunities to improve the evidence-base for local partnership interventions.

As a result of the discussions, experts from the Rights Lab have produced a report with key findings on  strengthening existing partnership work:

  • Partnership goals need to be shared, and include the development of improved processes such as governance and information sharing as well as monitoring of activities, outputs and outcomes across the system.
  • Victim and survivor care: improved information-sharing is needed between national and local systems, and we need to see greater input from survivors. Participants recognised that victim liaison requires a systemic, multi-agency approach, as police by themselves are unable to provide for survivors’ diverse needs.
  • Modern slavery should be embedded in mainstream service provision, rather than being treated as a ‘specialism’.

Policy recommendations that came from the discussions included:

  • Monitoring the progress of victims and survivors longer term
  • Strengthening legislation and standards to underpin implementation and monitoring.
  • To enable survivor engagement, more resources are needed to help with legal advice, translation and accommodation

Dr Alison Gardner from the Rights Lab said: “There are no simple answers to combating modern slavery. Partnerships and their frontline staff are integral to dealing with the complexity of modern slavery and human trafficking. Opportunities like this are vital in order for us to learn about how we can work better together.”

A full copy of the report can be found here.

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