Hall Smith Whittingham attends Modern Day Slavery awareness event

Our Modern Day Slavery team at Hall Smith Whittingham attended a Modern Day Slavery awareness event at the Nantwich Civic Centre on Monday 19 November. The event took place in order to bring together all members of society to try and help combat the growth of slavery in UK organisations.

At the event key figures from law enforcement and industry spoke about the degree to which it has infiltrated UK society. It was particularly welcome to see so many people from charities as well as public and private organisations attend this event to ensure that the signs of people being employed as slaves are spotted and acted on.

What is Modern Day Slavery?

Most people assume that slavery doesn’t take place in the UK. Unfortunately that is far from the truth. The British Government estimates that tens of thousands of people are currently being treated as slaves in the UK.

Most people are trafficked into the UK from overseas, but there is also a significant number of British nationals in slavery. The most common countries of origin are Albania, Vietnam, Nigeria, Romania and Poland.

The process starts by criminals involved in organised crime taking advantage of the vulnerable by offering them a loan to finance travel to the UK, or offering to provide them with travel, as well as providing them with accommodation.

Once the individual is in the UK, they have their passport taken off them and subjected to living conditions not fit for animals. They are told they need to repay the debt in full (often with high interest rates) before they are allowed to leave. Threats are made to hurt their family in their home country if they run away.

The individual is then made to work for little, or no pay, in return for accommodation and food, with the rest of their wages taken to pay back the loan owed to the traffickers. There are reported cases of individuals being kept under these conditions for over 20 years!

Paul Elms, head of Prevent at the Gangmasters & Labour Abuse Authority, described the Food Packaging, Agriculture and Car Washing industries as “the most likely to be involved in slavery.” These high-risk industries are all common in Cheshire, Staffordshire and Shropshire which is why we are keen to make people aware of our ability to help those who have been trafficked and forced to work under such dreadful conditions.

What can be done?
Of course, anyone who has been trafficked and subjected to slavery should first call the police to seek their assistance. Once the slavery ring has been broken up they can then bring a civil claim against those responsible for their imprisonment.

Hall Smith Whittingham’s expert team have recently been awarded funding from the government to assist victims of Modern Day Slavery ,who have been forced to work as slaves, to obtain compensation.

We are here to help those who wish to claim compensation for lost wages, psychological trauma and any other losses suffered.
If you, or anyone you know, has suffered at the hands of these criminals and would like to talk with us confidence, call our expert team on 01270 610300 today to make a free appointment.