Many agencies are in a position to identify, refer, and provide care to victims of modern slavery; the Commissioner has therefore been working in partnership with various bodies to develop effective awareness raising tools. In addition, the Commissioner speaks at numerous high level events, engages with leading media outlets and collaborates with professionals in order to increase awareness among the public.
Many will come into contact with victims both during their captivity and after their escape. The Commissioner therefore believes that all frontline professionals must be made appropriately aware to ensure that vital opportunities to identify, assist and support victims are not missed.
In addition public awareness of modern slavery still remains low; the Commissioner therefore regularly features in media outlets and participates in national campaigns to highlight this pressing issue.
In 2016, in partnership with South East Councils and NHS England, the Commissioner launched three awareness raising videos for local councils, emergency services and NHS staff. The videos highlight the signs and symptoms of modern slavery. The Commissioner has continued to ensure wide dissemination and use of these tools, and has supported further development of training for frontline staff commissioned by NHS England, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) and the London Metropolitan Police.
The Commissioner has also been working with the Local Government Association (LGA) to produce a guide for local councils on their role in combating modern slavery. The LGA represents over 370 councils and all Fire and Rescue authorities in England and Wales; those working in such departments have crucial roles and responsibilities in combating slavery.
In 2017 the Commissioner appeared in more than 200 media features, including broadcast, print and online outlets, as well as documentaries and short films. The media is increasingly reporting on modern slavery, with many news outlets now employing reporters solely dedicated to produce content on the crime.
In addition, in autumn of 2017, the Evening Standard and the Independent newspapers launched a special investigation into modern slavery in partnership with the Commissioner. The investigation exposes modern slavery crime in the UK and across the globe. The special investigation is driven by an expert panel chaired by His Eminence Vincent Nichols, Cardinal of Westminster. The Commissioner sits on the panel alongside business leaders, senior law enforcement officials, leading philanthropists, those working in the media and survivors of modern slavery.