The Hertfordshire Modern Slavery Partnership has today launched a week-long campaign to raise awareness of the link between modern slavery and homelessness
People that are homeless can be particularly vulnerable to exploitation, psychological manipulation, physical abuse, bullying and/or grooming as result of their vulnerabilities. Vulnerabilities can include family breakdown, substance addiction, physical or mental health issues, trauma and loneliness. National evidence also highlights that traffickers are actively trying to recruit homeless people at day centres, night shelters, soup runs and community-run venues.
As part of the campaign, a workshop was held for homeless organisations, housing associations and local authority housing departments last week, with input from local support services in Hertfordshire.
Dame Sara Thornton, Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, said:
“Modern slavery is a vicious crime whereby criminals cruelly exploit their fellow human beings. Although anyone can become a victim of modern slavery, traffickers often target the most vulnerable in our communities, such as homeless people.
Victims of modern slavery can also be at risk of becoming homeless or destitute once they have left government-provided support, leaving them vulnerable to re-trafficking and further abuse.
For many of us, Christmas is a time of year to spend time with loved ones. As the festive season approaches, I would urge the public and front line professionals to take heed of this Hertfordshire Modern Slavery Partnership campaign and look out for signs that a homeless person – isolated from friends and family – may have been exploited or is at risk of becoming so.”
To learn more about the campaign and the work of Hertfordshire Modern Slavery Partnership, visit www.stopexploitationherts.org.uk