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Tony's blog from the modern slavery conference at Eden project

Tony Hogg reflects on presentations given at the modern slavery conference at the Eden Project in Cornwall.

I have just attended the modern slavery conference in the beautiful setting of the Eden Project.

The conference was hosted by the Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall, the Chief Executive of Cornwall Council, and the Bishop of Truro.

The first keynote speaker was Kevin Highland (The first UK independent anti-slavery commissioner). Kevin spoke about the tightening of accountability to prevent this crime, moves towards increased prosecutions, earlier identification of victims, and the important relationship with gang masters licensing. There were estimated to be 10 to 13,000 victims a year in the UK. He spoke about the new modern slavery strategy and government bill with penalties reaching up to life imprisonment. He spoke about too many cases not being acted on by the police.

Kevin had five main priorities for the future: improved victims care, effective training and identification of victims, partnership working, private sector collaboration and evaluation of results. He spoke about victims being twice victimised: The first by organised criminality, and the second by being failed by law enforcement agencies.

Sian Turner from the National Crime Agency, UK human trafficking centre spoke next. She defined modern slavery and explained the role of the human trafficking centre. She illustrated the issues of front line policing of modern slavery and its connections with psychological imprisonment and honour based violence.

We heard presentations from the Association of labour providers, the Chief Executive of Chelsea Borough Council on partnership working.

This was a really important conference which was very well attended from across UK. It gave attendees a well balanced education on the current challenges associated with modern slavery. It focused on the role and isolated communities, it connected with the safeguarding agenda and it addressed accountability between police, local authority and other key partners.

Tony Hogg

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