Southend staff and students support campaign against Modern Slavery

  • Date

    Fri 16 Oct 20

Staff and students from our Southend Campus will join with local community groups this Sunday to draw attention to Modern Slavery.

Staff and students from our Southend campus will be marking Anti-Slavery Day this weekend, supporting a poster and social media campaign that aims to raise awareness, and encourage reporting, of Modern Slavery.

It’s the latest stage in the University’s ongoing partnership with Southend Against Modern Slavery (SAMS).

Stephen Jordan, a lecturer in the School of Health and Social Care, said: “Sadly Modern Slavery is a reality for many in Essex and Southend, as well as other parts of the country. The deaths of 39 people found in a refrigerated trailer in Essex were the tip of an abhorrent iceberg, which has only grown during the COVID-19 crisis.

“We’re proud to support SAMS’ campaign to raise awareness of Modern Slavery. In recent years, the University has hosted two conferences focusing on this topic, as well as placing social work students with the SAMS Intelligence Lead to learn about supporting and identifying victims of Modern Slavery. We look forward to developing our partnership with SAMS further.”

SAMS is a community partnership including law enforcement, statutory, education, voluntary and faith sectors working towards ending exploitation in human trafficking. The University contributes to this work through helping to raise awareness, safeguarding the most vulnerable in our community and taking part in community actions. Social work students have also contributed to specific SAMS projects.

Revd Dr Dan Pratt, Anti-Slavery Coordinator, SAMS, said: "The University of Essex is a key Partner in SAMS Partnership. Our ongoing collaboration with the Social Work and Social Justice Division has brought a unique contribution to our understanding of injustice within Borough of Southend. Their assets-based approach, in highlighting that local solutions can help help solve local problems and exploitation, encourages us to partnering towards a slavery-free Southend. Together we are stronger."

The UK Government defines modern day slavery as “the recruitment, movement, harbouring or receiving of children, women or men through the use of force, coercion, abuse of vulnerability, deception or other means for the purpose of exploitation. It is a crime under the Modern Slavery Act 2015.”

It has called on public health leaders to “support the design of effective, coordinated responses.”

The campaign group Unseen noted that, in 2016, an estimated 40.3 million people worldwide were in modern slavery, including 24.9 million in forced labour and 15.4 million people in forced marriage. 70% were women and girls and 1 in 4 victims were children.

Factors making individuals more vulnerable to becoming a victim of modern slavery include “poverty, limited opportunities at home, lack of education, unstable social and political conditions, economic imbalances and war.”