Since its launch on 10 October 2016 the UK-wide Modern Slavery Helpline and Resource Centre, based in Bedfordshire, has taken over 800 calls. Potential victims who call the helpline can talk to fully trained call handlers who will guide and assist them to access relevant services, including Government-funded support through the National Referral Mechanism. Statutory agencies calling the helpline will be supported in dealing with potential victims and signposted to the range of information, guidance and tools available through the associated resource centre. Businesses can call the helpline for information and advice and to report any concerns they have about potential instances of modern slavery in their operations. Members of public and those delivering services on the front-line can also report any modern slavery suspicions or concerns they may have to the helpline about individuals, premises or locations. To communicate with callers whose first language may not be English the Helpline uses a telephone translation service, linking the translator onto the line with the caller and the call handler.
The Helpline works closely with the police and local authority safeguarding teams to ensure the safety of potential victims reported to the Helpline. The Helpline prioritises any case involving a child ensuring they are safeguarded and protected immediately. The Helpline is also working closely with a number of businesses to raise awareness of the issue, ensure they are aware of their requirements under Section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act, and to promote the helpline as a route to get advice on, and report potential supply chain issues.
To improve our collective understanding of the nature and scale of modern slavery in the UK, the Helpline and Resource Centre will share information with partners to inform operational activities and identify potential hotspots where exploitation has been reported to the helpline. Regular statistics will be published on the number and type of helpline calls received, including type and location of exploitation. As a central point of contact, the Helpline and Resource Centre is also developing a directory of services to signpost and refer callers, including those calling from businesses, to national and local services relevant to their needs.
Further information about the helpline, including published statistics, can be found on the Helpline website at www.modernslaveryhelpline.org. Through the website, people can also report instances of modern slavery or seek advice by completing the online webform.
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This post was written by Stronger Together