The Salvation Army is one of the leading charities fighting against modern slavery in Britain. The work it does is essential, especially in light of recent research that shows a 58% increase in the number of British nationals in need of The Salvation Army’s rescue and support services. The report, which shows the year-on-year increase, has been released to draw attention to the problem ahead of Anti-Slavery Day on the 18th of October this year.
In the past year, 136 British nationals have been rescued from slavery and placed in the care The Salvation Army’s safe houses. That’s 11 nationals per month.
The statistics have revealed that Britain is 5th on the list of countries whose people have received support. This brings the problem right to our doorstep; we can’t pretend that it’s something that only happens in Third World countries or countries beset by civil war and serious crime.
Slaves are employed in a variety of industries
People tend to think of sex slaves when they think of modern slavery. This is thanks largely to TV and movies which sensationalise the problem. The truth is that more people are forced into the drug trade and manual labour (96 out of 136). Methods employed include ‘country lines’, which is when gangs begin trafficking in rural areas and force locals to sell drugs. There is also ‘cuckooing’, which is when dealers move their operations into residential homes and farmsteads and force the families into manual labour.
Sexual exploitation does come into the picture, as 30 of the 136 people were rescued from sexual slavery. Nine were forced into domestic servitude.
Commenting on the report and Anti-Slavery Day, Major Kathy Betteridge, Director of Anti-Trafficking and Modern Slavery, said, ”It’s appalling that anyone is forced to work as a slave whether a British national or a victim from across the world. Our report shows that gangs target vulnerable people, often with mental health issues, to act as drug runners, or to move cash. However, people are also being forced to work as slaves in places like farms, car washes, and even nail bars.”
The Salvation Army has a government contract which allows it to offer safe houses and outreach support to people who have been rescued from slavery. Specialised staff members provide unique services to help victims reintegrate into society. Part of this is the provision of grants that can be used to furnish survivors’ housing, and also enrol for courses on anything from life skills to a trade.
Referrals to safe houses have increased by 21% over the last year. In numbers: 2251 people from 99 different nationalities were helped by the specialist services over 12 months. There were 1247 women and 19% of these women were either pregnant or suspected they were pregnant.
You can help
In a simple but significant gesture, you buy a temporary tattoo with the slogan #WeAreNotForSale and wear it boldly for Anti-Slavery Day. All profits go to The Salvation Army’s initiatives that support victims of modern slavery.
Commenting on the tattoo initiative, Major Betteridge said, “By wearing the tattoo you will help remind people to be aware of the signs that someone could be working as a slave near to you. If you suspect someone is being forced into slavery, call our confidential referral helpline on 0300 303 8151 anytime, day or night.”You can buy your #WeAreNotForSale temporary tattoo at every Salvation Army Trading Company charity shop, from Salvation Army churches and community centres and online.
You can also read more about the report.