Emergency Go Bags for Victims of Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking
Inspector Vicky McParland and Modern Slavery and Vulnerable Communities Advisor Olga Filatova
Suffolk Constabulary has joined forces with partner agencies to fund emergency ‘Go Bags’ to help support victims of Modern Slavery (MS) in the county.
Anyone of any race or background could be a victim of MS. Offenders target people who are vulnerable and isolated, including those who may not speak English or do not have a family or friend support network.
Jointly funded by the Constabulary and Suffolk’s Community Safety Partnerships, and supported by retailers Argos and Morrisons, the Go Bags are designed to provide essential items for victims of MS and human trafficking, who often have nothing. Contents include items such as a wash bag with toiletries, for men and women, a basic mobile phone including a £10 top up, a food voucher and a panic alarm.
Inspector Vicky McParland said: “Protecting the vulnerable and putting victims first is a priority for the Constabulary. Our aim is to provide a positive impression on victims of Modern Slavery at what can be a very traumatic time for them. Alongside our partner agencies we aim to provide victims with the enhanced level of support they need and deserve. We hope the bags will help victims feel reassured that there are strong support mechanisms in place in Suffolk to safeguard them.
“We are immensely grateful to Argos and Morrisons who are also supporting this initiative.”
Cllr Andrew Reid, Chair, Safer Stronger Communities Board (SSCB) said: “It is recognised that most victims of Modern Slavery either flee their circumstances or are found in a distressed state with few or no belongings. The Modern Slavery ‘Go Bag’ is designed as an emergency provision to provide a victim of MS with a few basic essentials to assist them for the first 24/48 hours until they are safeguarded and partner agencies can assist.
“This is a great initiative by Suffolk Police MS and Vulnerable Communities Team and I am delighted that all three Community Safety Partnerships have allocated part of their Suffolk Public Sector Leaders funding to support this project. Modern Slavery is a strategic priority for the CSPs and through partnership working we can help to support victims of Modern Slavery.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore said: “Modern Slavery is a particularly abhorrent crime that commoditises people’s lives.
“Many victims find it very difficult to escape from this criminality which is why I wholeheartedly support the “Go Bags” initiative. Anything that helps victims who suffer in such terrible circumstance is to be applauded.
“Very well done and thanks to all involved in setting up this excellent initiative especially the retailers Morrisons and Argos. I wish the scheme every success as I am sure it will make a very positive difference for the victims.”
The Go Bags will be managed by the Modern Slavery and Vulnerable Communities Advisors across the county and will distributed by Victim Liaison Officers.