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The West Midlands Tackles Modern Slavery Head-on

The West Midlands Tackles Modern Slavery Head-on

The West Midlands Tackles Modern Slavery Head-on

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

SIFA Fireside, Birmingham’s homeless support charity, has teamed up with the West Midlands Anti-Slavery Network and Birmingham City Council to take on Modern Slavery not only in Birmingham, but across the nation. A recent online event highlighted what has been achieved so far and how this approach could be adopted in other areas of the UK.

In the West Midlands, in 2020 there were over 700 modern slavery crimes which were recorded. Birmingham sees approximately 40% of that number, which is a significant proportion of the approx. 10,000 across the country.

In response, a working group was brought together in January 2021, consisting of SIFA Fireside, West Midlands Anti-Slavery Network and Birmingham City Council, and a local authority Housing Officer. The group mapped the existing processes for modern slavery cases who presented themselves and identified the key gaps in provision. Most notably, this related to the lack of emergency accommodation where someone had no recourse to public funds, and the lack of immediate complex casework with a trafficking specialism.

The group presented the new Modern Slavery Pathway at their launch event in late January 2022. Although implemented by SIFA Fireside, West Midlands Anti-Slavery Network and Birmingham City Council, the event was attended by nearly 150 representatives from across the nation, including those from Northumbria, the London Borough of Walton Forest and Herefordshire.

Carly Jones, SIFA Fireside’s Chief Executive commented:

“Our vision for our Anti-Slavery and homelessness programme has been to ensure that identifying exploitation is everyone’s business. Since the project started our staff have significantly increased their understanding of modern slavery. We have developed a housing pathway with our co-located housing options team and have created modern slavery champions. Already we have seen more people being identified, quicker routes into appropriate services and tailored support offered that meets the unique needs of those who’ve experienced homelessness and exploitation”.

Attendee feedback from the event included the following:

“This is fantastic, and one of a number of examples of how (the West Midlands) are best in class. The pathway will help so many to increase their knowledge of (Modern Slavery) and provide better evidence to build an effective NRM case as well as building sufficient trauma-informed listening skills for frontline practitioners - the outcomes for survivors will be huge - great work”.

For more information including the Adult Modern Slavery Pathway and Adult Pre-NRM Casework Toolkit downloads, please take a look at the following link: https://sifafireside.co.uk/#modernslavery.

Alternatively, if you have any questions, please email modern.slavery@birmingham.gov.uk.

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