Every Friday we share the latest news on modern slavery and human trafficking in the UK. Keep up to date by following us on twitter (@theclewer), where we will tweet out the article each week, or sign up to our monthly newsletter.
More convictions for modern slavery, this time in Lincoln, where a traveller family called the Rooneys had been exploiting vulnerable, usually homeless, people. ITV reports that the Rooneys would go looking for victims in the streets and in hostels and shelters. Revd Jeremy Cullimore was interviewed by the Lincolnshire Live because of his church's involvement in sheltering victims of the gang in their homeless outreach.
Rev Cullimore told Lincolnshire Live that in 2014/15 six escaped slaves were given refuge from the Rooneys through the BeAttitude project at St Mary-le-Wigford Church, along with more than a dozen others who had casual contact with the family and were desperate to severe ties. He said: "We passed people to the Salvation Army and encouraged victims to talk to the police.
You might remember the story from last year about a large cannabis factory found in a nuclear bunker. Vietnamese men were found inside, with all signs suggesting that they were being exploited. However the police had difficulty charging those running the factory with any modern slavery offences due to the silence of the victims.
“We told them they were victims, we offered them a way out and we asked them to make statements. They all refused. Police have a real difficulty penetrating the Vietnamese community,” he said. It was possible that traffickers knew where they lived and had made threats against family members. “If that’s in the back of your mind, when you’re thousands of miles away, it is probably easier to say nothing.”
Dani Garavelli from The Scotsman speaks about how spotting the signs of modern slavery are key to stopping it. You can find out more about the signs and how to report modern slavery here.
It was only as I was being dropped off outside that it occurred to me maybe this wasn’t somewhere I ought to be patronising. Nail bars are, after all, among the businesses listed as centres for trafficking. And so – as the young woman buffed and polished – I subjected her to an interrogation on her life, her work and her long-term aspirations.