Friday links: Huge raid in Cornwall and Santa Marta Group meets in Rome

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) or Facebook, where we will share the article each week, or sign up to our monthly newsletter

Modern slavery raid at Cornwall flower-picking farm

A huge raid took place on a Cornish flower-picking farm on Thursday 8th February. Two men were arrested, one man was taken into custody, and 200 people were processed by the Gangmasters & Labour Abuse Authority. Later in the day about 100 of the workers held a peaceful protest outside of the police station, asserting that they were not victims of modern slavery. Earlier in the week in Ely, a Romanian couple were arrested for gangmaster offences at a salad processing factory. 

There are approximately 200 people - a combination of Lithuanian, Romanians, Bulgarians and Polish people who come over here every year for the flower season and they are accommodated in caravans on the site. We’ve got a triage team up on the site that have been visiting all the workers that live on here making sure they’re OK.
— Detective Inspector Gail Windsor, of Devon and Cornwall Police

Santa Marta Group meet at Vatican to promote struggle against human trafficking

This week the Santa Marta Group, a meeting for senior police officers and religious figures, is taking place at the Vatican in Rome. This is the fifth time the group has met. This year more than 30 countries are represented. Representatives from the UK include Kevin Hyland, the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, and Cressida Dick, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. 

Slavery is an affront to human dignity and we all have a responsibility to fight against it. This conference is a unique opportunity to strengthen our global response as we move to specific and accountable actions.
— Cardinal Vincent Nicholls, Santa Marta Group President

Britain slashes handouts for victims of modern slavery

The government announced it will be cutting the weekly allowance that victims of modern slavery receive, from £65 to £38, to bring it in line with the payments received by those seeking asylum. The move was criticised by anti-slavery charities, saying it would make them more vulnerable to being re-trafficked. 

We know that traffickers seek out people who are struggling to keep their heads above water. This cut is a gift to all those would-be exploiters
— Caroline Robinson, director of Focus on Labour Exploitation

Welcome to the #GiveUpSlavery challenge

Have you signed up to #GiveUpSlavery this Lent? We have created a Lent resource for anyone who wants to discover how the goods and services they buy could be a result of exploitation. There will be weekly videos, and you can sign up to an email which sends you the challenge each week. 

That's it from us this week. Keep up to date with us the rest of the week by following us on twitter (@theclewer) or Facebook, where we will share the article each week, or sign up to our monthly newsletter.

Photo by Michael Lechner on Unsplash