Bags of hope for survivors of modern slavery

Victims of modern slavery will now be given emergency ‘bags of hope,’ full of everyday essential items, thanks to a partnership between the South Yorkshire Police (SYP) Modern Slavery Team. our Sheffield-based representatives, and the local Mothers’ Union.

For the past 12 months, Revd Judith Daley and Revd Joy French have been working with officers from the SYP Modern Slavery Team, to help develop strategies to detect modern slavery and assist in providing victim support and care. As part of this work, they have joined forces with Sylvia Charles and Pat Simpson of the Diocese of Sheffield Mothers’ Union, in raising awareness, running events and networking strategically to learn more about how they can make a difference in local communities.

The group recognised a need for supplies for victims immediately after they have been rescued. Often when they are found by charities or police victims have no possessions other than the clothes they are wearing. The Clewer Initiative and MU team raised funds to produce emergency packs that include essential items including toothbrushes, snacks, baby-wipes, water, and socks. They are suitable for both male and female victims.

They hope to be able to create and donate around 50 bags a year, but they will be handing them over in smaller numbers so as not to overwhelm the SYP Modern Slavery Team.

Delighted with the partnership work, at the same time as receiving the bags, DC Morrison and DCI Michael Hakin presented a Public Recognition Award to Joy and Judith, and also to Mother’s Union.

Revd Joy said: “We are lucky that Sheffield already has organisations working with survivors, we really didn’t want to duplicate the work that was already taking place. Instead, we have worked to see where there are gaps in provision. Less than one year after launch, it is great to see results that will actually benefit people”.

Detective Chief Inspector Mick Hakin said: “Modern slavery survivors deserve the dignity that is so often denied them by their exploiters and need to feel that they are safe.

“These ‘Bags of Hope’ have been so thoughtfully created and are invaluable to officers trying to provide immediate care. A simple collection of essential items such as toothbrushes and sanitary products might seem a simple thing to you and I, but to a vulnerable person in crisis, they mean so much more”.

Find out more about our work in communities by looking at our About Us page, read more stories like this one on our blog, or learn about our partnership with Mothers’ Union.