Agenda item

Modern Day Slavery and Human Trafficking Update Report


The Strategic Lead Social Work Support introduced the report and stated that it had last been presented to the Committee in 2021. She explained that the Committee had requested a standalone Modern Day Slavery statement, rather than being included in the Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Strategy, and both the Adult Social Care and Children’s Social Care had worked together to build the strategy.

The Strategic Lead Social Work explained that since the last meeting, the team had worked to develop the Modern-Day Slavery statement, and had completed the following achievements:

1. Information on how to spot the signs of MDS had been shared on Thurrock’s social media pages.
2. A training session on the MDS Pathway for Thurrock’s first responders had been arranged for the end of October.
3. A list of resources on MDS and human trafficking had been uploaded to the Council’s website.
4. A pop-up event would be held in Grays High Street to publicise the anti-slavery campaign.
5. A partnership event on MDS was being arranged for early 2023 to discuss how to tackle MDS, increase awareness, and how to successfully share information with colleagues and frontline staff.
6. A regular training programme had been developed in partnership with Justice and Care, and Essex Police, and had been delivered to 64 people including staff members in Adult Social Care, Community Safety and Children’s Social Care.
7. A guide on MDS had been developed with Southend City Council and Essex County Council.
8. The team were working with small businesses to tackle MDS and highlight the signs.

The Strategic Lead Social Work asked if Members had any suggestions on how to promote MDS and human trafficking. The Chair highlighted point 2.10 of the report and asked how this scheme would be delivered to businesses. The Thurrock Community Safety Partnership Manager explained that the charity Stop the Traffic had designed a toolkit and guide on how to spot MDS and human trafficking, and this had been delivered to businesses through the Business Buzz. She explained that some businesses had already signed up to the MDS Statement, but this was not currently a statutory duty. She added that the team were working with the communications team to encourage businesses to write their own MDS pledge, or sign-up to the Council’s MDS pledge, which they could put in their window. She felt that this could encourage consumers to choose businesses who were committed to stopping MDS and human trafficking. The Chair sought clarification on training outlined in 3.1.1 of the report, and asked if this was targeted specifically at council officers. The Strategic Lead Social Work explained that the training was offered to council officers, the voluntary sector, and frontline staff.

Councillor Ralph felt it was good to see the MDS Strategy was now standalone and not included in the VAWG Strategy. He asked how residents and members of the public could get involved. He also felt concerned that the ‘It Could be Your Daughter’ picture, only focussed on women and girls. He felt that boys were also affected by MDS, as 24 out of the 39 people found dead in the lorry were men. He also felt pleased to see places such as car washes and farms were being monitored for MDS and human trafficking incidents. The Strategic Lead Social Work stated that she would review the ‘It Could be Your Daughter’ photograph. The Thurrock Community Safety Partnership Manager added that the version of the of the Strategy on the website would not show photos to ensure there would be no bias. She added that 18 October 2022 was ‘Anti-Slavery Day’ and an event would be held on 14 October, in conjunction with Hate Crime Awareness week, to highlight the signs of MDS and human trafficking. She asked if Members could promote this event with colleagues and residents. Councillor Ralph asked if a member of the team could attend the Stanford-le-Hope Community Forum, as areas such as Stanford-le-Hope, Corringham and Fobbing were more rural, and many temporary farm workers lived in the area who could be vulnerable to MDS. The Thurrock Community Safety Partnership Manager agreed that she would look into this meeting, and asked if Hidden Harms Committee Members would also like to undertake training. Members agreed that training on MDS would be useful.

Councillor Shinnick asked if the Anti-Slavery and Hate Crime Awareness pop-up event could be held in other areas across Thurrock, such as Ockendon and Aveley. The Assistant Director Adult Social Care and Communities explained that local area co-ordinators had been appointed within the Adult Social Care team who would be setting up talking shops in every area of the borough.


1. Members approved the 3-year approach and delivery plan.
2. Members agreed to champion the MDS agenda and act as key stakeholders in being the eyes and ears of our communities, and continue to raise awareness of the issue.

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