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Safe and Free

Safe and Free is a small anti-human trafficking charity based in Greater Manchester. We are a group of passionate professionals who are confident we can act to halt the growth of trafficking.

www.safeandfree.co.uk/ Fundraise for us

0844 800 8563

Registered charity no. 1147308

Member since April 2019

Latest News

Modern Slavery in our Supply Chains

Modern Slavery in our Supply Chains

It may come as a shock that modern slavery, specifically forced labour are very much a prevalent issue in our supply chains. There are over 40.3 million victims of slavery worldwide. Forced labour is the most common type of exploitation, where a person is coerced or forced to work for very little or no pay, and usually cannot leave this situation without punishment or threat of penalty. Almost 19 million victims are exploited by private individuals or enterprises and over 2 million by the small businesses or rebel groups, this generates $150 billion in illegal profits per year.

Modern Slavery is still very much a major issue in the 21st century and is unfortunately constantly growing, allowing human trafficking to be the third largest crime worldwide. The home office estimates there are around 13,000 victims of modern slavery in the UK alone.

Everyday, we use products produce by modern slaves! the clothes we wear, the food we eat and the devices we use. Businesses have to play a critical part in preventing modern slavery from growing in our supply chains. Many organisations produce products cheaply and quickly for a rapid income. This increases the possibility of workers being exploited behind the scenes. Modern slavery usually exists deep in the supply chain, where work is characterised as low skilled and low paid. The workers are commonly temporary, agency and migrant workers unaware of their rights and labour protections.

We need to start with SME businesses. Small and medium sized businesses generally lack the knowledge to prevent and address modern slavery in their operations. However, there is small steps they can take to begin the fight against modern slavery. The best step this tier of the supply chain can take is to have a modern slavery reporting mechanism in place prominently on their website allowing anybody to report any concerns they may have regarding exploitation within your business or its supply chain.

Collaborate with Safe and Free an anti-trafficking organisation to start your journey now and provide the right information and training resources to your business and its supply chain.

Child sex exploitation victims should be compensated - ex Oldham senior detective

Child sex exploitation victims should be compensated - ex Oldham senior detective

A FORMER Oldham detective inspector is calling for the compensation of children who were sexually exploited by grooming gangs 16 years ago.

A damning report found police and social workers failed to protect at least 57 girls from a paedophile network based in south Manchester.

And John Piekos, who has since set up Safe and Free, a charity working to tackle modern slavery and child sexual exploitation (CSE), wants action to help the victims recover.

John, who previously worked in the murder and hostage investigation department, said: “These girls are victims of crimes who have to wrestle with the horrors of the abuse they experienced sometimes for the rest of their lives.

“They were badly let down by the very system which should have protected them and prepared them for a normal life.

“I believe they now deserve on-going support to ensure they get all the help they need.”

The report, commissioned by Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham, found children were raped and abused by up to 100 members of a gang of predominantly Asian men.

Most of the victims were in care and authorities knew they were being "subjected to the most profound abuse and exploitation" but did "not protect them from the perpetrators."

Some victims told carers and police officers about the sexual assaults, giving names and addresses.

But the 145-page report into child exploitation in Manchester found no action was taken.

The girls were hooked on drugs, groomed, raped and Victoria Agoglia died, aged 15.

John said: “It is only when we carefully listen to the words of Victoria’s grandmother that one is able to sense the futility, desperation and isolation she must have felt as she struggled to be heard and taken seriously. How can we ever make that wrong right?

“My condolences go to Victoria’s family and hopefully this report can be the catalyst for truth and justice for Victoria.”

John, who set up the charity because he recognised modern slavery and child exploitation was a widespread and under resourced issue, said this case is just the "tip of the iceberg".

He said: “This is an epidemic up and down the country. This report reveals shameful practices which have occurred in anything but isolation.

“Some good work has been done to improve practices but vulnerable children, have not suddenly ceased to exist and they are still targets for exploitation.”

In 2015, child sex abuse was prioritised as a "national threat" by then Prime Minister David Cameron.

John said: “Let’s be clear - this is a not an isolated incident it is part of a much bigger picture.

“I believe that the wider picture remains shrouded in secrecy and denial, but it needs to be honestly, openly and publicly discussed and defined.

“Only then, as a nation can we properly own this - our most shameful problem. Then, as a society, we may each play our part in defeating it.”

He praised Maggie Oliver, the whistleblowing former detective who resigned over the way cases in Rochdale were handled by the force.

He said: “Maggie Oliver is a brave, principled woman who effectively single-handedly fought to accurately scope and define what she was seeing but it effectively cost her career.”

Safe and Free has designed a free educational resource to educate young people on the ways that grooming, child sexual exploitation (CSE) and trafficking can occur.

Working through the programme regularly generates self-referrals from students.

John said: “We need to raise awareness of how perpetrators target children, educate parents, young people and wider members of the community as to ways to stop it.

“We want people to be alert and raise the alarm if they believe someone could be at risk.”

He said predators deliberately frequent the same locality of potential victims grooming them initially with offers of food, alcohol, drugs and money.

He said: “Some children are then encouraged to believe they are in a genuine relationship as ‘boyfriend’ or ‘girlfriend’ only to use it as a way to traffic them further down the line.”

He said action in the vicinity of care homes needs to be designed to reduce risk. This should include ANPR to capture the vehicles of predators in the near vicinity.

Local residents could provide a care watch and receive increased awareness of the signs of CSE.

He added mentoring, with someone a child could trust and see as a worthy role model, were vital.

He also said businesses could offer support such as apprenticeships, to help marginalised children join mainstream society and have better job prospects.

He said: “Let’s show young people, no matter how vulnerable, that they have so much to offer to society and are deserving of a bright future.”

• For more information visit: www.safeandfree.co.uk or call 0844 800 8563.

Safe and Free, was set up in 2012, has helped rescue several victims from trafficking. The charity believes better educating young people is the most effective first stepping stone to preventing this crime.

Safe and Free has created an age appropriate pack for teachers to use with their pupils, ensuring the resource is engaging, despite the difficult nature of the topic.

It is available free of charge for schools wishing to explore with their students, real-life case studies of people affected by grooming, how to be aware of the problem and how to protect themselves and others.

Grooming, CSE and trafficking can happen to both girls and boys and Safe and Free’s work reflects this reality.

To read the original article: TheOldhamTimes.