Robin Brierley, Chair of West Midlands Anti Slavery Network, reports:
This year’s Anti-Slavery Day Conference aims to bring together the two worlds of Homelessness and Modern Slavery. We recognise that there are distinct links between the two, for example the homeless being vulnerable to exploitation, homelessness post NRM. We aim to link this years conference with one that is taking place in West Yorkshire on the same day– we will benefit from then learning from both conferences.
Our Task Group on homelessness and modern slavery has had strong interest regionally and nationally as homelessness and rough sleeping is very much a Government priority. Last week the Government announced their Rough Sleepers Strategy which due to our work now includes modern slavery. Aims and objectives of the task group and conference include:
- To identify what is known about the nature and extent of the links between homelessness and modern slavery within the West Midlands
- To identify what is known within current data capture in the West Midlands about the links between homelessness and modern slavery, including referrals through the national referral mechanism and LA homelessness data.
- To identify gaps and make recommendations for improvement in information gathering and monitoring
- To ensure that current and developing data capture mechanisms take account of the issues: NRM, MS 1 and HCLIC
- To ensure that Local Authorities and their partners have information, training and guidance on the links between modern slavery and homelessness as they implement the Homelessness Reduction Act.
- To ensure that all parties involved in tackling modern slavery in the West Midlands understand the Homelessness Reduction Act and are aware of the referral routes and entitlements of those they support.
- To identify the challenges and propose recommendations to tackle post-NRM homelessness within the West Midland
- To use the positive pathway framework to identify existing responses and gaps within the West Midlands and make recommendations to ensure that homelessness is neither a driver nor a consequence of modern slavery in the West Midlands.
We will have expert speakers from both worlds who will explore the Homelessness Reduction Act and Rough Sleepers Strategy and how it can be used to support victims of trafficking. Speakers from: West Midlands Police, West Midlands Mayor, Manor Fresh, The Passage, Black Country Women’s Aid and Adavu, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, and Sandwell Local Authority.
To cover costs, we do need to make a charge of £30 per person but any monies remaining will be gifted to local charities.