The LHF is very pleased to support the work of The Passage. They are delivering pioneering work on modern slavery and have recently published a Modern Slavery handbook. We asked Dr Júlia Tomás, the Anti-Slavery Coordinator at The Passage, to tell us more about it.
The Passage has just published its Modern Slavery Handbook (VIEW/DOWNLOAD HERE) for the homelessness sector. This handbook explains what modern slavery and human trafficking looks like in the homeless community, what to watch out for and what you can do about it. People who are engaged in support services for homeless people can be vital eyes and ears to detect this crime. In addition, by identifying a survivor and engaging with First Responders, you are facilitating the person’s access to support such as a recovery and reflection period of at least 30 days, safe accommodation and material assistance, legal advice, medical and psychological services, compensation and/or safe repatriation and return.
The Passage, which provides services that prevent and end homelessness, operates in London and Brighton, and also works on a national and international level in areas of modern slavery and street homelessness. The charity runs the UK’s largest Resource Centre for homeless people. In addition for food, showers and clothing, The Passage gives access to housing advice, health care, training and employment services. The Passage also provides outreach services, homelessness prevention schemes and accommodation services. Since it was established in 1980, The Passage has helped more than 130,000 people end their homelessness.
In 2016, The Passage was commissioned by the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner to investigate the links between modern slavery and homelessness. The report, Understanding and Responding to Modern Slavery in the Homelessness Sector (VIEW/DOWNLOAD HERE) (2017) demonstrates that homeless people and rough sleepers are being targeted by traffickers and unethical employers: they are approached for work in the informal and black economy and are then held in exploitative and slave-like conditions across the UK.
Following the publication, The Passage created the role of an Anti-Slavery Coordinator – unique in the sector and in the UK – to implement the recommendations of the report to ensure we move to a more joined up response across sectors, that this crime is properly addressed through improved data recording and sharing, and training and cooperation across sectors. This project involves two major components of the modern slavery government strategy:
Protect: strengthening safeguards against modern slavery by protecting homeless people from exploitation and increasing awareness and resilience against this crime;
Prepare: reducing the harm caused by modern slavery through improved victim identification and enhanced support.
Part of the project was the creation of The Passage Anti-Slavery Steering Group, which provides a platform for interaction for strategic partners to oversee the progress and direction of The Passage’s project. Members are invited to provide advice, direction and relevant expertise as regards to the prevention of modern slavery and the protection of the homeless population to this crime. The members are Homeless Link, the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner’s Office, the Met Police – Modern Slavery and Kidnap Unit, Greater London Authority and London Housing Foundation.
To find out more about modern slavery in the homelessness sector, to order print copies of the handbook, or to request training, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org