We are pleased to circulate our very first edition of our newsletter to you – our valued supporters over the years.
To help achieve our goal of eradicating modern slavery from Croydon, we have brought to you significant updates to raise awareness on recent cases, and the local activity geared at eliminating it. You will also hear about the larger scale impacts trafficking has had both nationally and worldwide. Curious to discover how the Covid-19 pandemic affected victims of trafficking? Learn how the pandemic worsened the outcomes of trafficking victims by hindering the efforts of charities to help survivors. Want to help a victim of trafficking? Read further to find out how you can assist.
First, we would like to share our story on how we began, and what we do to achieve our goal of eradicating human trafficking from our local area.
Who are we?
Croydon Community Against Trafficking (CCAT) was formed almost 20 years ago. We are a voluntary coalition of people from all walks of life who work together to campaign against human trafficking, oppression, and the enslavement of people in our very own community. Recently, we have organised film screenings and book clubs in Croydon to raise awareness of modern slavery.
Our 5 main objectives:
- Raise awareness of the horrors of human trafficking.
- Stimulate effective action through cooperation to stop trafficking and equip communities to report modern slavery.
- Working with other agencies to liberate, protect and support trafficked people who have been, or are at risk of being exploited.
- Assist in the disruption of the activities of human traffickers who are profiting from their illegal trade.
- Help reduce the use of commercial services in Croydon and other local communities if there is an indication of trafficked people being exploited.
Ways we interact with our community
- Schools and Education Programme – We provide workshops to schools, colleges and graduates on the issue of trafficking, modern slavery and online grooming. We have reached over 1000s of students before the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Community Engagement – We have provided specialist free training sessions on modern slavery to community groups, local charities, forums, Universities, and businesses. We have also provided specialist training on child trafficking to professionals and talks at churches, other places of worship and local network groups.
- Campaigning – Our designated campaign team have organised various film screenings and written several blogs to not only raise awareness on several issues related to modern slavery, but to also call individuals to action. The team have also created a ‘Spot the Signs’ video.
- Advocacy and Networking – We are a member of key policy working groups in the UK and provide advice to other groups on how they can raise awareness in their communities. We contributed towards getting the landmark Modern Slavery Act (2015) enacted and our work has been recognised by the Anti-Slavery Commissioner’s Office.
Want to learn more about modern slavery in Croydon?
- In August 2021 police arrested 4 people across Croydon, Cambridge, Dagenham and Reading in raids targeting modern day slavery. Find out more here.
- A man from South Norwood has been sentenced to 8 years 7 months in prison after forcing young boys to transport and sell drugs. It is believed to be only the second time someone has been convicted of county lines dealing under the Modern Slavery Act 2015. You can learn more here.
- Ishaan Shah, a teenager from London, has set up his own organisation, Stolen Dreams, to raise awareness of modern-day slavery among young people. Read the full article here.
- Human traffickers have reportedly been using oversea student visas to transfer people into the UK. Universities have discovered that international students expected to study either have low attendance or disappear from campus completely. Victims have been found in groups living in poor housing conditions miles away from their universities and are forced to work for salaries below minimum wage. You can read more here.
- Around 30 girls in the UK have been trafficked and forced to commit fraud by an organised crime group. The gang recruited the girls on social media and exploited their existing vulnerabilities. It is thought to be the first time the Modern Slavery Act 2015 has been applied to a fraud enterprise in UK law. You can find out more here.
- The Nationality and Borders Bill is threatening to undermine the Modern Slavery Act 2015. Clauses in the bill risk putting victims of trafficking in a vulnerable position, individuals and organisations are calling on the UK government to amend the bill to ensure vulnerable people are protected. Read the full article here.
- A man from Carlisle has been given a 9-month jail sentence suspended for 18 months after keeping another man captive for 40 years and forcing him to work. You can learn more here.
- The Catholic Church have created the Santa Marta Group to tackle modern day slavery. They aim to create regional hubs around the world with this focus. The European hub met for their first conference in February 2022 to start developing an action plan to eradicate modern slavery. Visit the complete article here.
- Anti-slavery chocolate brand, Tony’s Chocolonely, found 1,701 child workers in their supply chain in the year to April 2021. They have addressed this saying now they have found these children they can work with the families to address the issue. Learn more here.
- The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Trafficked Britons in Syria have heard evidence that British nationals who were trafficked to Syria and Iraq have been abandoned by the UK government. The Home Office have been found to be depriving people of their British citizenship without taking into consideration whether they had been groomed, coerced or deceived into travelling. Read more here.
The Pandemic and its impact on human trafficking victims
As lockdowns and travel bans were implemented globally, the resilience and adaptability of traffickers in response was alarmingly evident. Rather than a reduction in cases, traffickers merely altered how they targeted vulnerable people during the periods of isolation and instability. Online trafficking became the primary way to lure in victims.
The impacts Covid-19 has caused by anti-slavery International
- Creating new risks and abuses – Periods of social isolation led to an increase in abuse and grooming. For example, domestic workers were in many cases forced to stay within the confines of the family houses they served.
- Increasing vulnerability to slavery – Mass unemployment, redundancies and job insecurity resulted in desperate attempts to source employment through illegitimate means. Vulnerable people often trusted traffickers promising “better” opportunities to provide income for their families or to pay off their debts.
- Worsening discrimination – Migrant workers from lower income countries returning to their home countries were at greater risk of being trafficked. They are at higher risk of catching covid due to the conditions traveling back with social distancing non-existence, the stigmatisation within their communities from catching the virus, lack of income and growing external pressures such as food shortages made them attractive targets for traffickers.
- Increasing risk for migrant worker – The conditions human trafficking victims are forced to work in are often void of any measures to prevent the spread of the virus. Additionally, the UK’s “Hostile environment” policy has discouraged victims of modern slavery from reporting their situation often in fear of being criminalised rather than helped.
- Disrupting anti-slavery effort – During the pandemic, the activity of anti-trafficking organisations was severely impacted. Reductions in funding, job cuts resulted in an inability to reach victims to assist with their rehabilitation.
Spot the Signs
Do you want to help?
You can help people that have been ensnared in the endless horror of trafficking by watching our video Spot the Signs video so you can report a suspected case. Call the modern slavery helpline on 08000 121 700. We appreciate your continued support over the years, if you would like to help our team continue to raise awareness about the horrors of modern slavery you can donate here.