Lancashire Police and the Pan-Lancashire Anti-Slavery Partnership (PLASP) are working with the Medaille Trust on a new project which seeks to support victims of Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking.
Called Victims’ Voices, the project works with the Force, PLASP and the wider legal system to enable better outcomes and experiences for those affected by this type of crime.
This is done through specially trained professional case workers from the Medaille Trust leading on video interviews on behalf of the Force to ensure that the most is made of this vital evidence. These video interviews meet achieving best evidence standards, meaning that the evidence gathered can be used in criminal proceedings on behalf of the Constabulary.
Det Sgt Jill Entwistle from the Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery Team added: “This very welcome project aims to empower more people to seek justice through enabling opportunities to tell their story in a comfortable environment, at their own time and pace.
“Experiences show that some survivors find it difficult to give evidential accounts to Police Officers, so this partnership work will enable us to support vulnerable victims by using experienced case workers, in familiar surroundings, to empower survivors to give evidence and in doing so help us bring those criminals who choose to exploit people in this way to justice.”
Director of Police and Justice Partnerships for the Medaille Trust Steve Hay says their professional case workers conducting these interviews to legal standard reduces the trauma victims may feel in reliving their experience to Police Officers: “The Victims’ Voices work supports Police investigations by reaching victims who will not engage with them. Too often, victims feel afraid to talk openly about what they’ve experienced particularly to Police and law enforcement agencies.
“Feelings of mistrust of authority, shame, painful memories and emotional trauma often prevent victims and survivors from engaging and sourcing the help they deserve. Our work with Lancashire Police helps to provide effective evidential accounts of victims exploitation, empowers them to pursue judicial outcomes to help them move forward positively with their lives.”
Sion Hall, Chair of the PLASP added: “'Exploitation of the most vulnerable in our county is unacceptable and is not tolerated in Lancashire. This significant investment enables us to work together with our partners to proactively stop those who choose to commit these types of crimes by protecting those who need our help and pursuing offenders.”
Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Andrew Snowden, said: "This is a great initiative which will help bring criminals to justice while supporting victims through the process at the same time.
"The exploitation of vulnerable people is an abhorrent crime and anything we can do to ensure that offenders are caught and dealt with robustly can only be positive.
"I am committed to working with the Constabulary and our partners to target and disrupt organised criminal gangs and to tackle Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking here in Lancashire."
Additionally, The Medaille Trust has begun a pioneering project utilising a network of tattoo artists across the UK to help victims alter their ‘brand’ tattoo. Branding of victims by their traffickers is an abhorrent practice used to show that a person ‘belongs’ to a particular gang of criminals.
Branding tattoos are a constant reminder to a victim of the exploitation and abuse they have suffered at the hands of their exploiters. Changing these branded tattoos into something of the victim’s own choice is a significant step on the journey to recovery for survivors. The tattooing project is currently live across the South East, South West and the West Midlands with plans in place to launch the service in Lancashire soon. The Medaille Trust are reaching out to tattoo artists in the Lancashire area who may want to