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Hiding In Plain Sight – A Conference on Modern Day Slavery and Human Trafficking

On Friday 24th November  local Soroptimists clubs, Cirencester & District together with Cheltenham & District hosted a conference on modern day slavery and human trafficking.  They invited experts in this field to share their knowledge and to equip attendees with knowledge on how to spot signs of people being manipulated and what they can do to prevent it happening.

Cirencester club President Jill Lang declares the conference open and welcomes Cirencester Mayor Sabrina Dixon

Keynote Speakers

Lizzie Muir is the Community Engagement officer at Anti-Slavery International, the world’s oldest human rights organisation.  Lizzie leads Anti-Slavery Internationals education and community work with educational institutions, corporations, faith communities and action groups.  Prior to joining Anti-Slavery International, she read International relations and development studies at SOAS, University of London, and worked for Ethiopiaid, where she helped fund their projects tacikling poverty and discrimination in Ethiopia.  Through her work Lizzie has collaborated with and spoken to thousands of people about modern slavery.

Major Heather Grinstead has been a Salvation Army Officer for thirty-one years working in UK local congregations and in the Middle East with her husband.  Her work in the Gulf involved the protection, with responsibility for a residential shelter, and safe repatriation of domestic workers and labourers, many of whom were victims of modern slavery.

She served as a member of the Salvation Army International Human Trafficking Task Force for five years, which was set up to ‘promote, encourage support and co-ordinate an anti-human trafficking response around the world’.  On return to the UK in January 2019 she was appointed by the Salvation Army as Deputy Director Anti Trafficking and Modern Slavery Unit for UK and Ireland.

Inspector Rosie Higgins is the Force Intelligence Bureau Detective Inspector for Gloucestershire Constabulary.  She has spent the last 11 years woring in Gloucestershire and has been a police officer since 2010.  Rosie’s background is largely in investigations and vulnerability and she has spent a significant period of time working to investigate Child Sexual Exploitation.  In her current role, Rosie is responsibble for the management of intelligence development around Modern Savery and Human Trafficking and is the force’s lead for this area of work.  Rosie is passionate about vulnerability and safeguarding and enjoys working in this field to help protect those most at risk.

Chris Nelson was elected as Gloucestershire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) in May 2021.
After growing up in Leeds, state educated, Chris joined the Army at age 18, attending Sandhurst.  He retired as a full Colonel, having served operationally in the First Gulf War and on the stress of Northern Ireland.  As PCC for Gloucestershire, Chris has introduced a zero-tolerance approach to anti-social behaviour, sorted out the budget and secured funding for more than 400 extra police officers/staff, tackled male violence against women and girls, reduced the cost of rural crime, mitigated scam calls and improved Gloucestershire Constabulary’s 101 service.

Both Cirencester and Cheltenham Clubs were honoured that Soroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland President Ruth Healey attended.

Also in attendance was Margaret Parkinson Pesident of Soroptimist International South West and Channel Islands Region.

They are seen here with Cirencester club Presidnt Jill Lang.



Congratulations for a job well done!

The conference was organised by Cirencester Club Programme Action Lead Shirley Alexander.  President of Soroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland, Ruth Healey congratulates Shirley and her team for a job well done.

Ruth looks forward to sharing what she has learned today  as she plans for her club in Surrey to hold a similar event  in 2024.