Nantwich Soroptimists have been applauded for their anti slavery initiative: a report by Helen Piddock – Jones
In mid November 2018 three members of SI Nantwich (Anne Thompson, Anne Barnard and Helen Piddock-Jones) attended a Modern Slavery Awareness event held at the Civic Hall in Nantwich. It was an excellent event, sponsored by the South Cheshire Chamber of Commerce and the Mayor of Nantwich, among others.
The Speakers included the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority, the UK border force, the police and some big businesses who had discovered numerous slaves within their own workforce. In every town in the UK slaves are hidden in plain sight. They do their job but nobody knows where they live and their pay goes into somebody else’s pocket. The Police and other authorities are now all set up and ready to act and move in, but they can only be effective if they are given information by ordinary people.
In SI Nantwich we have been working very hard to raise modern slavery awareness, but admittedly from quite a small local community level, whereas in fact it is now very big business. Worldwide there are 40 million victims. We usually think of the women slaves, but in fact 70% of modern slaves are men, and it’s rife in the construction industry, fishing, agriculture, large packaging firms, all areas where there are low skill jobs, as well as the car washes and nail bars and brothels. Two areas that are totally new to our experience;
Domestic slaves, usually Pilipino, Indian and Nigerian, and last year 12500 domestic visas were issued in England alone.
Also, sham marriages where women are brought over here specifically to marry a stranger who can then live and work here, but she gets sent back.
There were 2 main messages.
All businesses should closely examine their work force and make sure they have proper addresses and the money goes to them and they are willing workers. But the authorities have discovered that some people they have tried to rescue, although slaves, say they are better off here than they were back home.
Second thing; everyone has the individual responsibility to play their part in looking for and then helping these victims. At the meeting we were such a varied group of people from all walks of life, but the speakers said that this was perfect because our different perspectives was our strength.
In the open session Helen stood up and displayed the Anti Slavery posters which SI Nantwich are asking local businesses (particularly fast food outlets and small corner shops) to display in their windows. We were thanked for our endeavours and the main speaker said that that was exactly what was needed. Local communities should be getting out there and doing initiatives like ours. Afterwards five separate people came over and asked if they could put up one of our posters.
Members of the club are now newly inspired to get out there are ask local business for their support in displaying the posters which are aimed specifically at helping the victims of modern day slavery.
Nantwich and District Soroptimists in Action in October 2018
Campaigning against modern slavery in Crewe and Nantwich – a look behind the scenes written by Caroline Marsh
Local soroptimists have supported an anti-slavery campaign for some years, linked to the national Purple Tear Drop Campaign. To mark anti-slavery day on 18th October this year we organised an awareness raising campaign in both towns. We did all of the things listed above, which have been widely reported, and the campaign continues, but what goes into making it all happen? Leadership is a key ingredient, and whilst there was a whole team involved, Marian Wade is a real champion for the campaign. This blog tells a bit more about her and what went on to support the campaign.