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Programme Action Study Day 2016 – report

UKPAC Study Day – Bristol 9th July 2016

There was an excellent turnout for the Study Day and delegates were rewarded with really interesting speakers and workshops.

Kevin Hyland is the UK’s first Independent Anti- slavery Commissioner and he spoke about his role and priorities including improving interagency working at home and internationally as previously the National Crime agency and police forces were not communicating. He pointed out that Trafficking and Slavery convictions result in life sentences. Companies with a turnover of more than 36 million have to ensure their supply chain is slavery free. He pointed out that all of us could be inadvertently bolstering slavery by using computers and mobile phones as Coltan the substance which is a very effective conductor is mined in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Venezuela and Colombia often under slavery conditions. We should all consider if the very cheap clothes we buy could actually be made without slave labour. Demanding change in consumer activity is the way forward.

Juliet Lyon from the Prison Reform Trust called on us to help by writing in support of a change to the referral to Women’s Centres. In Wales women can be referred to a Women’s Centre before being charged but in the rest of the UK referral can only occur if the woman has been charged, missing an opportunity for support early on. She is producing a template letter for us to use to support the change in line with Wales.

Lucy Russell from Plan International spoke about FGM in UK and abroad. She asked us to raise awareness, campaign, volunteer if able and stay vigilant. She told us about the “Uncut girls club” in Ethiopia and the Masai Cricket Warriors speaking out against FGM in Kenya.

There were six workshops on topics such as FGM, reducing women’s imprisonment and Modern Day Slavery, with delegates attending 3 sessions. The ones I attended on FGM and Music in Prisons were excellent.

Why not attend a future UK PAC study day?

Isabel Huggett (Grange Soroptimists)