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SI Yorkshire Anti-Slavery Group – SYAMS

Daisy 5

In 2005, Sylvia Wilson, SI Bingley and Chair of Yorkshire Region PA Committee, held a PA Study Day in Richmond, the theme of which was modern day slavery. Out of this event was born the SI Yorkshire Anti-Slavery Sub Group (ASSG), re-named SI Yorkshire Anti-Slavery Group (ASG) in 2012, drawing its membership from clubs throughout the Region.


What is modern day slavery?

  •  Forced marriage
  •  Domestic abuse
  •  Grooming for sexual exploitation
  •  Female genital mutilation (FGM)
  •  People trafficking

ASG achievements to date include …


Purple Ribbon Campaign, which raised funds to support victims of trafficking.


  • Stop the Traffick march through York, to raise awareness about people trafficking.
  • We received the International Soroptimist Award for our work on ‘Action on Modern Day Slavery’.
  • We raised awareness of sexual exploitation through forced prostitution by way of a “Gents” toilet sticker that challenged perpetrators to make different decisions before actively engaging with prostitutes.

2009, 2010 and 2011   

  • We developed learning packs and Loves me Loves me not bookmarks to help young people build modern day slavery risk management skills.
  • We worked with:
  • UKHTC to raise awareness about human trafficking and grooming for sexual exploitation
  • the Home Office and Equality and Human Rights Commission, raising awareness of domestic abuse and mapping gaps in the provision of services for victims
  • the White Ribbon Campaign, which campaigns to involve men in opposing violence against women.
  • We supported clubs across Yorkshire in marking International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women through awareness raising events.


  • We developed a relationship with a local Muslim community group with a view to raising awareness about women’s right to be free from domestic abuse.
  • We held a regional event about forced marriage with guest speaker Ann Cryer.
  • We developed an awareness raising coaster in preparation for a suspected increase in violence against women, particularly sexual exploitation, before the 2012 Olympic games.
  • We were invited to Hull University’s Fresher’s Fayre at its campus in Scarborough, to raise awareness about safe relationships.
  • We presented our work on grooming to:
  • Co-operative Membership Conferences in Scarborough and York
  • Co-operative Membership IWD event in Leeds
  • Scarborough and Harrogate Domestic Abuse Forums.
  • We met the need of a wider audience for freedom from domestic abuse and sexual exploitation by developing our Loves me Loves me not resources into fliers, posters and wallet sized cards.
  • We supported West Yorkshire Probation Services in the development of domestic abuse resources for its clients.
  • We participated in a TV documentary about the need for partnership working in the fight against grooming.
  • We established a relationship with the NSPCC with a view to safeguarding young people against
  • sexual exploitation.


  • With the help of the NSPCC we developed a coaster with a clear message about the dangers of sexting, together with details of help available.
  • We ran a very successful event in Leeds ‘Grooming for sexual exploitation – Together we can make a difference’, to promote partnership working between the various agencies involved in this work.
  • We marked Anti-Slavery Day by hosting the sexual exploitation version of the UNGIFT box in Sheffield. The box was developed by Stop the Traffik in conjunction with UNGIFT to raise awareness about human trafficking. It is a kiosk that entices people inside with all sorts of promises, eg of free gifts, but on entering, members of the public are confronted with the realities of human trafficking. By echoing the experience of the (mostly) women who are trafficked to western Europe by enticements of a better life, we hoped to raise awareness in the general public of human trafficking, in particular of trafficking for sexual exploitation.
  • We developed a teaching pack to support the use of the GIFT box. It includes PSHE lessons for
  • pupils in KS3 and KS4 and is based on resources provided by ‘Stop the Traffik’.


  • We held a very successful event when we focussed on safeguarding against child sexual exploitation. The Co-operative Membership provided funding for a USB stick for each delegate, onto which we downloaded safeguarding resources for use in various situations.
  • We attended Freshers Fayres at 3 Universities at the start of the autumn term, where we raised awareness about sexual abuse in teen relationships and distributed the Loves me Loves me not resources.
  • We were invited to distribute the bookmarks etc at an event held by Wakefield College and hope to extend this work in the future.
  • We supplied bookmarks in 23 Co-operative pharmacies around N Yorkshire and beyond.


Anti-Slavery Day 18.10.2019

Soroptimist International of Yorkshire Anti- Modern Slavery (SYAMS) members with the support of clubs set up three stalls to raise awareness of modern day slavery and promoted the Unseen Helpline cards.

Thursday, October 17th

Garforth Tesco

Friday, October 18th 2019.  11am to 3pm.

Leeds St John’s Shopping Centre 

Leeds  Kirgate indoor market.

Scarborough Brunswick Centre

Quotes from Scarborough

“You’re doing a good job telling people about trafficking”

“It’s worse now than ever. More slaves now than 400 years ago. It can’t go on.”

“I’m glad someone’s talking about this.”

“We had trafficking in our village.  They’re all in prison now.”

“I helped 2 girls in Bradford who had been trafficked. They didn’t look right on the train. They were being kept in a flat above a take-away. They’re safe now. So I know all about it.“

“I will think about this now I’ve talked to you.”

It’s so good to find people here interested in what happens in South Africa.  (Marie from SA)

We see girls being approached in here.  (Security guard on shopping centre).

All of the stalls were well resourced with local facts and figures, information on what modern day slavery is, how to spot it and what to do if you see it. Reactions were very mixed with people “not thinking it existed in their home town” to others who actually dealt on a day to day basis with victims.  We were able to signpost a couple of people to where they could get help, Gave out over 500 unseen post cards and plenty of our Relationship book marks.  Hopefully these two days of activity and raising awareness have saved a few lives in Yorkshire.