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Hillingdon Council Pledges To Tackle Modern Slavery

Last month’s Hillingdon Council meeting sees both sides of the chamber working together to tackle modern slavery across the borough.

Councillor Stuart Mathers (Labour, West Drayton) said: “The thought of a child, or vulnerable person, near to me being trapped in modern slavery, potentially in our borough of Hillingdon, in our country the UK, is more than just uncomfortable. It’s heart-breaking.

“And we must play our part, and act tonight, to do all we can to prevent this.”

It is estimated that there are tens of thousands of people in slavery across Britain, according to the UK Government. This statistic includes over 2,000 children.

Modern slavery takes many forms

The group of people most at risk from being exploited are UK nationals.

The Leader of the Labour Group, Councillor Peter Curling, said that modern slavery needs as much public awareness as possible. He also said that the council should give a united message, in order to show that Hillingdon council is doing everything in its power to tackle modern slavery.

Hillingdon is the 3rd highest London borough for referrals related to modern slavery, behind Croydon and Southwark, according to charity Hestia.

The high ranking is reportedly due to Heathrow airport being situated in the borough. In 2018, Hillingdon borough had 73 reported victims of modern slavery.

Councillor Jane Palmer (Conservative, Harefield) said: “Modern slavery is a crime. It is a violation of a person’s human rights, and victims need and deserve protection.

“In Hillingdon, we can be sure that this council works across parties to raise awareness, have correct policies and procedures to protect our residents from this course.”

In 2016, Mohammed Rafiq, 63, was the first British business owner to be convicted and sentenced for human trafficking.

For more information on modern slavery, or if you wish to report a suspicion or seek advice, please call the national helpline on: 08000 121 700.


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