Aiming to tackle the misery of human trafficking
A NEW task group aimed at uncovering and tackling human trafficking in South West Wales has been launched.
The Western Bay Human Trafficking Forum is made up of representatives from Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend councils, along with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), the Welsh Government and other organisations, and will lead the fight against the illegal trade of human beings, mainly for the purposes of sexual exploitation or forced labour.
Chairwoman of the group, Kim Ann Williamson from the CPS, said: “Human trafficking is very real. It’s happening in our communities and on our doorstep.
“This new multi-agency forum has been launched to coincide with tomorrow’s Anti Slavery Day.
“The group is an exciting and innovative approach to addressing human trafficking on a local level.
“Key local stakeholders will work closely together, to identify and help people who may have been victims of human trafficking. The launch of this group will also bring opportunities to train and raise awareness, to give front line staff the confidence to recognise and report incidents in order to make Wales hostile to human trafficking.”
In 2012 the UK National Referral Mechanism received 34 referrals of potential victims in Wales, and there have been court cases in Gwent, Cardiff and Pembroke. The forum say there is also evidence of women being forced to work as slaves in nail bars and massage parlours across Wales.
David Phillips, leader of Swansea Council, said: “It is distressing to imagine such a despicable crime is occurring in our communities but we have to be alert and be proactive in our partnership work to uncover existing human trafficking and prevent it from happening in the future.”