Islington publishes first report on tackling modern slavery

Reps from all seven councils, as well as Jeremy Corbyn, after the modern slavery charter was signed

Reps from all seven councils, as well as Jeremy Corbyn, after the modern slavery charter was signed at Islington Town Hall. Picture: Islington Council - Credit: Archant

Town hall chiefs published a report detailing the extent of county lines crime and other types of modern slavery in Islington this week.

The document sets out what Islington and its partner agencies are doing to tackle modern slavery, and also recommends how safeguarding policies can be improved.

The annual report follows on from Islington becoming the first council to sign the Against Modern Slavery in March.

It notes: “Adult social care received four safeguarding concerns in 2018/19 where the ‘type of abuse’ cited was modern slavery.

“They related to enforced domestic servitude, prostitution and trafficking of a pregnant woman.

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“The referrers included a GP, the Police and another local authority.

“In three cases, we were unable to meet with the victims before they had left the area and, in the fourth case, children’s services followed up by liaising with the Home Office.”

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It notes these numbers are “relatively low” – the Home Office estimate in 2013 there were between 10,000 and 13,000 potential victims of modern slavery in the UK.

The Modern Slavery Act 2015 covers the offences of slavery, servitude, forced labour and human trafficking.

The “county lines phenomenon” sees vulnerable children groomed and rented out to gangs who use them to traffick drugs to rural and costal areas.

As of January 7, 14 children Islington had been identified as being at risk of exploitation by county lines gangs. 12 were boys aged between 15 and 17, and the other two were girls aged 15 to 16.

Jay, 15, who lives with his grandmother, is presented as a case study.

The teen, who was previously on a child protection plan due after being exposed to domestic violence and his mothers drugs use, is missing lessons and at risk or exclusion due to his disruptive behaviour.

His grandmother, Beryl reports he’s been hanging out with adults, has gone missing on three occasions and comes back dirty and wearing the same clothes.

After this is flagged up, partners such as Islington’s Integrates Gangs Team, the St Giles Trust charity and police assigned to Jay’s school then collaborate to try and keep him safe.

The report will be discussed at full council on Thursday.

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