Modern slavery and human trafficking

The Learning Together Event began with the global, national and local picture, and a shocking reminder that there are more people in slavery today than at any point in history.

Ann Reed, Territorial Director of Anti-Trafficking and Modern Slavery with the Salvation Army, the keynote speaker for this event, gave an in depth account of indicators, causes, and effects of trafficking and modern slavery. She described her organisation’s work with victims of trafficking and modern slavery and their role as a first responder.

Clare Rowe and Rob Black from Devon and Cornwall Police explained the National Referral Mechanism and facilitated learning using an interactive case study with reference to recent UK convictions under the new legislation (Modern Slavery Act 2015). The updated Plymouth approach (2017) is described in this National Referral Mechanism Toolkit, compiled by a multi-agency group on behalf of Plymouth’s Community Safety Partnership.

Emma Hill, the Slavery Safeguarding Lead for Plymouth City Council, explained the role of the local authority as a first responder also, a role new to herself, offering useful insight from a social work safeguarding perspective.

Martin Jones then explained the work of the Gangmasters’ Licensing Authority (now renamed the Gangmasters’ Licensing and Labour Abuse Authority) in protecting vulnerable and exploited workers. For further information please visit the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority website. You can also download their PDF about Workers' Rights.

The day concluded with discussion in small groups about ‘Ann’s story’ narrated by the FREDA organisers. Each group considered her story in relation to one of the FREDA Standards and a reflective question posed. The group exercise and discussion notes are recorded in the FREDA presentation for the day.

Your tutors, study groups, other professionals and supervisors are available to talk to about these complex issues. Remember, be a learner and engage in the debate.

We welcome ongoing analysis and critique of knowledge presented on the FREDA website so please send any feedback along with positive suggestions to support this learning to

Learning Together Event feedback

At the end of the day participants were asked for feedback starting with an Appreciative Inquiry - ‘What worked?’ question.

Read the full feedback

What worked?

  • Really good to have agency perspectives, which illustrated the need and effectiveness of working in this way and the need for further development in this area.
  • More aware of human trafficking. Signs to look for. More determined to fight for human rights and justice.
  • The stories made it more personal.

What will you do next?

  • Don’t assume, ask
  • Be more aware, keep my eyes open

What does belonging to FREDA mean to me?

“My involvement with FREDA has kept my continuing professional development up to date with current challenges in social work. I find that institutional oppression and inherent privilege need to be constantly thought about if they are not to disappear from the debate.”

Sharon Soper, Social Work Practitioner/Practice Educator and Lecturer in Social Work