Anti-Slavery Commissioner sees first hand excellent work being done in West Yorkshire to tackle human trafficking (11 Mar 2015)

The UK's first Anti-Slavery Commissioner has been in West Yorkshire to see how police are leading the way in tackling human trafficking and slavery.

Kevin Hyland met with West Yorkshire's Police and Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson to hear all about the creation of the West Yorkshire Anti Trafficking Network (WYATN) and a dedicated human trafficking unit set up by West Yorkshire Police, only the second in England behind the Met.

Mr Hyland also met West Yorkshire's Temporary Chief Constable Dee Collins and attended the WYATN meeting where he heard from Hope for Justice about the work being done to train frontline staff to spot the signs of people being trafficked.

Mr Burns-Williamson said: "West Yorkshire Police and partners are leading the way in tackling human trafficking and bringing the vile perpetrators of this crime to justice and it was great to be able to show and discuss with Mr Hyland the work and progress we have been making.

"I told him about my plans to set up a National Trafficking Network amongst PCCs to help share best working practices and increase awareness. I informed him about the WYATN and the new dedicated unit which will both spread awareness of human trafficking and lay the groundwork for coordinated efforts to address the issue regionally, nationally and internationally.

"West Yorkshire has already seen a number of operations relating to human trafficking literally resulting in the rescue of many vulnerable victims, but this activity is potentially just the tip of the iceberg. I discussed with Mr Hyland how essential quality training is for officers and front line staff to make sure that victims are recognized and supported wherever possible."

Mr Hyland said: "The joint stance of Chief Constable Collins and Police and Crime Commissioner Burns-Williamson in West Yorkshire is encouraging and I am supportive and grateful for their commitment to proactively respond to and support some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

"It is clear West Yorkshire Police has determined the investigation of this serious and organised crime is a priority and the partnership model in West Yorkshire is one I am looking into in my search to identify best practice.

"Modern Slavery must be stamped out of our cities and towns and this can only be achieved through effective partnerships such as the Anti-Trafficking Network in West Yorkshire.

"I particularly welcome the focus on transparency in supply chains at today's meeting. Society and businesses must do more to ensure supply chains are not generating profit from the suffering of modern slaves."

Temporary Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police, Dee Collins, said: "The criminals behind human trafficking make huge profit from the shocking exploitation of vulnerable people.

"We are determined to tackle this dreadful crime, and the recent formation of a dedicated Human Trafficking Unit in West Yorkshire will significantly bolster our ability to work with other agencies to protect victims and deal with offenders."

Allan Doherty, the director of operations at Hope for Justice, added: "This visit is a great opportunity to profile the incredibly positive impact being made by partnership working between Mr Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire Police, Hope for Justice and other key agencies."

001 - 11-Mar -2015
Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson, Temporary Chief Constable Dee Collins and Anti-Slavery Commissioner  Kevin Hyland
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