Wisbech charity to host modern day slavery and migration conference
Modern day slavery in Fenland and the impact of migration on the district will be the focus of a conference in London tomorrow (Wednesday, November 6).
Wisbech charity, the Rosmini Centre, will give a unique insight into both issues when it hosts the event at Friends Meeting House in Euston.
Over the last year, the Rosmini Centre has worked in partnership with Fenland District Council and two teams of academics to research modern day slavery in the area and the impact of large scale migration on community cohesion, services and the local economy.
The findings of the two research projects will be shared at the conference, which has drawn interest from across the country, with over 100 delegates expected to attend.
The two projects were funded following a bid from Fenland District Council to the government’s Controlling Migration Fund (CMF), which aims to support areas facing pressures linked to recent migration and promote integration and community cohesion.
Anita Grodkiewicz, Rosmini Centre manager, said: “Modern Day Slavery is a hidden crime and is happening in Fenland. It is likely that you unknowingly come across victims of exploitation regularly. They can be in your workplace, the place you get your car washed or where you get your nails done. They may be building a wall in your garden or tarmacking your drive.
She added: “Migration has had a very visible impact in towns like Wisbech.
"Attention has been focused on the negative issues which have arisen and largely ignored some of the ways in which Fenland has benefited from migrants in the area. Improvements in the way services are planned to take account of the changes to the population would be of benefit to everyone living here. The report which has been produced identifies some of the work which is needed to help statutory authorities respond to the changes.”
The conference will be supported by range of speakers including North East Cambridgeshire MP and Brexit Secretary, Steve Barclay; the UK’s Independent Anti Slavery Commissioner, Dame Sara Thornton; the head of prevention at the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA), Paul Elms; and Caroline Virgo, project officer at The Clewer Initiative, the Church of England’s anti- slavery campaign.
Dr Margaret Greenfields of New University, Buckinghamshire, and Professor Gary Craig, a leading authority on Modern Day Slavery, who led each of the two academic research teams, will also be among the speakers, along with Anita Grodkiewicz and David Bailey, traveller and diversity manager at Fenland District Council.
Two documentaries produced by the Gypsy Media Company will also be released at the conference.
Councillor Chris Seaton, Fenland’s Cabinet member responsible for community cohesion, said: “By sharing the research and knowledge which has been gained through these Controlling Migration Fund projects, we can ensure statutory and community groups on the frontline are best equipped to take action against human trafficking criminals, protect those who may be at risk and keep our communities safe.
“The conference is also a great opportunity to showcase our great working relationships with our partner organisations and promote Fenland as a district that is forward thinking in its approach to supporting migrant and indigenous communities.”
More by this authorSarah Cliss