Dame Sara Thornton DBE QPM
Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner
As the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, I have a UK-wide remit to encourage good practice in the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of modern slavery offences and the identification of victims.
My Strategic Plan 2019-2021 outlines four priorities: improving victim care and support; supporting law enforcement and prosecution; focusing on prevention and getting value from research and innovation.
I am therefore delighted to write the foreword to The Clewer Initiative’s Women in the Shadows resource which touches on many of my strategic priorities.
The films and supporting material open our eyes to the stories people are living; the framing discussions highlight how law enforcement and prosecution need the support of the wider public and invitations are made to each of us, within our communities, to learn how best to contribute to victim care and support, and to combating this most egregious of crimes.
I have met and spoken with many victims and survivors of modern slavery and when I watched the films, I found they brought home to me afresh the horrors of modern slavery. The survivor testimonies, which are dramatised by actresses, communicate powerfully the reality of the different ways in which women get drawn into slavery and the lasting damage that is caused. The interviews with frontline workers really underline the message that modern slavery is in our midst, it is much closer than we will ever know, and we all have a part to play. It raises important questions about prevention and how organisations can work together to build the sort of communities where modern slavery cannot get a foothold. While the material is shocking and provokes some serious soul searching, it also suggests that when communities unite and begin caring for individuals, there is hope.
Modern slavery affects the most vulnerable in our society and exists very much in the shadows. I am thankful for any resource that seeks to shine a light on how criminals operate and how they can be thwarted.
Watch the films, read the supporting material, and tell a friend – everyone has a part to play in making modern slavery a thing of the past.