Posted by Will on 3rd March 2023
We were delighted to gather over 20 people together last Tuesday evening, from our police force, other churches, a charity called Urban Saints and from our wonderful church family. We heard some really encouraging statistics, from PCSO’s Simon and Cal, our local neighbourhood policing team, and we also learned about the significant impacts, and important signs to spot when it comes to Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery. Here is an update!
PART 1: Local updates
Previous meeting prayers were made around the red tape to improve the safety of Bradford Road, after several fatal collisions took place. Encouragingly this has now progressed to average speed cameras being installed in the future.
We also heard that Anti Social behaviour in Pudsey has taken a steep decline in reported offences.
The police seem genuinely delighted to be part of our initiative, and it is such an opportunity to applaud them, show our support, and of course invite them for a toastie during their shifts on a Monday at Connect Cafe. A really important part of Crime Prayer-vention is supporting, encouraging and thanking our local officers who face huge challenges in their daily roles.
So, we have a few local focus areas to pray into:
- Increases in residential burglaries
- Increases in shoplifting
- There has been increase in thefts from motor vehicles
We feel a factor in this is the cost of living crisis we are facing.
Other items to pray about: in our area, the most common serious crime is violence and sexual assault. This will be a key prayer point for our next walks, and meeting.
If you would be interested in a local prayer walk over the coming few weeks, please email Will@theoakchurch.co.uk
We will also pray into these issues at our next ‘Communities’ focused Tuesday morning prayers.
A second theme for the evening was the harrowing effects of Human trafficking and Modern Slavery. We heard the impacts on individuals, and communities.
What is human trafficking? Where a person arranges or facilitates the travel of another person with a view to that person being exploited.
What does it involve?
- Human Trafficking (forced movement of persons for exploitation purposes), Slavery, Forced labour (People forced into working for no pay or not what they should be paid),
- Domestic Servitude (forced labour within homes such as personal care, cooking, cleaning, maintenance work)
- Slavery like practices such as debt bondage (where people are told they have a debt they need to work to pay off)
- Sale or exploitation of children (can be criminal or sexual exploitation)
- Forced marriage (forced into marriage, often includes aspects of domestic servitude or sexual exploitation).
How do we spot it in the community?
Indicators on individuals:
Acts as if instructed by another, as though they are forced or coerced to carry out specific activities
Demonstrates signs of physical or psychological abuse, such as lacking self esteem, seeming anxious, bruising or untreated medical conditions
Seems to be bonded by debt or has money deducted from their salary
Has little or no contact with family or loved ones
Is distrustful of authorities
Has threats made against themselves or family members
Is not in possession of their own legal documents
More information about specific signs can be found here.
Impacts on victims and communities:
Impacts on the victims:
Impacts on communities:
Fear – could be afraid of professionals (police) or perpetrators
Shame/guilt – due to what they have been forced into
Physical or emotional or mental harm
Poor Mental health
Addicted to drugs
Antisocial behaviour such as littering, noise complaints.
Increase in all types of crime including acquisitive crime, roads crimes,
violent offending, and other crime types.
Risks for vulnerable people within the community – Cuckooing, coercion into
criminality, safeguarding risks to young people.
Reputational harm for the community.
Trends and statistics for Leeds
In the past six weeks alone, 26 Human Trafficking & Modern Slavery crimes have been investigated.
Increase in Criminal exploitation, mostly involved with cannabis farms.
44 potential victims have been reported and are under investigation, and 26 potential perpetrators are under investigation.
There is a concern about car washes being hubs for this activity, and an emerging concern about victims being forced to work in the care sector.
Here are some video links that you may find insightful:.
Here’s an item from ITV news which explains international and county lines models - Modern slavery: At least 100,000 victims in UK include British citizens, report claims | ITV News - YouTube
What is Modern Slavery? - YouTube
Majority of UK modern slavery victims are children, report says - YouTube A story of modern slavery | Migration: a human story - YouTube
If you suspect human trafficking has taken place, the best thing to do is report it via this link, or the local police 101 service.
We spent time in prayer at Crime prayer-vention, and continue to pray for the victims, the families of the victims, and those working to tackle this terrible crime.
Why not share this blog in your community group and pray together this week?
If you would like to join our Crime Prayer-vention team, and help to host these fascinating evenings each quarter, Will would love to hear from you!
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