Human Trafficking is the movement of people by means such as force, fraud or deception, with the aim of exploiting them. It is modern day slavery. Thank you for reading unseen(uk)'s October newsletter!

Unseen Week 8-15th June - Take the Gimme 5 Challenge!

This year we celebrate 5 years of Unseen and its work in the field of human trafficking. To mark the occasion, we’ve come up with a Gimme 5 Challenge, to run during Unseen Week 8-15th June. The idea is to get family, friends, classmates and colleagues to come up with fun activities involving the number 5 and, in the process, raise funds for Unseen’s life-changing work with victims of human trafficking.

For instance, you could ask 5 friends to run 5k and donate £5 each. Or persuade 25 mates to play in a 5-a-side football tournament and pay £5 to enter. And there’s a prize for the most inventive idea!

For more inspiration, details on Unseen Week and how to set up a fundraising page, visit our website.

It Happens Here - report on modern slavery highlights lack of
national and political leadership 

You may have seen our Chief Executive Andrew Wallis in the media recently. He was speaking about a new report by the Centre for Social Justice It Happens Here: Equipping the United Kingdom to fight modern slavery, launched 11th March. Andrew, who chaired the report, says: “The report shines a light on what is a shocking reality. It highlights a vacuum at the heart of government and a lack of leadership in tackling slavery in all its forms”.

The comprehensive report draws evidence from 180 individuals and organisations, including trafficking victims, and gives a number of recommendations:
  1. Creating a new, independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, to bring ‘strategic leadership, accountability and coordination to combat trafficking’
  2. A new Modern Slavery Act, to deliver clear law enforcement and send a message to criminals that slavery is not tolerated in Britain
  3. Dealing with systemic issues around the demand for modern slavery
  4. Better and more coordinated help for survivors
  5. Increased investigations into the scale of trafficking, in particular child exploitation, and training frontline staff 
  6. Encouraging businesses to take responsibility for their supply chains and enacting a Transparency in UK Company Supply Chains (Eradication of Slavery) Bill.
Andrew continues: “Slavery is not solely an immigration issue – increasingly people are being forced into modern slavery without crossing any international borders – but Government’s lead on this is the Immigration Minister. An independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner would help focus efforts and ensure that Britain takes a lead in confronting modern slavery.”
Unseen hopes the report will help make modern slavery a key priority for the Government. Click here to download the full report.
Keeping human trafficking at the top of the South West's agenda 
We are excited to report that we have Debbie Powell, a Crime Reduction Project Officer, working with Unseen to help bring all organisations working in the field of human trafficking together. The post is funded by Bristol City Council and Debbie is tasked with developing anti-human trafficking processes and protocols and then ensuring agencies put them into practice. She will also be helping to organise an
Anti-Trafficking Partnership conference this summer, where agencies most likely to come into contact with potential victims of human trafficking will be trained to use the newly developed ‘referral pathways’.  
Debbie says: "I'm looking forward to working closely with Unseen and other agencies and hope that the work being undertaken helps victims to access the support they need.”
On the theme of collaborative working, we’re also continuing to work closely with the police to help them determine their response to human trafficking and what resources they need to do this. And we’re helping design ‘care pathways’ for other agencies involved with survivor care, so we’re really pushing forward with our work in the South West.
Limited edition t-shirts sold in aid of Unseen
Doodlar has partnered with Unseen in a bid to get people walking, talking and thinking about human trafficking during the month of March. Social action group Doodlar designs limited edition clothing to shine a light on the world's greatest problems and has chosen this month to highlight human trafficking and the work Unseen does with survivors. Why not check out their cool t-shirt designs on

Money from each sale could help provide a care package for a survivor at our WATER Project - but be quick, the t-shirts are only available in March!

12 students, 11 countries, 5,000km, 2 wheels

Ella Playfair and Elizabeth Brazier took on a massive challenge to raise funds for Unseen by cycling from London to Istanbul. Here Ella tells us how she got on:

“Last summer a slightly barmy group of 12 students from Durham University got together and decided to spend 2 months cycling 5,000km from London to Istanbul. Each of us did it with a cause in mind; I wanted to support the incredible work of Unseen. I consider the trafficking of another person the most horrendous act one human could do to another and the more money and awareness around this issue the sooner we can remove it from our vocabulary! In the end the group cycled through 11 countries, getting lost in nearly every one! It was the adventure of a lifetime, with great ups and downs (literally, at one point 25km UP a mountain named by TopGear as “the best road in the world”). From wild camping next to Romanian Gypsies and Hungarian sheep, to almost getting squashed by a lorry on a 12 lane Turkish motorway... The challenges were unforgettable. In total the group raised over £22,000, with 2 of us donating our funds to Unseen.”
Many thanks to Ella, Elizabeth and their friends for their efforts. We love hearing about what our wonderful supporters are up to! So if you have a challenge in mind, get in touch and we’ll feature you on our website or in our next Newsletter.

Q&A with Unseen's Chief Executive Andrew Wallis 

1. You’re the founder and Chief Executive of Unseen. How did you get involved with fighting human trafficking? 
Two friends separately encountered trafficking in Ukraine. When they told me, it both shocked and compelled me to do something about it. I also had the extraordinary privilege of meeting a survivor here in the UK. So I started asking questions of my MP, city council and police. I then met with a senior policeman who told me the true scale of the problem even here in Bristol. He challenged me to do more than just ask questions and said there was an urgent need for safe accommodation. So there and then I made the decision to do something about it on the condition that he become my first trustee. He did. And still is. And there began the amazing journey to learn about modern slavery and human trafficking. And realise that with vision and leadership we can eradicate it.
2. Previously you were involved with Unseen whilst having a full-time job. You’ve now been Chief Executive here full-time for 6 months, what have you been up to? For the last 20 months, much of my time has been taken up with the CSJ report. I’m proud of what the report has achieved and the reception it has received. It’s a comprehensive review of what the issues are surrounding modern slavery and what we need to do nationally and locally to eradicate it. All government departments, NGOs, businesses, media as well as the general public need to join forces if we’re to send a message to traffickers that modern slavery is not tolerated here.

I’ve also been working in Parliament with Michael Connarty MP on a new Transparency in UK Company Supply Chains (Eradication of Slavery Bill) (for Twitter followers, see #TISCUK). It requires large, multi-national companies with turnovers over £100 million to disclose in their annual reports and prominently display on their websites what they’re doing to ensure that their supply and product chains and business practices are ‘slave free’. We’ve also been partnering with Julia Ormond from ASSET in California, a state which has already passed this law, to see this law enacted at US Federal level, in the EU and in other nations. 
3. What’s planned for the next 6 months?  First, I will be working with others to deliver the CSJ report’s recommendations. At Unseen, we’ll be ramping up our work over TISC UK, not only in this country but internationally because so many companies now operate on a global scale. We’ll also be continuing to drive forward our efforts around child trafficking and developing a co-ordinated response to this horrific issue. We want all agencies involved in tackling it – from police to social services to healthcare workers and NGOs – to collaborate, be aware of the issues, know how to respond and what the best form of care and support is for the child.
4. What can the average person in the street do to combat human trafficking and modern slavery? It’s so important for people to be informed. It doesn’t just happen overseas, it happens here in the UK, on our doorsteps. Everyone should make themselves aware of what the signs of modern slavery and human trafficking are, so they can stop and think if it’s happening in their neighbourhood and report their suspicions. Think about where you buy your clothes and where your food is from – is it ethically sourced and slave-free? Only by tackling this issue holistically can we hope to eradicate it in all its forms. 
5. What should a member of the public do if they have concerns? If you have information or are worried, call your local police on 101, or if it’s an emergency, dial 999. You can also call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or use their secure online form.

Fuze plugs in to student power to help Unseen 

Another group of students, from Bristol University, chose this year to donate all the proceeds from their annual music, fashion and dance show (the largest student event in the UK) to Unseen. The event on 15th and 16th February was a very slick affair with over 1,200 people attending over the 2 days, to watch the latest fashions, both from household names and newer designers, grace the catwalk – even our friends at Doodlar showcased their designs at the show. They hope to have raised around £6,000, which is a fantastic achievement, and we’re very grateful to the organisers for their enthusiasm and support in choosing Unseen.
Donate to Unseen at a click of a button!
We’ve gone all hi-tec and now have a new system where you can set up a direct debit, pay by debit or credit card and sign up for our Room Sponsorship scheme, all via our website. These new features are in addition to the standard ways to donate via PayPal, or setting up an online giving page at Virgin Money Giving or JustGiving. Why not go online and try it out or encourage family and friends to?!
As always, special thanks go to the charitable trusts and organisations who continue to support us: Comic Relief, Network for Social Change, Salvation Army, Sir Halley Stewart Trust, The Tudor Trust and Working Links.

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