Shoppers in Priory Meadow were intrigued by the presence of a giant ‘gift box’ in the central area of the shopping centre.
Designed to look attractive on the outside, but inside telling stories of modern-day slavery, the box was brought to Hastings by King’s Church on behalf of Sussex Police and the Safer Hastings Partnership to raise awareness of the issue.
Throughout the day (Saturday, October 24), police officers and members of King’s Church’s anti-human trafficking group talked to members of the public about how to spot the signs of human trafficking (also known as modern slavery).
They also gave out information cards about what to look out for.
Anna Wilson, who heads up Stop the Traffik Hastings on behalf of King’s Church, said: “This was a great opportunity for us to highlight an issue that many people are surprised still happens today.
“We had lots of conversations with people who said, ‘Surely it’s not happening here?’ We were able to tell them that it is and that there are many organisations locally – including Sussex Police, the Safer Hastings Partnership, AmicusHorizon, the WiSE Project, East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service and King’s Church – working together as part of Hastings Against Human Trafficking to not only raise awareness of the issue, but also to tackle it.”
The Global Slavery Index estimates there are 35.8 million men, women and children trapped in slavery across the world today.
According to government records, the most prominent form of modern slavery in the UK is trafficking of foreigners and UK citizens for commercial sexual exploitation and forced labour, affecting both adults and children.
Modern slavery also includes domestic servitude, forced benefit fraud and organ removal.
To find out more about Hastings Against Human Trafficking, email firstname.lastname@example.org
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