This week Freedom United joined the launch of the U.K.’s BME Anti-Slavery Network’s (BASNET) launch of the Race, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) action plan for the anti-modern slavery sector to tackle racism and discrimination in the space.
Established by child protection charity, AFRUCA, BASNET’s inaugural conference last summer co-hosted by the Human Trafficking Foundation brought together organizations and stakeholders from across the anti-trafficking sector to reflect on how biases and discrimination appear in the sectors’ work and encouraged action to address inequalities.
One year on from this important discussion, BASNET has launched an action plan for the sector, turning conversations into actionable recommendations and indicators to measure progress for the government, organizations, academics and stakeholders working against trafficking and modern slavery.
Racial imbalances throughout the sector are present from the identification of survivors – a large portion of whom are from outside the U.K. or from an ethnic minority background – through to organizational structures that are overwhelmingly white.
There is a dire need for the anti-modern slavery sector to represent the communities it seeks to support in order to establish meaningful and sustainable prevention and protection mechanisms.
The Voice reports:
It identifies that modern slavery research is insufficiently informed by affected people, including those from ethnic minority backgrounds. Other poignant issues raised include the proliferation of county lines child trafficking in Black communities and the criminalisation of victims from ethnic minority backgrounds.
The lack of racial diversity in some anti-trafficking charities was identified as a problem alongside the government’s “Hostile Environment” policy which discriminates and impacts negatively on victims and survivors of modern slavery from ethnic minority backgrounds.
Debbie Ariyo OBE, Founder and Chair of BASNET said: ‘At the core of this Action Plan is commitment to do better for victims and survivors, for children and adults and for affected communities through a racially inclusive approach. This Action Plan is to propel the needed changes within the UK Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking sector.”
Freedom United welcomes the publication of BASNET’s report and will review the recommendations to play our role in tackling racism, inequality and discrimination in the anti-modern slavery sector.