Human trafficking and child sex exploitation issues raised at Bournemouth conference

Bournemouth Echo: CONFERENCE: Martyn Underhill with Major Anne Read and Mandy Goodenough CONFERENCE: Martyn Underhill with Major Anne Read and Mandy Goodenough

HUMAN trafficking and child sex exploitation in Dorset were issues brought to the forefront of a conference in Bournemouth attended by more than 130 professionals.

Organised by BCHA and the Purple Teardrop Campaign, the first conference of its kind in the town raised awareness of human trafficking within the county and beyond.

Dorset’s Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill emphasised the need for awareness of this crime to be raised in Dorset.

He said: “Human trafficking is a modern day form of slavery. It is also a crime. It happens in all cities, most towns and many rural areas, here in Dorset and across the country. It debases individuals, tears communities apart and fuels violence and organised crime.

“Trafficked persons can be men and women, adults or children. Child sex exploitation is just one element of human trafficking. Prostitution and the slavery of adults exists in Dorset too,” he said.

The Salvation Army’s Anti-Trafficking Response Co-ordinator Major Anne Read helped co-ordinate the day and she was supported from organisations including Barnardos, Unseen UK, BCHA, Migrant Help and The Medaille Trust.

Mandy Goodenough, Head of Children, Young People and Families at BCHA said: “The conference has proved a great success in getting human trafficking on the agenda in Dorset.

“It was great to see so many frontline professionals in attendance learning about the part they can play in helping us to identify and stop this awful crime.

“We need to be aware that human trafficking is happening throughout the UK and within our neighbourhood.

“The more people that are aware of human trafficking, the more chance we have to end the trafficking of hundreds of men, women and children every year.”

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