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Nurses can help fight modern slavery, say NHS leaders

Nurses are being urged to help join in the fight against so-called ‘modern slavery’, in an awareness raising campaign by the NHS
hilary

Nurses are being urged to help join in the fight against so-called modern slavery, in an awareness raising campaign by the NHS.

Compulsory labour, sexual exploitation, human trafficking and forced criminality are all considered examples of modern slavery.

In a new video, NHS England director of nursing Hilary Garratt tells staff they play a vital role in identifying and supporting victims of these crimes.

Having such far-reaching contact with the public puts the NHS in a unique position to make a real difference, says Ms Garratt, who is also deputy chief nursing officer for England.

Modern slavery is a serious crime and it is a violation of human rights. It can have serious health consequences for victims and also impact on public services

Nurses are being urged to help join in the fight against so-called ‘modern slavery’, in an awareness raising campaign by the NHS.


NHS England director of nursing Hilary Garratt estimates 13,000 men,
women and children are being trafficked in the UK. 

Compulsory labour, sexual exploitation, human trafficking and forced criminality are all considered examples of modern slavery.

In a new video, NHS England director of nursing Hilary Garratt tells staff they play a vital role in identifying and supporting victims of these crimes.

‘Having such far-reaching contact with the public puts the NHS in a unique position to make a real difference,’ says Ms Garratt, who is also deputy chief nursing officer for England.

‘Modern slavery is a serious crime and it is a violation of human rights. It can have serious health consequences for victims and also impact on public services too.’

1 in 5 have contact with health service

Ms Garratt says it is estimated that 13,000 men, women and children are trafficked for exploitation in the UK.

Up to 1 in 5 of those victims reported having come into contact with healthcare services during the time they were trafficked. 

‘Even more come into contact with services after they have escaped from exploitation,’ she adds.

‘Modern slavery is everybody’s business and we can all start making a difference today.’

The video goes on to explain that, through being aware of the signs and symptoms of modern slavery, healthcare professionals can help identify victims.

NHS England head of safeguarding Helen Hipkiss says: ‘If you see something, you need to do something about it. You can talk to your line manager or your named nurse of doctor in your organisation. You can also talk to the designated nurse or doctor in your local CCG.’

Ms Hipkiss adds that the most important thing for healthcare staff, if they spot anything unusual, is to ask for advice and take action.

Signs of modern slavery

Potential signs of modern slavery are highlighted in the video and include:

  • Unusual presentation, including fear and anxiety.
  • Looking malnourished.
  • Multiple applications from the same address.
  • Evidence of sex trade.
  • Injuries associated with abuse.
  • Unable to move freely.
  • Showing signs of psychological distress and trauma.
  • Reluctance to seek help.
  • Poor living and working conditions.
  • Isolated with little knowledge of the area.
  • Lack of proof of address.

 


Further information

Read a blog by Hilary Garratt about modern slavery

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