A volunteer group working with Cleveland Police has just been given £3,875 to help the victims of trafficking and modern slavery.
Funding from Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) will help to provide emergency supplies for victims of trafficking and modern slavery.
Victims frequently have to leave accommodation at short notice and without any possessions.
Emergency supply packs provide immediate comfort and help to victims. They provide food, clothing, cash and toiletries to meet their immediate needs.
They may even contain a mobile phone to help victims stay in contact with police during ongoing investigations.
Soroptimist International Great Britain and Northern Ireland (SIGBI) Stockton on Tees branch works closely with the Cleveland Police Complex Exploitation Team. This is in order to assess each victim’s immediate needs.
This enables members to make up packs of supplies to meet individual needs.
Demand for the packs has been demonstrated by the volume of victims, with whom Cleveland Police work each year.
In the year from July 2022 to 2023, Cleveland Police’s Complex Exploitation Team worked with 215 victims of modern slavery and trafficking. They were referred to them through the National Referral Mechanism.
Initially, packs were supplied to women and girls, who were victims of trafficking.
However, due to demand, packs are now also requested for men and children – as well as victims of other crimes.
Stockton SIGBI Club has been providing emergency bags for victims of trafficking and slavery since 2017.
Since then, they have provided 109 “new start” holdalls, 94 mobile phones, 30 toilet bags and 15 children’s activity packs as well as Emergency food and sanitary supplies
Julie Everson, Communications and Publicity Officer for SIGBI’s Stockton-on-Tees Club, said: “The packs are really useful – not just in a practical sense but because they make the victims feel as if some-one really cares about them.”
A deeper insight
Cleveland PCC Steve Turner said: “Stockton Soroptimists Club has been doing a brilliant job of helping some of the most vulnerable members of society for the past six-plus years.
“It’s been great to get a deeper insight into just what they do and who they help.”
Cleveland Police Detective Inspector Colin Helyer said: “The Complex Exploitation Team (CET) have been working in partnership with Soroptimists for a number of years and this is developed year by year.
“The range of kit provided by Soroptimists is of a high quality and is of huge support to those vulnerable and exploited individuals in need.
“The equipment can be a huge step forward in a victim’s journey and shows that someone does actually care, and that those victims will be supported following what is a traumatic time for them.”
Stockton on Tees Soroptimists Club has been active for 65 years. Members work on projects primarily, but not limited to, supporting women and children.
This is the fourth round of funding, which the club has received from Cleveland OPCC for the supply packs.