Colchester unites against modern slavery

PUBLISHED: 13 June 2023

On 7 June, 30 community leaders gathered at the University of Essex Business School to launch the Colchester Against Modern Slavery (CAMS) Partnership.

The event, which was organised by the Safer Colchester Partnership, brought together charities, community groups, Colchester City Council, Essex Police, and the University of Essex – all working together to develop an action plan towards a slavery-free community.

Modern slavery is a pressing issue in Essex, with forced criminal exploitation, including county lines, labour exploitation and sexual exploitation being the most common types. Shockingly, there are an estimated 122,000 victims of modern slavery in the UK alone, according to the Global Slavery Index.

The CAMS Partnership is taking a proactive approach to combat this issue and develop resilience against local modern slavery.

Cllr Natalie Sommers, Portfolio Holder for Communities, said: “Modern slavery is a complex and often hidden crime, and it is difficult for any single organisation to tackle it effectively. No single organisation or sector has the resources or expertise to address it alone. That is why a multi-pronged approach is so important. By working together, through the CAMS Partnership, different organisations can share their expertise and resources and develop a more coordinated and effective response to modern slavery in all of its dreadful manifestations.

“Together, we can work towards a slavery-free community and make a difference in the lives of those affected by modern slavery.”

Professor Claudia Giradone, Dean of Essex Business School, said: “We’re delighted to work with partners to address modern slavery and exploitative work practices in Colchester. Essex Business School is committed to championing responsible, ethical and sustainable approaches to business so tackling these issues is incredibly important to our researchers and our students. We hope we can make a difference by bringing people together to find solutions.”

Among the topics discussed, delegates considered ways to raise awareness within the community; training for front-line professionals, volunteers and community organisations; developing referral pathways and safeguarding for victims of modern slavery; increasing community intelligence and data sharing, and disrupting local forms of modern slavery. Moving forward, the partnership will explore how to co-deliver these priorities with relevant partners and agencies.  

If you suspect someone is a victim of modern slavery, it is crucial to act quickly. In an emergency, call 999. For advice, contact the modern slavery helpline on 08000 121 700. To report suspicions, reach out to The Safer Colchester Partnership by email at

Pictured above: Delegates attending the inaugural CAMS Partnership meeting.

Page last reviewed: 13 June 2023


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