Nottingham and Nottinghamshire call on other UK cities to become slavery-free this Anti-Slavery day

Friday, 18 October 2019

More than one thousand frontline staff from across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire have been trained to spot signs of modern slavery since a Slavery-Free Community pledge  was signed by leaders in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire in 2017.

The pledge committed organisations to working to make the City and the County slavery-free.

Pledges have since been signed in Birmingham and in Sandwell, and now, on Anti-Slavery Day 2019, city and county leaders are calling on more villages, towns, and cities across the UK to join them and commit to making their communities slavery-free.

The Nottingham & Nottinghamshire Modern Slavery Partnership (NNMSP) brings together a wide range of members to raise awareness about modern slavery in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, supporting victims and ensuring the strongest possible penalties for the perpetrators of this heinous crime.

Member organisations include the Rights Lab at the University of Nottingham, Nottingham City Council and Nottinghamshire County Council, local businesses, churches, charities and the Police.

Since the pledge was signed in 2017, members of the NNMSP have:

  • Trained more than 1,000 frontline staff in public services and the voluntary sector;
  • Carried out numerous awareness-raising and information sessions with diverse community groups;
  • Undertaken targeted business engagement, for instance with hoteliers;
  • Developed materials for celebrating and highlighting ‘Freedom Sunday’, together with a new group to take forward joint faith action; and
  • Created new ways to support survivors, over the long term.
Partnership leaders at pledge signing in 2017.

Phil Northall from the Rights Lab and the NNMSP is using Anti-Slavery Day to call on other communities across the UK to sign the pledge. He said:  “I acknowledge that we are still on the journey to becoming a slavery-free city, but we know that we need to work with survivors, partners, and communities to make a society where slavery can’t take root or flourish.  We hope other villages, towns, and cities across the UK will join us in making a pledge to be sustainably slavery-free as we move towards the goal of eradicating modern slavery”.

In 2018, Nottingham & Nottinghamshire referred 53 people to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM), the Government’s system of support for survivors of modern slavery. But this only just scratches the surface due to the difficulty of identifying potential victims and in bringing them to safety.

Churches across Nottingham are coming together on Freedom Sunday, October 20th, and Faith Action Nottingham have produced a video to be shown in all churches, which can be viewed here.

The Rt Revd Paul Williams, Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham, said, “it is deeply shocking that in the 21st century millions of people around the world are still pressed into the horrors of slavery, even here on our own doorstep in Nottinghamshire. The knowledge that churches and faith communities have of their local neighbourhoods means that if we come into contact with victims it is vital that we are able to recognise the signs and know what to do about it – this may be the only chance a vulnerable individual has of being rescued. We wholeheartedly join with our local partners to work towards making our city, county and region free of Modern Slavery”.

Nottinghamshire Police have a dedicated Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking team based at Force Headquarters which works closely with partners to identify and safeguard vulnerable persons at risk of Modern Slavery. DI Paul Lefford of Nottinghamshire Police said, “As a force we do a significant amount of internal and external training to raise awareness of this issue within our communities. We urge the public to report any concerns they may have so we can continue to work successfully with our partners to identify and safeguard any person who is vulnerable to, or at risk of being exploited within Nottinghamshire”.

Nottinghamshire Police & Crime Commissioner, Paddy Tipping, said, “it is a tragedy that today, in our local neighbourhoods, some people are treated as nothing more than a commodity and exploited, manipulated and controlled by others, purely to make money. In Nottingham & Nottinghamshire, our ambition is to rid local communities of slavery and exploitation. The police, and a wide range of other partners, are focused on raising awareness about modern slavery, supporting victims and ensuring that the very harshest of penalties are brought against those who commit these crimes”.

The Survivor Alliance, a global non-profit organisation whose Executive Director Minh Dang is based in Nottingham, unites and empowers survivors of modern slavery and human trafficking. This evening at their free event, ‘What it’s really like? Survivors of slavery speak out’ survivors will speaking out on their own terms about the reality of surviving modern slavery.

The Slavery-Free Communities pledge is available here.

Story credits

More information from is available from the Rights Lab at the University of Nottingham on 0115 828 3072 or email

The Nottingham & Nottinghamshire Modern Slavery Partnership (NNMSP) is a multi-agency partnership of statutory and non-statutory organisations who work across Nottingham & Nottinghamshire to raise awareness of modern slavery, and to co-ordinate activity between partners working to identify and support survivors, and pursue and prosecute perpetrators of this crime. It is chaired by John Robinson, Chief Executive of Newark & Sherwood District Council, and the secretariat is provided by the Rights Lab at the University of Nottingham. The best way to report any concerns you may have that slavery is taking place in your community is via the free, independent, and confidential Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700 – though if you suspect that someone is at immediate risk of harm you should always dial 999. For more information about NNMSP, please contact Phil Northall at the Rights Lab on 0115 828 3072 or

The Rights Lab at University of Nottingham is the largest group of modern slavery scholars in the world, enabling investment in anti-slavery research that benefits Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, and the wider world. In addition to world-leading research on modern slavery, the Rights Lab has spearheaded a slavery-free campus campaign, which reached more than 20,000 Nottingham students, staff and members of the public, and are now developing follow-on recommendations for both Nottingham and other universities to consider becoming sustainably slavery-free. Work includes partnerships with key community organisations such as Nottingham Citizens and the Rotary to share the message more widely.


Charlotte Anscombe - Media Relations Manager - Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Phone: 0115 748 4417

Notes to editors:

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