A Safeguarding Hub – 10-minute briefing
The public have a key role to play in the fight against human trafficking and modern slavery. Current Home Office estimates put the number of modern slavery victims in the UK at around 13,000. We need to find new ways of increasing public awareness and encouraging them to act and report their concerns. Technology has a big part to play in achieving this objective. Our smartphones allow us to carry around all manner of tools to help us with our everyday lives. We take a look at three apps that are designed to aid the public in the fight against slavery and trafficking – Unseen, The STOP APP, and Safe Car Wash.
Please note: This article is not a critique of these apps. Our piece is purely to highlight what we feel are beneficial tools in combatting modern slavery and to encourage more people to use them. Reviews and criticisms can be left in the relevant app stores.
Launched on 30th July this year, the Unseen app supports the UK Modern Slavery Helpline. It was designed to make it easier for the public to identify and report potential modern slavery incidents. The app was developed by BT for Unseen, the charity that supports survivors of modern slavery and also operates the national helpline.
The app provides a simple guide and advice around recognising the signs of modern slavery. It allows the user to report concerns in confidence by contacting the modern slavery helpline or alternatively submitting an online form.
The ‘Home’ page features:
- a contact page which allows you to either call the Modern Slavery hotline or submit an electronic form. This form asks why you are contacting Unseen and gives the user a number of options including “I might be a victim” or “I may have witnessed examples of modern slavery or human trafficking”. It also allows the user to obtain guidance. Any submission can be anonymous as the contact detail fields are optional.
- a ‘Spot the Signs’ section which provides the user with bullet point indicators of potential modern slavery. There are eight drop downs under headings including: Physical Appearance, Unusual Travel Times and Children
The ‘What is Modern Slavery?’ page contains four fields explaining the types of modern slavery: Sexual Exploitation, Criminal Exploitation, Domestic Servitude and Forced Labour.
The ‘Comply with UK Law’ page features a brief summary of modern slavery law with links to the various legislation in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, including the Modern Slavery Act 2015.
Where can I find it? – The app is available on iPhone from the App Store and Android from Google Play. More information on Unseen and the Unseen app can be found here.
The STOP APP
The ‘STOP APP’ allows the user to report suspicions or incidents of human trafficking safely and securely. It is run by the UK registered charity STOP THE TRAFFIK, whose aim is that the information collected will inform the bigger picture on human trafficking. All information inputted through the app is fed directly into ‘The Centre for Intelligence Led Prevention’. This is a project within the charity that analyses global data on human trafficking and modern slavery, building an intelligence picture by identifying trends and hotspots. The app is very clear that if the user is witnessing criminality there and then, they should report the matter immediately to law enforcement. However, they also say they have systems in a place to contact the relevant authorities if they deem it necessary to do so in the circumstances.
The app allows the user to upload photographs and a video, as well as providing a brief free text summary of what they have witnessed.
The ‘Privacy’ page features:
- when using the app for the first time there is a privacy page that provides information on anonymity, using the app safely and contact with law enforcement. It also encourages the user to hide the app amongst other apps on their phone and only use it when in a secure and safe place. There is a tick box option, not to see this screen again.
The ‘HT Reporting’ pages features:
- the ability to capture three images and 1 video of the incident you wish to report.
- a report box ‘what you observed’, allowing you to describe the incident.
- contact details – name, phone number and email address. There is the option to submit your report anonymously.
The ‘STT – About Us’ page features a summary of who Stop The Traffik are and a link to their website www.stopthetraffik.oorg/uk
The ‘What To Look For’ page is slightly misleading because the page doesn’t tell you what to look for and doesn’t give any indicators of human trafficking, but instead provides a message as to why stopping human trafficking is important.
Where can I find it? – The app is available on iPhone from the App Store and Android from Google Play. More information on Stop the Traffik and The Stop App can be found here.
Safe Car Wash
The app is a product of ‘The Clewer Initiative’, a Church of England enterprise that enables the church to develop strategies detecting modern slavery in communities and helping the victims. This part of the initiative is aimed at car washes across England. It is reported that the app has been successful in alerting the authorities to the plight of over 60 victims of modern slavery.
The app allows the user to complete a brief survey on the working conditions of the car wash that they are using. It asks a series of questions based on the indicators of modern slavery and determines from your answers whether there is a high likelihood that modern slavery offences are being committed. It then encourages you to report your concerns to the Modern Slavery Helpline.
The ‘Reporting Process’ pages are a progressive series of pages using Yes/No questioning covering the following areas:
- location – this page identifies where you are on a map through your GPS. Please note when we ran this test, the GPS placed us at a location approximately 2 miles from where we actually were. Admittedly we were moving but making sure your location is correct is something to watch out for.
- name of the car wash (if it has one).
- clothing – whether the workers have the right clothing.
- living – is there evidence of workers living on site.
- setting – does anyone appear over controlling or intimidating, the body language of potential victims.
- minors – are children involved/present
- fair play –A sliding scale with a default position of £5.50 allows you to record how much it cost to have your car washed. It also allows you to record the number of people cleaning your car.
- payment – how you paid – cash only payments, were you offered a receipt, and did you pay the manager only.
Once completed the app tells you whether there is an indication of modern slavery.
The ‘How My Data Is Used’ page contains information on:
- how your personal information is used and stored. The app asks for you to register your email address and name initially. There is information on how the GPS works and that this needs to be enabled to use the app. It also explains how your details are used, kept private and not shared with third parties.
- information – how the information you provide is used. Data is anonymised and shared with the National Crime Agency (NCA)and the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA). They receive an anonymous version of your data in real time, but only the GPS data is shared, not your personal information.
- updates – ask whether you want to be kept in touch with information on modern slavery.
Please be aware – We got to the last page and found that the information we had put in appeared to be automatically sent, without the facility to press a submit button. Therefore, if you decide to have a look at the pages as we did, without intending to send a report, you may well find it has already made its way to the NCA and GLAA.
Where can I find it? – The app is available on iPhone from the App Store and Android from Google Play. More information on The Clewer Initiative and Safe Car Wash can be found here.
All three apps signpost you to the Modern Slavery Helpline which provides free, confidential advice and is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The number is 08000 121 7000.
Thanks for reading.