- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Category: Feature
Anti-slavery campaigner Joyce Watson today slammed her local crime tsar for claiming he ‘had never heard of’ Wales’ Anti-Slavery Co-ordinator.
Dyfed Powys Crime Commissioner Christopher Salmon was reported on BBC Wales as having denied knowledge of the anti-slavery role, which Mrs Watson had campaigned for.
Joyce Watson AM (Mid and West Wales) chairs the Welsh Assembly’s anti-trafficking group. She asked:
“Did Mr Salmon really say he was unaware of this vital post, when it’s his job to be aware?
“Welsh ports including Fishguard do not have the resources of Dover and could be seen by people traffickers as easy targets.
“The Commissioner also should be alert to the risk of trafficking, after an international crime ring was run from Pembrokeshire.”
Thomas Carroll, his partner and daughter, were jailed for controlling prostitution across Ireland from Castlemartin in 2010.
Mrs Watson continued: “I met the Commissioner when he was first appointed a year ago, and ran through a range of my concerns.
“I also note that he does not mention this work in the priorities he has set out. Does that mean he does not consider slavery to be a major concern, because it is hard to identify? Most research shows that the cases reported are the tip of the iceberg, as the victims of this crime are usually too scared to come forward.
“I would like him to actively work with partners including the Anti-Slavery Co-ordinator to root out modern slavery wherever it is found across the region.”
Mrs Watson set up the Assembly Cross Party Group on Human Trafficking in Wales in 2010, after researching the subject and publishing Knowing No Boundaries. Her main conclusion was that an expert should be appointed to work with agencies across Wales, to develop and strengthen links between bodies working in this area.
The Welsh Government agreed, and Wales led the UK’s fight against human trafficking in 2011, when it became the first country in the UK to make this appointment.
Mrs Watson added:
“One of the major findings of my research four years ago was the patchy knowledge and varying levels of concern about trafficking across Welsh bodies. Thankfully much of that has improved, but Mr Salmon’s comments seem to indicate a worrying complacency about this difficult issue.
“Cruelty and exploitation know no boundaries, and we already know that international criminals work wherever they can make money out of human suffering, whether in cities, or towns, or villages.”
Stephen Chapman, a former deputy director of the UK Border Agency and ex-Metropolitan Police officer, was the second person appointed to the role of Anti Human Trafficking Co-ordinator in 2012 – the title of which changed to Anti Slavery Co-ordinator last year.
For more information about Joyce Watson’s work contact her office on 02920 898972 / www.joycewatson.co.uk