East Sussex anti-slavery team wins national recognition
Main article content
Discovery, the multi-agency East Sussex team dedicated to combating modern slavery, have won a national award in recognition of its efforts to raise awareness of the dangers of using loan sharks. The Discovery partnership has been recognised by the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) for their initiatives tackling loan sharks in the county and making communities safer.
The photo shows PC Jess Boulton and PC Mark Charlton from the Discovery Investigation team holding the accreditation certificate. The IMLT investigates and prosecutes illegal money lenders while supporting those who have borrowed money from a loan shark. Discovery have worked in partnership to spread the anti-loan shark warning, with the latest project being a Partner Recognition accreditation from the IMLT. The new accreditation programme recognises and rewards partners that work alongside IMLT to raise awareness of loan sharks, and their impact on local communities, and to create safer spaces for people to live and work. Discovery partners who specialise in the tackling of modern slavery and human trafficking in the East Sussex area have all received training of help spot the signs of illegal money lending, as well as making referral of people in debt bondage which is closely linked to victims of labour exploitation. Detective Sergeant Greg Montier of Sussex Police said: “We’re pleased to have received this award. By working in partnership with the specialist team, this has given the Discovery partnership another way of causing disruption to gangs who use the threat of illegal money lending as a tool to exploit vulnerable people.” Tony Quigley, Head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team, said: “We would like to congratulate Discovery on their partner recognition award and thank them for their outstanding efforts tackling loan sharks. “We are extremely grateful for the support of our partners across the country and rely on them to act as our eyes and ears in communities. By working together, we can stamp out illegal money lending and protect residents from this awful crime. “We continue to encourage people to come forward if they know of or have been a victim of loan sharks. You are not alone and we will support you.”
Discovery in East Sussex brings together local police officers, fire officers, Stop the Traffik Hastings, King's Church and staff from Hastings and Rother Councils, DWP, HMRC, Home Office Immigration, the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority, and local charities, all with the aim of seeing victims of modern slavery rescued and supported, and perpetrators brought to justice. Anyone who believes they might be the victim of a loan shark can contact the Stop Loan Sharks 24-hour confidential helpline on 0300 555 2222, email [email protected] or complete an online report form at www.stoploansharks.co.uk. Live Chat is available on the website from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. For further information on helping combat modern slavery in Sussex see the Sussex Police website