Boost for London’s fight against modern slavery

London’s local authorities will get new help to combat human trafficking after a £123,000 cash injection for a Southwark charity fighting modern slavery.

Human Trafficking Foundation (HTF), which partners with the capital’s councils, received the funding from City Bridge Trust (CBT), the City of London Corporation’s charitable funder.

The money will allow the charity to develop and strengthen its ground-breaking work with London councils, helping them with identifying and supporting victims of slavery. It will mean they can run more awareness events and training days for councils, create an interactive website for slavery champions to promote the most effective measures and interventions, and introduce best practice tools to assist council staff with their work.

London has the most cases of human trafficking identified in the UK. The HTF has been working with councils across the capital to help them set up systems so they can better identify victims and respond more appropriately when they come across survivors. It set up a network of 250 “Slavery Champions” and single points of contacts across local authorities, the NHS and police. The charity has also set up a group, hosted by London Councils, where all the new slavery leads from each council sit and create consistent policy across London.

Dhruv Patel, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s City Bridge Trust Committee, said:

“Over the last six years this charity has done a fantastic job raising the profile of human trafficking both nationally and internationally.

We want to make our capital a safer place for everyone and it’s clear this project can make a huge difference in our capital.

“We are proud to partner with the Human Trafficking Foundation to tackle modern slavery in London. And we will continue to support charities in making the capital a better place in which to live.”

Anthony Steen CBE, Chairman of the Human Trafficking Foundation, said:

“Three years ago almost no local authority in London had anything in place to tackle slavery. While councils had a statutory duty to identify victims, barely 100 victims were found by local authorities across London when we started the project. This is even though the data showed that the vast majority of human trafficking victims – thousands – were in London. The work we are doing now is making a real difference.”

Tamara Barnett, Head of Office at the Human Trafficking Foundation, said:

“Alongside identifying victims of modern slavery, London Boroughs have another crucial statutory role - to house and protect all child victims and all adult victims with safeguarding needs.

“Sadly there were multiple tragedies such as the case of “Drina” - where the council couldn’t find a suitable translator, then interviewed the survivor with her traffickers, and then housed the young woman in a dementia care home because they had no other emergency accommodation. Tragically, she was then returned with her trafficker back to Romania and was not seen again.

“One of our aims over the next two years is to ensure all London social workers recognise that victims of slavery should be recognised for priority need, something that is not currently the case and so leads to some survivors falling back into exploitation.”

The HTF has been extremely successful in raising awareness around human trafficking and moving the issue up the national agenda, resulting in the Modern-Day Slavery Act 2015.

City Bridge Trust is the funding arm of the City of London Corporation’s charity, Bridge House Estates. It is London’s biggest independent grant giver, making grants of £20 million a year to tackle disadvantage across the capital.

The Trust has awarded around 8,000 grants totalling over £400 million since it first began in 1995. It helps achieve the City Corporation’s aim of changing the lives of hundreds of thousands of Londoners.


Media Enquiries

Kristina Drake

Media Officer, City of London Corporation

07710860884 / 020 7332 1125

Notes to editors

About the City of London Corporation:

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally successful UK. 

About City Bridge Trust

City Bridge Trust is the funding arm of Bridge House Estates, a Registered Charity, with its primary aim the maintenance and support of five Thames bridges: Tower Bridge, London Bridge, Southwark, Blackfriars and the Millennium footbridge.

City Bridge Trust was established in 1995 to make use of funds surplus to bridge requirements and provides grants totalling around £20m per year towards charitable activity benefitting Greater London. The City of London Corporation is the sole truste