Talk to raise awareness of human exploitation in the Vale of Glamorgan
WORK to tackle the problem of human exploitation in the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff is being highlighted as part of National Safeguarding Week.
Nicola Evans leads the Addressing Exploitation agenda for the Cardiff Public Service Board in an effort to combat an issue that can be closer to home than many realise.
She delivered a talk to fellow professionals this week, one of a host of events that took place to raise awareness of exploitation.
And though many assume this is more a matter for big cities miles away, examples of exploitation may be all around us.
Ms Evans said: “All modern slavery is human exploitation, but not all human exploitation is slavery.
“I would estimate thousands of people across Cardiff and the Vale are being exploited in some way, some of whom may also be the victims of modern slavery.
“Some people may not be paid the national living wage, others will be sofa surfing and possibly paying for their stay with sexual favours.
“People in domestic service may be paid extremely low wages, but they may consider that a satisfactory situation because it’s better than the one they were in previously.
“I remember a few years ago there was an Indian restaurant that employed a Bulgarian family. They were each working from 10am to 2am for £20 a day.
“When we offered to help them out of this situation they weren’t interested because it was a step up compared to what came before.”
To mark National Safeguarding Week, Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff Councils have organised a string of events, this year centred around exploitation.
Topics for other talks taking place include Safeguarding in Sport and the Realities of gangs and County Lines.
“When it comes to modern slavery, individuals are often subject to violence, coercion and threats,” said Ms Evans.
“At the rugby on Saturday, I wondered how many of the street sellers were getting paid what they should, how many of those women selling roses and the people working in kitchens were being paid fairly?
“Wherever there is somebody that can make a profit, there is a risk of exploitation.
“A lot of this goes unreported, but where you’ve got a big agricultural profile like in the Vale, you will have jobs that are cash in hand and that is when people can get exploited.
“When you have people working in a cheap carwash, you need to ask ‘how is it so cheap’?
“A lot of people know that people in the carwash are being exploited, but they don’t want to pay more than £5 to have their car washed.
“Homelessness and drug misuse is a problem across the country and exploitation is always a feature in such circumstances.”
National safeguarding Week aims to raise awareness of the different forms that abuse can take, and emphasise that everyone has a role to play in spotting the signs of that abuse.