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BASW: Social workers need knowledge of the law and community to tackle human slavery

BASW has endorsed a major report that lifts the lid on the lack of multi-agency understanding about how to tackle human slavery and called on social workers to “play their part” to stop this abuse.

The report, It Happens Here, by the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), criticises the Westminster Government for an "inadequate" response and calls for a radical overhaul of the system, including more rigorous training of professionals including the police, social workers and immigration officers. The professional education is needed, the authors claim, to tackle "widespread ignorance" about the scale and nature of human trafficking.
Commenting on the report's publication, which proposes a range of measures including the appointment of an Anti-Slavery Commissioner, modelled on the existing Children's Commissioner, and for greater recognition that the problem is primarily about crime rather than immigration control, BASW interim chief executive Bridget Robb said: “When social workers are doing their job to protect children, they not only have to understand the particular needs of that child but also the context in which they are living. Social workers need to use all their therapeutic skills, but also knowledge of the law, together with an understanding of the community in which the child is living.
“This report illustrates how essential it is for social workers to have this community-based knowledge, and how dangerous it is for them to become fixated on individual casework. 
“Child care social work teams have to work with others in the community so that children are made safe by everyone working together to challenge trafficking and slavery. It is horrendous that this crime still occurs, and we must play our part to stop this abuse of children.”