18 October, 2023 - By Leyla Williams

Knowing our Rights for Anti-Slavery Day

This year for Anti-Slavery Day (18 October) and Hate Crime Awareness Week, we have worked together with Hammersmith and Fulham Council’s modern slavery and community safety teams, and the Latin American Women’s Rights Service, to organise workshops to enable our community to understand the signs of modern slavery, trafficking, and hate crime, and know their rights.

As a community centre working directly with refugees, migrants and people seeking asylum, many of whom have been affected by trafficking, modern slavery and hate crimes in the past, we are committed to supporting people to understand what trafficking, modern slavery and hate crime looks like and what they can do if they or someone they know becomes a victim.

We’re lucky to have a beautiful space to work in (which we’ve done up ourselves along with our community members), so we could use the space to split up the room and run workshops for a number of groups in different languages. Each group was led by an expert on modern slavery, trafficking and hate crime, and discussed the same content according to their first language. We talked about definitions; what these experiences look like; people’s work and employment rights; how to get support; how to be an active bystander for those experiencing hate crime; and specialist organisations offering support.

As the UK government try and clear their huge backlog of asylum decisions and thousands of people are rapidly being granted refugee status here in West London and across the country, these workshops couldn’t be more important given that many of our community members finally have the right to work and rent (having waited for years in hotels for a decision). We are doing everything we can to ensure people understand their rights in the workplace in order that they don’t get exploited as they move into paid work, and that our community members bring what they have learnt at our centre back to their friends and networks – because knowledge is power.