A key part of our work in the UK is the Victim Navigator Programme – which sees specialised team members embedded in police forces across the UK, helping to bridge the gap between victims of slavery and the criminal justice system.
We asked our new Child Victim Navigator to learn more about their specialist role and hear more about their front line work tackling modern slavery and supporting child victims…
When did you first learn about human trafficking/modern slavery?
Although I’ve been aware of the issue for some years, it was not until I started working in Mental Health organisations that I became aware of how prevalent modern slavery is.
How long have you been a Victim Navigator for and which police force are you working with?
Since November 2020. My role is embedded in Essex Police.
How does your role work alongside local police?
As a Child Victim Navigator, my role is unique. This is because I am working specifically with children, young people and adults who have been exploited through ‘County Lines’. ‘County Lines’ is a relatively new phenomenon that involves drug dealers from larger areas targeting cohorts of drug users from deprived areas, such as coastal towns.
Why is it important for you to keep your professional identity relatively private?
My own safety and the safety of my family is of paramount importance. Those looking to exploit others will often do whatever it takes to ensure they get away with their crimes, and as Navigators, we are unfortunately not exempt from this risk.
Give us a taste of what a typical day looks like being a Victim Navigator?
On a typical day, I usually have lots of conversations with police colleagues, potential victims, partner organisations, and other authorities. By negotiating with local authorities, statutory agencies and housing providers, I get the best possible services in place to support potential victims.
At the same time, I provide victims with a shoulder to lean on, supporting them with any difficulties, keeping them updated with criminal processes and ensuring they are kept in the loop about their case.
I promote the Navigator Programme to police colleagues and external agencies, meeting with potential partners, and offering them guidance. Our team of Navigators also meet to discuss best practice with each other and work together on strategies for progressing cases.
What makes Justice and Care different in the way we approach working with victims?
In my short time of being with Justice and Care, I have felt really welcomed by the whole team. There is a positivity that runs from top to bottom, left to right, with everyone working together and focused on the same end goal. The professional attitude, alongside the empathic nature of the team, makes Justice and Care stand out from other organisations. This is further proven by the relationships we have made with the many police and border forces across the UK.
Why are you passionate about ending modern slavery in the UK?
I believe that we are all entitled to freedom. No one person has dominion over another, and every person on this planet is entitled to a life of their choosing.
The idea that a person has power over another is abhorrent to me, and this is where my passion to end modern slavery stems from.
What do you like to do outside of work?
In my own time, I hang out with my little boy and partner. When we are not in the middle of a pandemic I enjoy seeing my friends and being creative through music and art. In fact, I have a music studio and perform as part of a duo, as well as releasing music for a record label. Some of my other favourite things include eating Turkish Delight, watching sci-fi and Coronation Street!