Special episode – Slavery at home
March 3, 2023. Series 7. Episode 59
In this special episode, which is brought to you in partnership with the Centre for Social Justice, we’ll be shining a light on the crisis of modern slavery, and in particular the increasing prevalence of Cuckooing – a terrible new trend that you might have seen featured in the TV show Happy Valley. Cuckooing is a deeply damaging and frankly cruel practice used by criminals to take over someone’s home, someone’s life, as a base or as a cover for their own illegal activities.
Led by the former Conservative Party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith, one of my guests today, the CSJ’s vision is for those living in the poorest and most disadvantaged communities across Britain to be given every opportunity to flourish and reach their full potential. The CSJ, which Iain founded 20 years ago, was one of the first to call for greater action around modern slavery and is now focussing its efforts on Cuckooing.
Also joining us is Louise Gleich, a senior researcher at the CSJ whose brilliant work is centred around the Modern Slavery agenda. And finally we’ll also be joined by Declan, a former police detective turned victim, Navigator for Justice and Care. Declan is operating day in, day out on the Modern Slavery frontline. This may feel like a crisis that is very unlikely to touch your life, but the reality is that it’s very likely to be happening right now, in a property not that far from you.
Declan works closely with Modern Slavery victims, as such we won’t be revealing his surname or his full identity. For further information, advice and guidance on the contents of today’s episode – call the Modern Slavery helpline on 0800 0121 700.
- Modern Slavery
- Human Trafficking & Migration
- Policing priorities
Iain: You put a ball on the ground and I will watch it for two hours. I still play five-a-side football, that’s one of the great stressbusters, is to go out and kick a ball around with Labour and Conservative MPs just charging up and down a five-a-side pitch.
Louise: Green space. I’m a country girl at heart so if I can, to get out of the city. But even just on a weekend or an evening to go to the park and find some trees and some green and to walk, just get out of the concrete.
Declan: Get out on my bike. Get out there for an hour or so, clear the mind. I do try and use it to get into work and home again. It just gives you that thinking time, reflect on what you’ve done, think about the good bits, maybe the not-so-good bits.
CSJ report – Slavery at home – https://www.centreforsocialjustice.org.uk/library/slavery-at-home
The Centre for Social Justice – https://www.centreforsocialjustice.org.uk/about
Justice and Care – https://justiceandcare.org/
Iain’s Twitter – https://twitter.com/MPIainDS
Louise’s Twitter – https://twitter.com/GleichLouise
Stream/Buy ‘Allies’ by Some Velvet Morning: https://ampl.ink/qp6bm
Some Velvet Morning Website: www.somevelvetmorning.co.uk
Your Daily Practice: Sleep by Myndstream: https://open.spotify.com/track/5OX9XgJufFz9g63o2Dv2i5?si=b2f9397c92084682
Host – Andy Coulson
CWC production team: Louise Difford, Ed Isaacs and Jane Sankey
With special thanks to Global
Full episode transcript:
Andy Coulson: Hello, I’m Andy Coulson, and welcome back to Crisis What Crisis, the podcast which aims to guide you towards a more resilient approach to life and whatever it might throw at you.
In this special bonus episode, which is brought to you in partnership with the Centre for Social Justice, we’ll be shining a light on a crisis that you might not be aware of. A very real, very serious crisis taking place right now, here in the UK. The crisis of modern slavery, and in particular the increasing prevalence of Cuckooing, a deeply, deeply damaging and frankly cruel practice used by criminals to take over someone’s home, someone’s life, as a base or as a cover for their own illegal activities. Usually involving, but not always involving, drugs.
Now, if you’re a fan of Happy Valley, and I’m not sure who isn’t, then you will have seen the act of Cuckooing and the impact it can have played out rather dramatically in series 3.
As the UK’s most effective think-tank, the CSJ’s vision is for those living in the poorest and most disadvantaged communities across Britain to be given every opportunity to flourish and reach their full potential. Led by the former Conservative Party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith, one of my guests today, the CSJ which he founded 20 years ago was one of the first to call for greater action around modern slavery, and is now focussing its efforts on Cuckooing.
And it’s doing so through the Joint Modern Slavery Unit, an initiative set up with the charity Justice and Care, whose core mission is to keep this issue at the top of the political agenda. No mean feat, given the political landscape right now.
I’m delighted to say that I’m also joined by Louise Gleich, a senior researcher at the CSJ whose brilliant work is centred around the Modern Slavery agenda.
And finally we’ll also be joined by Declan, a former police detective turned victim, Navigator for Justice and Care. Declan is operating day in, day out on the Modern Slavery frontline. And given that his work brings him so closely to victims we won’t be revealing his surname or his full identity.
So, in this episode you can expect a conversation about Cuckooing: what it is, how it happens, why it happens, and the deep, human damage it causes. And of course, what can we do about it? This may feel like a crisis that is very unlikely to touch your life, but the truth is that it’s very likely to be happening right now, hidden behind closed doors of course, in a property not that far from you.
Welcome, all of you, to Crisis What Crisis. It’s great to be with you today.
So Iain, if I can start with you. The CSJ has been focused on Modern Slavery for, as I said, more than ten years I think. You were among the first to highlight it. Just give us a sense of why that is, why it’s such a priority for the CSJ and such a priority for you.
Iain Duncan Smith: [0:03:00] Well, the CSJ was the one that brought forward the paper on Modern Day Slavery, which I was able to discuss with the then Home Secretary, Theresa May, and persuade her in government to adopt the recommendations in it, which led to the first Act which actually defined the concept of Modern Slavery.
It made a very clear case that it was different from any other kind of entry into the UK insofar as a large chunk of what goes on in Modern Slavery actually happens within the UK and isn’t just about a migration issue. And the trouble is, everyone tends to sort of think it’s just another migration point. It’s not. It’s actually already going on, and the point about Cuckooing is a very good example of what’s happening inside the UK where people are being used in this particular guise, as we call Modern Slaves, within the system, as well as others fleeing persecution externally.
So it’s hugely infiltrated by the criminal gangs who drive most of this, and so that was what led us to look at this originally and what led us to be the first country in the world to introduce such legislation that dealt with this.
It needs updating. The debate right now desperately needs to reshape it. We’re in a clash, really, with the whole demands and debates around migration as it were, but this is not- it doesn’t want to get swept up in that, because this is a very peculiar offence. And therefore there’s lots that we’ve already recommended to do, I’m in constant discussions with the Home Office to try and get that done.
But it was the CSJ that started this for us. I don’t say others weren’t on it, they were. But we managed to get the right shift into the government to get them to start the legislation, and it was brought in by Theresa May.
Andy Coulson: [0:04:44] Do you remember the moment when you felt, “Hang on, this is- this something that is real, this is something that is important, this is something that we must now focus our efforts on?” Because you know, the CSJ has this incredible radar across society. You work with brilliant charities who are on the front line. You are able to spot the things that matter, that is the skill of the CSJ. And then to draw on the people in the front line and their expertise to try and bring policy change.
But do you remember the moment on this? Was there a particular story? Was there a particular moment that made you feel, “I’ve got to prioritise this?”
Iain Duncan Smith: [0:05:21] Interestingly enough, we were on this quite a long time ago. So if I backtrack, not long after I set up the Centre for Social Justice back in 2003/4, around about 2005 we persuaded William Hague to make a speech about Modern Slavery to the Centre for Social Justice, and a lot of the- because we work all the time with small community groups and charities and we worked with them on this. And we came forward with- really we helped him make the speech, and we got him to make the speech which helped get the media’s attention onto it.
Andy Coulson: [0:05:58] Highlight the issue, yes.
Iain Duncan Smith: [0:06:00] So that was the moment, in the lead to that, it was one of the early things that we were on from the beginning. And then he made the speech, then there was a lull for a period until we had produced the second paper, which is the one I was referring to earlier on.
But that started the process of getting people to wake up, I think, to the fact that the idea that we conquered slavery years ago is simply untrue. First of all there’s lots of countries still practice slavery, but secondly also the idea that there is slavery happening here in the UK, it completely perplexes anybody when you say that to them.
And then you start talking about, you know, the brothels, you talk about the people who are held as servants inside houses and they have their passports taken off them, they can’t go anywhere, they have no money, they’re treated by people who come in from abroad, they’re brought in with them and they’re locked in, they don’t have a way of getting out.
And then all the other abuses where people get brought over let’s say to- when I was running DWP, to make claims on Social Security, and then they get their identities taken off them at that point, they’re put into brothels or whatever it happens to be, chain gangs. All these sorts of things are part of it, whilst families at home are threatened and bullied, and they are warned that their families will be dealt with if they don’t do exactly what they are supposed to do.
All of these things began to become much more apparent that it was happening under our noses, everywhere.
As you said earlier on in your introduction, you know, a house near you, a brothel near you that you didn’t even know existed. You know, a family that has moved in, taken over a house and has people working for them who do not see the light of day, they can’t do anything. Happening near you? Absolutely, and particularly in London, but also other cities all over the country.
So all of that became the great sort of turning point when we decided we had to do something about it.
We weren’t alone, by the way. Others like Justice and Care etc were all involved in this, it’s just that trying to make political was the big element.
Andy Coulson: [0:07:57] Yes, and bringing the change.
Louise, can I ask you, you work so deeply at the policy front line of this. Just for the listener who may not have spent a lot of time thinking or reading about Modern Slavery, give us the definition, give us the kind of context for Modern Slavery more broadly before we- before we move onto Cuckooing.
Louise Gleich: [0:08:16] Modern Slavery is sort of an umbrella term. Technically legally in this country we have two criminal offences that come underneath that umbrella term of Modern Slavery and are both in the Modern Slavery Act.
One is Human Trafficking, and that is- we have our own definition in this country and there are some international definitions as well. Broadly speaking, Human Trafficking is about the movement of somebody, the recruitment of them and that journey that they make for the purpose of exploitation, using some kind of either deception or abuse or manipulation or threats in order to get them to make that journey and to come into exploitation.
And the other is more specifically around forced labour and servitude and slavery, which doesn’t involve that sort of sense of movement and so on.
But at its heart it’s really about exploitation of one person by somebody else for the personal gain of that other person. Often criminal gangs, organised crime groups, but not necessarily; it can be individuals as well. Usually for financial gain, but not always.
Andy Coulson: [0:09:17] Yes. The nature of it makes it quite difficult from a data perspective to get absolute certainty.
Louise Gleich: [0:09:24] Exactly.
Andy Coulson: [0:09:25] But what do we know? What are we certain about in terms of the estimates around Modern Slavery currently? How many victims are there? How many cases are there?
Louise Gleich: [0:09:35] So, we have the official statistics which- the last full year for statistics that we have is 2021, we’ll be expecting the 2022 full year soon. Those are people referred into the system we have, which is run by the Home Office, for identifying and counting and deciding if someone is a victim.
There were a bit over 2,000 people referred in 2021. But in 2020 there were around 10,000 people referred, and we did a piece of work using some police data to look at actually what might the true figures be, and using that police data we did some complicated calculations and came up with an estimate of about 100,000 victims in 2020. So in 2020 our estimate was about ten times that of the people going in to the Home Office and the official statistics.
So we’re looking at at least 100,000.
Andy Coulson: [0:10:26] Okay. But regardless of statistics, what we’re absolutely clear on is that this is a part of the fabric now of the UK. You know, in a dangerous and pernicious way it is part of the fabric of our society. And widespread geographically across the country?
Louise Gleich: [0:10:45] Exactly, across the country. The data shows as we see, every police force I think in 2021 had a referral, at least one but usually more than that, sent to them for investigation, implying that the crime is thought that have happened there in their patch.
We also see it happening in rural areas as well as in cities. Sometimes people think it’s just an urban issue but we see people exploited in agriculture, we see people exploited in drug production in rural areas, in fishing, even off the coast. So this can happen anywhere.
Andy Coulson: [0:11:16] Okay. Declan, if we can bring you in at this point, let’s move on to Cuckooing as a specific. Could you give us the definition, really, of Cuckooing? Let’s explain to the listener what it is and how it fits into the sort of wider context of Modern Slavery as we’ve just been discussing.
Declan: [0:11:36] Yes. Well, there’s a slight problem in that, and that’s perhaps why we’re all here, to see if we can sort of get some legislation wrapped around it. Because that has been a frustration certainly for the police and for ourselves and for the people that have suffered from this type of offence, Cuckooing.
So the reason we call it Cuckooing is because of obviously the bird that takes over other birds’ nests to raise its own, sometimes throwing out, you know, chicks that are in that nest already. So it’s quite a ruthless bird.
And with the human side of Cuckooing, if you like, is when offenders move into somebody else’s house, take over that house and do what they want with it basically, at will.
So that can involve anything from sort of, you know, dealing drugs from that address, bagging up drugs from that address, any sort of criminal activity. Moving in to using that address as a brothel, for sexual exploitation, and it’s just a really horrible type of offence that really does strike at the person who is suffering from that intimidation.
The reason why Cuckooing is a successful model if you like for the criminals is because they strike such fear into people. And there are so many offenders in these generally gangs that operate, that the victim will never sort of ever feel quite safe. They’ve completely knocked their confidence, it is such a horrible, horrible offence.
The whole issue of Modern Slavery, that’s what really worries me and that’s what really upsets me, that it really is offences against a person. And we’ve got to remember that. It’s easy- we talk about Cuckooing, we talk about people taking over addresses and dealing drugs and, you know, bagging up drugs. I think what you’ve got to is sort of put yourself into that- into that sort of- put that idea in your mind. Think about going home tonight, think about your front room, think about your bedrooms, think about your house. And think about complete strangers just coming in and intimidating you, you know, with-
Andy Coulson: [0:13:51] It’s a taking-over of a life, isn’t it?
Declan: [0:13:54] Absolutely yes, without any sort of consideration or any- you know, there’s just no regard for that person, and it’s just so brutal. You know, these people create fear with knives, with violence, with rapes, with sexual offences, and they’ve got to make an example sometimes of the poor victim on the housing estate, in the terraced row, in the block of flats, wherever it is. And they will make that example of somebody just to make sure that the whole estate then can be silenced, in effect. And it’s just a horrible way that then infiltrates and spreads across that community. So a really devastating type of offence.
Andy Coulson: [0:14:41] Declan, you are a former police detective, you’ve moved into this work. Just explain the day-to-day job. Explain what working life is for you right now.
Declan: [0:14:51] Yes, so working with Justice and Care, the charity, who I’ve been with now for three years, it’s completely victim-focused and completely there to help and support the person who has been at the centre of this crime.
So it really is to try and get involved with that person, help and support them, and pass on some of my experience from being a detective, from being a police officer, with regards to the judicial process and what might be expected. Giving them a bit of a route map, helping them- trying to plug the holes, keep them on board to hopefully get to that end result of an offender or offenders being prosecuted and hopefully then jailed for those offences.
So a day-to-day sort of- an example of me coming into the office. I’m embedded within the police force where I work and it’s a matter of me coming into the office and sitting in the Modern Slavery Coordination Unit and being aware of what’s going on in the force which relates to Modern Slavery, Human Trafficking, any type of exploitation.
I get to look at the data that the force collects, I get to speak with officers, I get referrals from within the police, and then as soon as I get somebody that is happy to let Justice and Care come and give them some form of help and support, then that is how I then find my clients and that’s how I get my referrals.
Andy Coulson: [0:16:23] Declan, can I ask you? You were in the police force- I’m going to say this indelicately. You were in the police force, or you must have joined the police force some time ago. The police attitude towards Modern Slavery feels like it’s kind of getting into the right place now. That must have been- that’s been a process though, right? And I suspect this is true of the work that the CSJ has been doing as well. It’s been a very- I imagine a pretty difficult process of persuasion to get even the word ‘slavery’ kind of, you know, accepted, used, adopted by the police.
Am I right? And am I right also in saying that you have now gone over the tipping point, it is now getting into the right place? Or is there still resistance?
Declan: [0:17:12] Well, I wouldn’t say there’s resistance. What I would say is that in 2005 I worked for- in a department which was a Sexual Crime Unit. And we noticed that around about that time, due to our role within Europe, if you like, the UK, we noticed that there were a number of Czech Republic females being brought to the UK and being exploited.
So I would have to say that certainly in my experience in this force that we’ve always been quite good at dealing with that type of offence. And from early on we seemed to be quite aware of it. What we do have here is that it continually changes, so the offences- and that’s why I say that there’s a little bit of frustration with the actual definitions for the offences of Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking and whether they actually fit this offence, if you like, of Cuckooing.
But it think we’ve always been sort of like- we’ve been aware of what’s going on. We’ve been- we’ve always taken a massive pride, or certainly in the departments that I’ve worked with, taken a massive pride in dealing with these cases and doing a really professional job on them.
Andy Coulson: [0:18:25] Including the use of the word ‘slavery’.
Declan: [0:18:29] Absolutely, yes. Well, there’s sort of Human Trafficking, Modern Slavery, and you know what? That’s perhaps where I really sort of understood what devastation this type of offence brings to people. Looking at some of those- back in 2005, 2006, looking at some of those young Czech Republic females that had been brought over, and what they were asked to do, was just absolutely horrific.
So I think we sort of had an inclination. I know things have moved on and I know there’s been different legislation etc, but we sort of saw that. And we saw different waves of people being brought over, because of the European Union, Czech Republic females, Romanian females, Hungarian, and just different sort of waves of victims being brought to the UK, really.
So to be fair, I would have to say that we’re still committed but it continues to change. The offences- Cuckooing if you like is sort of almost a new- a new wave of exploitation, and we’ve just got to continually react to that and hopefully get on top of it and stop it before it actually happens.
Andy Coulson: [0:19:35] Good, we’ll get into the policy side of it in a moment.
We’re going to play a clip now from a gentleman called James, who is a real victim of Cuckooing and very typical, I think, his story, of the kind of work that Declan, you are dealing with on a day-to-day basis.
Clip: [0:19:49] It was because of my bereavement from my mum, I was taken advantage of, they was feeding me free drugs. Because I was so wasted from what they was giving me, I didn’t even see the change happening until it was too late, when people started moving in.
And then when the prostitution started, that is when- when the prostitution started, that was when I got locked in my room 24/7. It’s just- it was horrible, basically. I wasn’t allowed out. I had to do my business in my room. I was frightened to death to even move. I was scared of what would happen to me.
And when the police officer knocked that door, and they took the place apart, and I said to the officer, word for word I said to him, “You’ve made my life, you have.” That officer saved my life, basically.
Andy Coulson: [0:20:47] Declan, that’s pretty harrowing stuff. And it describes pretty clearly the sort of taking over of a life. It’s kidnap in a form, isn’t it?
Tell us a little bit more about James and about those circumstances.
Declan: [0:21:03] What James is talking about there is just sort of replicated across the country far and wide. I’ve had a number of clients who have suffered from this type of offence and it’s very, very similar in that you know, people coming into the address when people are vulnerable, at a bit of a low point, whether that’s through a bereavement like James or whether that’s through alcohol or drug misuse. You know, there’s a number of different factors, it’s just generally if somebody is vulnerable these criminals will eat out an opportunity to get in there and you know, and further their own needs, basically, their own you know, criminality.
So I get exactly what James is saying there, and just as an example of a client that I had on my books, last year exactly the same thing happened. People came to the door, she was a drug user so the hook for her was to give her some cut-price drugs, some free drugs, and sort of get their foot in the door that way, if you like.
From there it moved on whereby they would just turn up whenever they liked, banging on the door, gaining entry, and visibly, openly show this lady that they had knives, they had meat cleavers, and basically would just take over the whole flat. They would be there for eight or nine hours at a- each time they went they would be there for a long, long time and they sort of reduced her to going into her own bedroom and they took over the rest of the flat.
So, very similar circumstances, and it seems to be that that is what happens in, you know, up and down the country in different places.
Andy Coulson: [0:22:52] This point, Louise, this point about- it’s not just the preying on someone who is vulnerable, it’s not just kind of the taking over of a life, taking over a property as a sort of base for criminality. This idea that’s it’s also a kind of signal, it almost becomes a signal that gets spread across the local community that, you know, “We could do this to you, too.”
That’s a terrifying prospect, that this isn’t just taking over an individual’s life, or an individual or a family or a particular property, it’s about a community in a way.
Louise Gleich: [0:23:27] Exactly, and in some ways that’s part of the problem. It’s happening behind closed doors and the people that are seeing it are often too frightened to report it because of the possible repercussions for themselves.
Andy Coulson: [0:23:38] Yes. Iain, what did you think of that clip, listening to it?
Iain Duncan Smith: [0:23:41] Well, it was typical. Sad but typical, because- and in a funny sort of way, something that most of the public won’t have heard about, and certainly won’t know is happening. So when you talk about Modern Slavery, one of the problems is they think immediately in terms of 19th Century slavery and you know, what went on there. And in fact it’s much more subtle now than it ever was then.
They’re infiltrated in, and so more publicity about the idea that there are houses being taken over, people’s lives are being wrecked and used to do this, is a really important feature. So the more we can get the mainstream media to talk about this issue, the better it would be. Because people then would look for the signs of the houses next door where curtains are closed peculiarly at certain times of the day, where very-
I get a lot as a constituency MP, you will get complaints about- in a block of flats where somebody, a young woman or whatever, suddenly seems to have a lot of callers late in the evening. People start to detect drugs, and very strange people coming and going. Quite often when this was done earlier they would have just assumed it was just her being a problem, but it may be that she herself was owned and her place was being used.
So the idea that we should do more on this is important, because the public are part of the identification of this and they don’t know quite what they’re looking for. But they would know much better if the mainstream media did more on this and said, you know, “Watch out. There may be a flat or a house near you that you know something peculiar is going on. Report it to the police.” Because that’s the only way we’ll sort it out and save it.
Andy Coulson: [0:25:20] So to that end, I mentioned Happy Valley, I think it was also in Line of Duty as a plot-line as well. That’s good news, right? If it’s starting to seep into popular culture in that way, can only be a good thing.
Louise Gleich: [0:25:32] Absolutely. I had a conversation with a friend just yesterday evening actually, saying I was going to be coming to talk to you about this today. And he said, “Cuckooing? What’s that?” And I explained it to him, and I think- and this is a person who is you know, well read, and understands generally what is going on in the world.
And so the more we can actually help people to understand what- what Modern Slavery looks like, what Cuckooing looks like, I think when you talk about it in words it’s not as powerful as when you see something played out in a drama, with stories of people like James telling their story. That’s when you can really understand actually what it might look like next door to me.
Andy Coulson: [0:26:09] Yes. And what is the call to action, Declan, for those people who might suspect that a neighbour or someone in their community is a victim? What do you want them to do?
Declan: [0:26:19] So yes, I think it’s just about- like Sir Iain mentioned there, I think it’s about being aware and you know, keeping your eyes open, keeping a look-out for your neighbours, friends, family. And certainly those that, you know, like Sir Iain said, they’re getting the callers to their flat, people are buzzing on the communal buttons on flats every two minutes to get up there. They seem to be having parties all of the time, because that’s the other thing, they use these flats then just as they- at their will.
But yes, the call to action is there’s a lot of different things you can do. So you can speak with that person, you can see if they will tell you anything. They may not, they may be in complete fear, but yes you can-
Andy Coulson: [0:26:59] So knock on the door?
Declan: [0:27:01] Well, just in general- if that’s a neighbour and you get a chance to speak with that neighbour you can develop a conversation. We don’t talk to each other anymore, do we, in a lot of cases, so it’s about developing that conversation. And a little bit like James said there, and I’ve had it with clients who have said, you know, “Thank God you’ve turned up. Thank God the police have arrived. Thank God they’ve come in and- because I just needed somebody to tell, I needed to let somebody know what was going on.”
It’s about sometimes, they won’t tell you maybe on that first occasion, but about building up trust and building up a relationship. But there are lots of different things you can do, there are lots of people that you can call. We mentioned the Modern Slavery Helpline earlier today, that’s a number which I can give you that- that people can-
Andy Coulson: [0:27:44] Yes, we’ll be giving that number at the end of this podcast.
Declan: [0:27:47] You know, there’s Crimestoppers. If you want to ring up anonymously you can pass information to Crimestoppers, be aware that that information will be passed then to the relevant police department, police area. That can help they police, they may already have a number of different pieces of intelligence about that particular address. There may have been other neighbours that have called in, they may have some intelligence on who the suspects are or the offenders are.
You can get in touch with your local housing association. I know in some areas they’re on the front foot, they’re trying to get out there as soon as they get any sort of indication that something might be amiss. Because the other thing that we’ve got to remember of course is that if somebody does get into trouble, and if it does progress and this crime sort of is complete, then to get people moved to a different address, to be safe, it just takes on a life of its own and it becomes- it’s massive.
So really, the earlier the better so that this horrific type of criminality can be stamped out. But a number of different things. If you’ve got police officers or local community support officers in your area, people can speak to lots of different people, professionals that then can sort of go through the right channels to get this stopped.
Andy Coulson: [0:29:06] Got it. And also to understand that this isn’t just about, you know, helping an individual. This is actually, or could and quite possibly will, impact your community. Right, it’s actually- it’s actually going to draw you in, if you’re not careful, and there’s a broader responsibility there for people.
And let’s talk about the sort of politics of this Iain, and the policy piece. The CSJ, not for the first time, has produced a sort of definitive paper on this issue of Cuckooing. Another brilliant piece of work. But that alone obviously won’t be enough, that’s just the beginning of the policy piece.
Before we get into the specifics Louise of the- of the sort of policy ask and the journey that hopefully- that you hope this might take, generally this is going to be quite a difficult topic to get front of mind in Westminster right now. You know, the starting gun on the election has been fired, it’s some time away but it’s going to be coming around pretty quick, almost certainly next year. The political landscape is complicated, let’s put it that way. And bluntly, and you’ll correct me if you think I’m wrong here, I can’t see that there are very many votes in this issue. But maybe you feel differently?
Iain Duncan Smith: [0:30:19] No, I think you’re right. I don’t think that immediately that makes everybody sit up and go, “Ah, well I’m going to support a party that’s doing this.” I think in people’s minds, once they understand it they get it. They get that there needs to be something done about it.
So the first thing is, you know, politics isn’t always about who’s going to vote for you. Politics should be about doing the right thing, first and foremost.
Andy Coulson: [0:30:43] That’s what it should be.
Iain Duncan Smith: [0:30:44] Because I think that when you do the right thing and there’s a problem, then ultimately what happens is, you know, things balance out in the end. If you do something that people think is uncharacteristic but turns out to be the right thing to do, then it’s important.
So first of all, you know, we were elected to do the right thing. Not always to do the ‘right’ thing or the left thing, but the ‘right’ in genuine human terms. And so that’s what the whole slavery issue is about. It does get terribly swept up at the moment with you know, the boats and the channel crossing and all the other stuff that the Home Office wants to do, but it’s not really.
And sort of separating it out, and for example the Cuckooing stuff is a very good example of why it’s hugely a domestic issue. It’s not about people trying to get in and abusing the system, it’s about a domestic issue which we don’t notice but is going on.
Andy Coulson: [0:31:35] Also a significant number of the victims are British nationals, right?
Iain Duncan Smith: [0:31:38] Yes, completely. That’s the whole point about this, is-
Andy Coulson: [0:31:40] A significant percentage.
Iain Duncan Smith: [0:31:40] Slavery doesn’t- that’s why, get rid of the 19th Century idea of slavery. Why we call it Modern Slavery is because it’s the enslavement of people who are already here as much as it is about people coming in and across the borders.
So in politics it’s quite difficult. Recently we’ve tried to get a change to the length of time somebody is given after they’ve got through what’s called the National Referral Mechanism. So they’ve gone through all their tests and checks and they get into the National Referral Mechanism, through that and then out the other side. Which means that it’s agreed that they are victims of slavery. Often people coming in, this is the route for them.
The reason why we ask for an extension of time, to sort of twelve months, where they’re stable, where they’re not going to be checked and anything else that’s going on, is because in that twelve months if they are more stable they will give evidence against the traffickers. And the bit that sometimes goes missing with the Home Office is that the police are desperate to have good witnesses, then they can attack the traffickers. But if they’re frightened about what will happen to them if they give evidence, they won’t give the evidence. And without the evidence you won’t shut down the criminals that are running these homes, taking over the homes, doing all this stuff.
So trying to get that lined up in people’s heads is quite difficult at the moment in politics. I don’t proclaim to be able to resolve that, but I do keep saying to the Home Office, “Separate this out from your minds. These are victims, these are not people themselves trying to abuse the system. They’re here because they are abused. Now we need to figure out, how do we get that abuse used in evidence against them?” So all of this stuff is about trying to get a slightly different mindset about how we deal with it.
And what would be very helpful, I’ll be quite frank with you having done this sort of stuff for a long time, is the more the public understands this, the more they will be on side with changes and separate out in their minds from the idea of people trying to cross the channel for illegal purposes or whatever. Many of whom by the way are abused anyway.
But the point that really is the case, this is about people’s lives being taken from them, being used by others for profit and being tossed away at the end of their use. And I don’t think anybody in their right mind who lives in this country would approve of any of that. And it’s just a matter of trying to find a way to shut it down.
Andy Coulson: [0:33:54] But it is also a bridge to damage in their own community, more broadly.
Iain Duncan Smith: [0:33:58] Completely. I can tell you, if you live in a- I’ve had this as a constituency MP, if you are in a block of flats where one of those flats is now used in this way, and I’ve had this before, what happens is it reduces the whole block of flats to a sense of fear. Older people there do not know what to do, they get visits from big people, big guys that walk up to them, bang on their door and say, “If we see you one more time trying to contact the police or tell anybody, we’ll be here again and this time it’s going to be nasty for you.”
So the threats persist. A lot of them are older people who, you know, don’t know how to cope with this. Too often sometimes the police hear this and think there’s not much they can do about it, so the powers to be able to intervene are really important.
So the threat is ever-present and people fear it. And I’ve had people say, “I won’t give evidence, I won’t say anything because I know they’ll come after me.” Now, this is the UK, the land of law and order, and the reality that people are scared, that’s just the beginning of it. So we need to get the public to understand that, and that we need to shut this down.
Andy Coulson: [0:34:59] Louise, your paper recommends very clearly that Cuckooing should now be categorised as a crime, as a criminal act. Just give me a sense of why that hasn’t happened already frankly, and why it is that you feel so strongly about that particular point.
Louise Gleich: [0:35:12] Yes, this is something actually pointed out to us by the police and by our navigator colleagues who found that when they were identifying people they would bring charges together and actually the CPS were telling them, “We can’t charge this under the Modern Slavery Act, it doesn’t fit the definition,” for technical reasons I won’t bore you with. But that was the message they were getting back.
And so what we think needs to happen is to have Cuckooing as a specific offence. Because the offences they are charging with tend to be around drugs or around organised crime, which of course is nothing to do with the victim. It doesn’t recognise the exploitation, the trauma, the fear that they’ve been put through. And there are other things that- and support and so on, that aren’t able to be given to them in the same way as if they are recognised as a Modern Slavery victim.
So we think it should be very clear, it should be a specific crime of taking over someone’s home for the use of criminal purposes, and we should make sure that that person is recognised as a Modern Slavery victim and they get all the attendant support. And that will help the police I think to see people as victims, not think that they are also perpetrators involved in these criminal gangs, if they’re not, and will be able to recognise the harm that’s been done.
Andy Coulson: [0:36:21] Declan, anything you would add to that?
Declan: [0:36:25] No, I would just say that that’s absolutely right. And I think the beauty of the work that we are doing here has been sort of set off by listening to police officers on the ground who a couple of years ago sort of said, you know, “This just doesn’t seem right. We’re trying to get charges through which show that offences have taken place against a person.”
One example I would give you is that we had one person who had been made to conceal drugs on his person. That happens in a- you know, they talk about people having to swallow drugs or people having to insert drugs into their bodies, which is clearly horrid, and we ended up with a job, certainly in this area, where the offender was charged with possession of controlled drugs and no sort of mention really, if you like, about those other horrific things.
So it’s really important that we do- we don’t just try and make an offence fit the circumstances, because that’s not fair on the person who has taken the time out and you know, come to us and told us about the horrific details of that offence.
Andy Coulson: [0:37:31] Louise, let’s talk about the policy side of this. Give us a sort of status update if you like on where we are currently in terms of Modern Slavery and the Modern Slavery Act, the possibility of a new Modern Slavery Act, and then let’s talk about Cuckooing more specifically.
Louise Gleich: [0:37:47] As Iain said, we had the Modern Slavery Act in 2015. It was ground-breaking, it was new, it brought some of the offences together, it did loads of other brilliant things. But that was 2015. Things have moved on. As Declan has described, Modern Slavery evolves as a crime. The criminals get clever, they work out new ways of getting around- getting around the laws that we have. New ways unfortunately of exploiting people.
So we’re really in a time where we need a refresh on the Modern Slavery Act. We need to make sure that it’s fit for purpose, we need to make sure that we’re doing everything that we can on all sorts of different fronts. And the government announced with the Queen’s Speech in May of last year that they would bring forward a new Modern Slavery Bill. There was also going to be a Modern Slavery Strategy to be updated: the last one was 2014, so even before- before the last Act that we had.
But unfortunately so far we haven’t had the Strategy and we haven’t had a clear indication of whether the new Bill is going to come. We’ve obviously had some political changes at the Home Office and at the top, and so we don’t know if the Bill is going to come.
But we need one because there are some things, as Iain has said and as we’ve put out our paper, that we need to do right now to tackle it.
Andy Coulson: [0:38:59] So this is an example of a front line crisis that everyone agrees is a crisis, that is now frankly thrown into the mix of what seems to be a never-ending political crisis in the UK. Changes of Prime Ministers, the constant changes of even just, you know, personnel around the Cabinet table. It makes it very difficult, right?
That’s one of the- we often see these political changes in the sort of bigger context and think, “Well, it’s just about party politics,” or, “It’s just about you know, the next general election.” One of the costs of that kind of chaos is issues like this. It just kind of fades away, or falls off the end of the table.
Iain Duncan Smith: [0:39:39] Or worse.
Andy Coulson: [0:39:40] Is that you concern?
Iain Duncan Smith: [0:39:41] Or worse. It gets attached as a problem, on other areas. And that’s I think the more dangerous thing, is a) yes, it just slips off the table a bit, or it gets blamed. So what we’ve had is a row about you know, the whole idea of migration, which is a big issue, not to take it away, it’s a big public issue about the boats, partly because it’s incredibly dangerous for people to be crossing the channel like that because many lose their lives. But it gets tied up with that.
So I’ve had ministers say to me, “What you don’t understand is that people are abusing the system to get in here, so we need to tighten up on it.” So the debate immediately starts shifting across to scapegoating different parts of legislation, and my worry is the debate has cantered a little bit around why they’re not going to or haven’t done a new Bill is because they’re- they think that they’ve already gone too far. So that becomes a debate because it’s got tied up with the idea of too many people coming in, coming illegally, claiming asylum. It’s not, actually. The truth is it’s a very- it’s a very, very minor part of all of that, if at all significant in any way.
And so the problem is trying to persuade politicians under pressure, running departments, I know, I ran a department, you focus, you’ve got your things to do. And somebody comes and says, “This area is a real dangerous area, and their answer is, “Well you know.” Also, the way this is framed is it’s allowing people to claim this and come in and do it.
So the fight is, at the moment I think, to try and keep the concept of Modern Slavery still there in the public eye and in the politicians’ eyes as something that they should want to- to crack down on more, and not get swept up in the other issues.
Andy Coulson: [0:41:24] Yes.
Iain Duncan Smith: [0:41:25] And that’s very difficult in politics but we’re trying to do that. And then that would lead to a new Bill, a new Act, a greater definition which would then sweep up things like Cuckooing and things which are not there. So that’s the challenge I’m afraid, and it’s frustrating at times I have to tell you, to be in the middle of that. But you know, I always- as an optimist I think we’ll get the right- if people do the right thing, they will see the right evidence and act accordingly. But it’s often difficult.
Which is why this whole idea of reminding people that Cuckooing is going on and what is happening is damaging people’s lives around them, getting people to understand that, then starts to get a push from outside to say, “We must do something about this, and we must do something about it fast.” And then governments often react.
Andy Coulson: [0:42:11] Can you tell us then about the practicalities of this? So when you see a Prime Minister talking, as he has done, and is doing almost on a daily basis now about small boats, he has prioritised that as an objective, how do you as an organisation then, as the CSJ, how do you try to insert yourself into that- into that conversation, which as you’ve just explained could ultimately be, you know, a barrier to explaining about a problem like Cuckooing? How does it work, Iain? How do you insert yourself into that debate and try and make the difference?
Iain Duncan Smith: [0:42:42] Ah, the insides of politics. I go and see them. So this is- what you try and do is you try and argue the logic of what is a problem here, but sweeps up another bit and to separate them. So I just referred earlier on, as Louise will recall, we’ve had endless conversations about this, about the National Referral Mechanism, the process you go through to prove that you are a victim of Modern Slavery, and then you come out the other end having passed all the tests, and you get six months. And we pushed to get twelve months for the reason that it actually- the by-product is more prosecutions. The other by-product is safer, more stable people that can get over their trauma of being used and abused, as Declan has been talking about.
So that process is critical. Now that’s just one element of this. So trying to persuade the government that twelve months is better for them than six months, when everybody else is screaming at them and the Minister is saying, “No, no,” and the Home Office officials by the way are saying, “No, no, no, no, we can’t give them more time, we should be giving them less time,” because that’s a pull-factor. And then sitting down and explaining to them the numbers here are not relevant to the bigger problem they’ve got with asylum.
And if it’s a pull-factor it’s an enormously complex pull-factor which you have to have pretty good knowledge and understanding of having to go through all this stuff just to get the extra six months. Now, the pull-factor is to get here, that has nothing to do with Modern Slavery. Modern Slavery tests and checks etc are part of separating them out. But the key point is trying to establish that narrow fact.
So you know, you lobby endlessly inside, you talk to ministers, you try and get them to understand this. You go on Zoom calls, I can’t remember, I’ve lost count of the numbers that Louise and I have been on Zoom calls with ministers sitting- and behind them you can see these ranks of officials shaking their heads every time you say something, and the ministers getting a note back and then putting up some completely superfluous point back to you. And you say, “No, we’ve already been through this. This is what it is.” All the time the officials are saying, “No, no, don’t do anything like this.” Scared stiff that because I was a leader of a party at some stage I might actually have some influence on these junior ministers who are just- their first glorious job in the pantheon of ambition. And so you need to get to the Secretary of State.
If it were the Secretary of State it may be a little more stable, be able to see through this and persuade them. And to be fair to Priti, she bought the principled argument but we didn’t get it to be legislation: we got the twelve months to be an advisory point but we haven’t actually seen that either. So you move forward a few paces and you go back sometimes a lot more.
But I just think the more people know about this, the more people understand this, the more people see that this is going on next door to them, then there’s a chance that they will be asking for change. And once the public start asking for change, then politicians start reacting.
Andy Coulson: [0:45:33] So as ever, and we talk about this a lot on the pod, as ever this crisis will end up being resolved or not by a bunch of people I a room, right? It will be a human process. So in that room- the door to that room, Iain, right now, you would describe- how would you describe the door to that room? Is it ajar? Are you pushing hard against? Is the door half open? What are your levels- I know you’re a natural optimist, but what are your levels of positivity?
Iain Duncan Smith: [0:45:56] Well I think when you get- my colleagues- it’s not a case of opposition and government, government is the key to this. Opposition will always take an easier line on this one because it’s a good way to exacerbate a problem with the government. But with government, and it can be left and right. I mean, when Labour was in power we had the same issues and problems about resistance once the Home Office takes over the Minister. So there’s cultural change is required.
So that means you do need to be able to get to individuals to be able to speak to them, to explain stuff to them, sit down with them privately and just talk without officials in the room about what the problem is, arm them with a bit of intelligence and knowledge.
The door is always slightly open, and that’s the way it works. You know, politics is a process of persuasion, it’s a process of pushing people in a direction that once they understand it they become champions.
Getting Theresa May, who was renowned at the time for you know, her big statements about tough on crime, tough on criminals, tough on migration at that time, you know, to get her to be the sponsor of this Bill-
Andy Coulson: [0:47:06] Was significant.
Iain Duncan Smith: [0:47:06] You would have said originally that that wouldn’t have happened. But once she sat down, read the paper, looked at it, talked to people, she got the problem and then became a champion of it. Which she likes to continue to be, which is great.
So my point is that the old rule, I think, in politics, is there’s no end to what you can achieve as long as you’re prepared to let somebody else take the credit for it.
Andy Coulson: [0:47:28] Yes.
Louise Gleich: [0:47:30] I think it’s about helping people disentangle, as Iain’s been saying, the current situation that we have with the small boats and migration from what we’re talking about when we talk about Modern Slavery. And I think that’s the challenge that we’re having to face at the moment. But I think if we can help people disentangle those two and understand stories of people like James- and I do think you have to be optimistic. I do think that’s something that politicians care about. I think we just have to help them understand the issue.
Andy Coulson: [0:47:57] Your paper suggests that national register for Modern Slavery offenders is a good idea. Just explain the thinking behind that for me, Louise?
Louise Gleich: [0:48:07] Yes, so Modern Slavery is one of those crimes where people move around quite a lot. We know of criminals before they are- before they are apprehended, who have been operating in different parts of the country. We’ve heard from Declan, and we have victim navigators working across the country with different police forces. So often, because they talk to each other they are often able to spot things and similarities that the police haven’t done because the police aren’t brilliant at talking to each other and sharing information. They don’t always have the same databases and access to all the same information.
And so the idea at the moment is we have these civil orders called STPOs that can be put on someone who is convicted of a slavery offence. But they don’t have to be, they’re not mandatory. And one of the things you can have, if you have one of those orders, is the requirement to report to police your name, your address and so on.
And what we would like to see is to see that to become formalised, to become mandatory, so effectively a register of all Modern Slavery offenders. So then they would just have to notify themselves to the police, but if they were then to move to another area they would have to register.
So it’s all about preventing the exploitation of other people, and making sure that we know where people are. Unfortunately at the moment we don’t have the prosecution and conviction rates that we’d like to see for Modern Slavery, so we need to increase that as well as being able to put these orders.
But it’s all about protection and stopping other people being victimised. So if we’re able to keep a little bit more control on the activity of people once they’ve been convicted of these offences, and know where they are, and require them to report to police, then hopefully that becomes a deterrent from them getting involved in further exploitation.
Andy Coulson: [0:49:46] Got it. Declan, last word from the front line of this crisis, if I may. Just try- we heard from James obviously, but give us a- from your experience, just try and paint a little bit more of a picture for us in terms of your experience. Tell us about one conversation with a victim that you have had, that for you reinforces the importance obviously of the work that you’re doing but more broadly the importance of this issue.
Is there one moment, really, from your working experience, that sticks in your mind in relation to Cuckooing?
Declan: [0:50:22] Certainly, yes. Well from the example I’ve already sort of spoken about, a lady who was living alone and she had her life completely taken over. And also, just to mention with regards to that particular investigation, she wasn’t the only one. There were a number of people in the area who also suffered at the hands of this gang. So that just then reinforced the sort of community silence because they were sort of in a number of different houses and flats etc.
Andy Coulson: [0:50:57] This is a lady who is in her sixties, seventies? How old was she?
Declan: [0:51:02] No, thirty-something. Drug issues, and that was the hook that then got her involved with this particular gang. So the next thing was she was given discounted drugs etc, and they sort of- the gang, two main offenders who then just would come to the flat at all times of day and night, force entry, banging on doors, and she just was that frightened that she felt she had to let them in.
She saw weapons, they made threats towards her, they involve other people, they would just invite other people into the flat. So you’ve got this really horrendous taking over of her life, her home. As I mentioned earlier, you know, her living room, her bathroom, kitchen, strangers in there doing exactly as they pleased.
With that lady, she eventually reported to the police. They had sort of got wind of what might have been going on, they made a visit and she actually told them what was going on. So she was rescued. We were called on that same day when she was brought down to the police station, so got involved with that lady.
And she took- she took the whole journey. So she was involved in the investigation, she gave the police an account, which must be quite a horrific thing to do as well, to relive all of that, you know, that scenario, that incident that’s gone on for months and months and months. She had to get involved with identification of offenders, and then of course at the end of all that you’re looking at a court case. And in a lot of cases people have to got to court and they have to give evidence.
Andy Coulson: [0:52:44] Another trauma.
Declan: [0:52:46] Absolutely. So two years later we’ve still not got rid of this problem, it’s still at the forefront of this lady’s mind, she’s still living this horrific experience. And we then ask her to come to court and give evidence. But to be fair to that lady, she did that, she was really strong, and she went in there and she told the truth. That led to convictions of a number of offenders.
I remember having the conversation with her and just saying that, you know, that the work between Justice and Care and the police to help and support that lady through that whole journey, and I’m only giving you half a tale there, to be quite honest with you, because to give you the full details would take quite a while. But to be there for her and to continually sort of tell her what she’s doing is right, for me it just makes my job so worthwhile that you’ve actually helped somebody, you’ve made a tiny difference to somebody’s life and they’ve come out the other end from that horrific, horrible- you know, it’s such a horrific abuse, it’s such a horrific offence, to have done that for somebody is just amazing.
Andy Coulson: [0:53:51] Okay. Iain, let’s just end with a very direct call to action. You’ve set it out for the media: this needs to be discussed more, this needs to be a bigger story, this needs to have more media attention and focus.
But to the decision makers, to the policy makers. You’re through that door, what are you saying, in a nutshell?
Iain Duncan Smith: [0:54:14] Well, you’ve got to take it seriously. Don’t confuse it with other issues. It’s an issue in its own right. Slavery goes on in this form in the UK every day in communities up and down the country. And actually, you know, the funny thing is the public needs also to understand that they are involved in the slave chain themselves without realising it, every day. The domestic stuff that we see that’s next door, and then to the products that they buy.
I mean, slavery is resurgent across the world. Let’s take the fact that the shirts that we wear here. Anything that comes from China, 40% will have come from Xingjang, the biggest cotton producers in the world, all done by slave labour. Half the stuff that comes out of China in the goods, using slave labour. We every day buy goods made by slaves in other countries but we turn a blind eye to it because they are cheaper. And that, you try and get a company to declare properly, as was in the Act, their full supply chain, they don’t. They fudge it because they think that everyone is going to go away because this is goods, this is business, this is sales.
So whether it’s the things we wear or the house next door to us, I have been banging on about this, to be fair I’m sanctioned by the Chinese anyway for doing it, you know, because the use of genocide and slave labour exists abroad, we see the products in our hands here and we also see British citizens being used as slaves.
This is rife around the world and we just have to wake up to the fact that everything we do and touch, and everything that we see around us, could easily have been contaminated by slave labour. And we should just be very careful. This issue domestically is huge, and government needs to tackle it and stop confusing it with other issues that are just about migration. This is everything we do and wear.
Andy Coulson: [0:55:59] Superb. Sir Iain, Louise, Declan, thank you for joining us today. I’m going to ask you, as we ask every guest who comes on Crisis What Crisis, to give us your crisis cures. So there are three of you here so you’re getting off lightly, it’s just one each. But you’re all in your own ways, it strikes me, you know, immersed in crisis. Declan, you’re at the front line of this particular issue now, you are confronting crisis I suspect on an almost daily basis. Louise, you are fully immersed in the policy work around crisis. You are constantly, I imagine, thinking about stuff that, you know, complicated of course but also pretty stressful. And Iain obviously, over the years in politics you’ve seen a fair few crises along the way.
I’m going to start with you. How do you kind of divert yourself away from the difficult stuff? Where do you find comfort in crisis?
Iain Duncan Smith: [0:56:58] That’s a very difficult question, because most of my life is lived in the political sphere. Going home I guess, talking to my family, doing something that’s different. But you know, every day the telephone call goes, I’m on something else. I’m just about to pick up something for example on China and the man responsible for the genocide in China and the slave labour, who may well be coming over to the UK, can you believe it? All this sort of stuff just suddenly erupts inside of you.
So my general sense is you need to just cope with all of it, you know, being plugged back into family is the number one thing that I think keeps you sane.
Andy Coulson: [0:57:33] You also have Tottenham Hotspur football club, which like me is a crisis cure of sorts.
Iain Duncan Smith: [0:57:36] Well, when it comes to- yes I do, I’m a season ticket holder.
Well, it’s not really because there’s always a crisis at Tottenham. So you know, frustration reigns. But no, I love all sport. You put a ball on the ground and I will watch it for two hours. Cricket, football, netball, you know, you name it, if there’s a competition going on I’ll watch. I still play five-a-side football, that’s one of the great stress-busters, is to go out and kick a ball around with Labour and Conservative MPs just charging up and down a five-a-side pitch.
So all of that sort of stuff is how you burn off your frustrations and everything else. But at the end of the day, the problem about politics is it just exists every day. And it will be the same, by the way, I don’t want to step in for Declan, but exactly the same. Declan, your whole life gets taken over by this stuff. But you have to find breaks, but it’s what you exist for.
Andy Coulson: [0:58:26] Louise.
Louise Gleich: [0:58:27] Yes, for me it would be to get out into green spaces. I’m a country girl at heart so if I can, to get out of the city. But even just on a weekend or an evening to go to the park and find some trees and some green and to walk and to yes, just get out of the concrete.
Andy Coulson: [0:58:43] Very good. Declan.
Declan: [0:58:45] I think for me it would to get on my old pedal cycle, get out there for an hour or so, clear the mind. I do try and use it to get into work and home again. It just gives you that thinking time, reflect on what you’ve done, think about the good bits, maybe the not so good bits. And who else you can get help from. Because that’s the other thing with this- with this type of work, in the last three years I’ve been amazed by just how many different people, departments, agencies there are out there that are willing to get involved, that are willing to help. And it’s brilliant that we’re getting it on the TV and people are becoming aware of it, because it will get sorted hopefully.
So yes, that’s me. Get out on me bike.
Andy Coulson: [0:59:30] Superb. Iain, Louise, Declan, thanks so much for joining us today. I hope this conversation contributes in some small way to the challenge that you’ve set out, and we’ll be providing all the relevant contact details, phone numbers, for those who fear that a neighbour or perhaps even someone closer is involved in or fallen victim to Cuckooing. We’ll provide all the relevant details in and around the podcast website.
Thanks very much for joining us.
Louise Gleich: [0:59:58] Thank you.
Iain Duncan Smith: [0:59:56] Pleasure.
Andy Coulson: [1:00:00] My thanks to Sir Iain Duncan Smith, Louise Gleich and Declan for this incredibly important conversation today. I’m sure like me you are moved to want to do something, so here is how you can get involved.
If you think you’ve seen signs of Cuckooing and have concerns for members of the community, maybe members of your family, then you can call the Modern Slavery hotline on 0800 0121700. If you’d like to find out more, just visit www.CentreForSocialJustice.org.uk We will also be providing a link to the CSJ’s Modern Slavery At Home paper on Crisis What Crisis.com.
Thanks very much for listening.