Anti-trafficking road shows, the brainchild of retired Clitheroe policeman, Sion Hall, will move across Lancashire over the next 12 months.
Starting on Saturday, the first road show featured a double decker “Freedom Bus” which arrived at Blackburn Catherdral at 10am from where it travelled around Blackburn and Darwen with volunteers on board giving out leaflets en route.
In the town centre itself there was the “Journey to Freedom”, a 15 minute long and deeply moving audio visual walk-through experienced by nearly 100 people during the day.
There were stalls to highlight the issue, a Soroptimsts march through town, and visuals on the giant screen in the centre of town. The weekend ended at the cathedral on Sunday with a trafficking-themed Evensong at 4pm.
Sion created an anti-slavery unit in East Lancashire Division of Lancashire Constabulary in 2015 when he became increasingly concerned about the issue of human trafficking and modern day slavery in Lancashire. As the Detective Chief Inspector in charge of human trafficking, Sion led a team that continues to do ground breaking work in fighting human trafficking across East Lancashire. His determination and dedication led to the conviction of many traffickers and the rescue of many victims, success that is widely acclaimed across the UK.
Passionate in his fight against human trafficking Sion took on a new role after retirement. He now leads the Pan Lancashire Anti-Slavery Partnership which aims to educate and raise awareness amongst statutory bodies, non-governmental organisations and the general public.
“Human trafficking is a crime hidden in plain sight,” said Sion. “If people were alert to the signs and reported what they saw we could put an end this horrendous crime. The road shows will play a key part in achieving that and we hope to see many people taking notice throughout Lancashire over the coming months.”