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2016 was a pretty busy year. In January Alec Love and I completed the Adapted SIPPS for CSE training in South London (visit the SIPPS and Testimonials page for more detail). Consultancy work has included 4 cases of Modern Slavery and I am now well underway with my doctoral research into the Forced Criminal Exploitation of Children (CEC).  
2017 looks to be just as busy. I continue to undertake ABE Interviews for the Family Courts. This looks to be a growing area of work as the Courts strive to give children and young people the opportunity to have their evidence heard in family proceedings. This increase in requirement for ABE interviews means a corresponding increase in Re:W Assessments. In recognition of this we are developing new training for Social Workers to equip them to undertake both of these tasks within the context of family law. 
 
I am very pleased to have been invited to present a paper at the Centre for the Study of Modern Slavery's First International Conference on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking , 8-10 February. I am also looking forward to attending the 36th Cumberland Lodge Police conference in April. This conference, which has been running every year since the early 1980s, attracts senior figures involved in policing, law and criminology, and delegates including academics, representatives of NGOs, and representatives from civic society. The 2017 conference aims to raise awareness about modern slavery to key stakeholders in policing, in order to deliver on the kinds of recommendations made in the first annual report of the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner and The Modern Slavery Act Review by Caroline Haughey. 
 
The Prime Minister has asserted this year her commitment to tackling Modern Slavery and has established the Moden Slavery Task Force. This is extremely encouraging to all those who are working to prevent and investigate the crimes that constitute modern slavery, prosecute those responsible for it and support and protect those who have been harmed by it. Sometimes, the enormity of the task can seem overwhelming but we are making progress, general awareness is improving and our knowledge, skills and experience in combating these horrendous abuses is growing all the time. I think real progress will continue during 2017. 
 
So on that optimistic note I offer the best wishes of the season and bid you a very happy and peaceful New Year. 
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