Rough sleepers 'incredibly vulnerable' to modern slavery, Leeds charity warns

A HOMELESSNESS charity working in Leeds has warned that rough sleepers are 'incredibly vulnerable' to modern-day slavery.

It comes as West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson prepares to host a conference examining the links between the two issues.

Gordon Laing, the general manager of Leeds-based charity Simon on the Streets, said: “It is great to see the Police and Crime Commissioner publicise the connection between homelessness, in particular rough sleeping, and slavery or trafficking.

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"Our charity works with entrenched rough sleepers who are incredibly vulnerable to such targeting by those who would wish to take advantage of them.”

Rough sleepers 'incredibly vulnerable' to modern slavery, Leeds charity warns

The conference, at the University of Huddersfield on Monday, is to be held at the same time as a ‘twin’ event in the West Midlands.

Mr Burns-Williamson, who leads on modern slavery for the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, said: “By having these conversations and sharing our knowledge, it can only serve to focus efforts around prevention of these horrendous crimes and human rights abuses offering increased support for victims and survivors.”