Waterloo Community Counselling’s Modern Slavery Statement

As a therapeutic counselling service which provides mental health support to survivors of modern slavery across London, Waterloo Community Counselling is committed to playing an important role in tackling modern slavery in all its guises. We believe it is vital for us to be transparent about our actions and stalwart in our opposition of modern slavery, working to be part of a wider movement of change.

What is Waterloo Community Counselling?
WCC is a charity and is incorporated as a company limited by guarantee. Our mission is to provide mental health support to individuals across London. Within WCC our Multi-Ethnic Counselling Service (MECS) focuses on supporting refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants many of whom have been socially and emotionally affected by issues including domestic abuse, modern slavery and human trafficking and poverty.

What is Modern Slavery?
Modern Slavery is a serious and often hidden crime in which people are exploited for criminal gain. The impact can be devastating for the victims. Modern slavery comprises slavery, servitude, forced and compulsory labour and human trafficking.
There were an estimated 40 million people in slavery globally in 2016 and 10,000 –13,000 potential victims in the UK, however many victims are not identified or reported.

The common factors are that a victim is, or is intended to be, used or exploited for someone else’s (usually financial) gain, without respect for their human rights. The perpetrators seeking to take advantage of them could be private individuals, running small businesses or part of a wider organised crime network. For adult victims, there will be some element of coercion involved, such as threats, use of force, deception, or abuse of power.

What does WCC/MECS do to improve the situation for survivors of Modern Slavery?
Through the therapeutic provision provided across WCC/MECS we are able to hopefully alleviate some of the devastating trauma felt by the victims of modern slavery. Our mother-tongue and culturally sensitive MECS project provides clients with an opportunity to talk to someone about their experiences, often for the first time, in a safe and supporting environment.
All of counsellors undergo safeguarding training to help recognise signs that a client is vulnerable and at-risk. We also have policies and procedures in place to support our staff and volunteers and a system to ensure at-risk clients do not slip through the cracks.

We work closely with other organisations and often signpost and make referrals to agencies that can further support victims of Modern Slavery. For example, we often take referrals from as well make referrals to Hestia which is the “main organisation in London working with victims of modern slavery”. We are keenly aware that effective cooperation and collaboration with other organisations is vital in combating modern slavery and supporting its victims.

We are committed to ensuring that our operations and supply chains do not compound risks of modern slavery. We aim to use our understanding of how modern slavery manifests to inform our own practices and ensure that all our staff know what to look for, how to ensure proper due diligence of our supply chains, how to respond in the event of finding an incident and how to ensure that our purchasing practices do not make exploitation more likely.