The Assembly Government funded post is the first of it kind in the UK and Mr Tooby, retiring Chief Superintendent of South Wales Police, will officially take up the role on Monday 4th April.
As Anti Human Trafficking Co-ordinator, Mr Tooby’s main duties will include coordinating concrete evidence of the scale of the problem in Wales and coordinating services and support to those affected.
The role will also bring together a number of agencies including the police, local authorities, health service providers and voluntary organisations to identify and support victims and bring those responsible to justice.
The UK is now one of the main countries across Europe being targeted for human trafficking. As it is a largely hidden problem, the extent of the crime and the number of victims suffering in Wales is still unknown. A recent report by the Children’s Commissioner for Wales estimated that around 32 children had been trafficked into the country, and police intelligence indicates that trafficking cases are on the rise.
Carl Sargeant said it was crucial to build an accurate picture of the scale of human trafficking in Wales to support victims and target the organised criminals who carry out this misery.
The Minister said:
“Although the full extent of the human trafficking problem is still unknown, we are aware of cases where victims have been brought into Wales and forced to carry out unthinkable acts against their will.
“This human exploitation is despicable and the Assembly Government has a duty of care to help victims and support the authorities to bring those responsible to justice. We need to have a much clearer picture of what is happening here to decide how to best tailor support, services and policing to tackle the issues.
“This new post will do just that and I am delighted that Bob Tooby will be joining us for the next 12 months. Bob brings a wealth of relevant experience to the post and I would like to welcome him as Anti Human Trafficking Co-ordinator for Wales.”
Mr Tooby said he is delighted to be appointed to the post and is looking forward to working with communities and partners across the country to tackle the problem.
“Human trafficking in all its forms is the worst kind of slavery and exploitation of human beings possible. As the UK is one of the main European countries being targeted for this criminal activity, it is reassuring that the Welsh Assembly Government recognises the severity of the problem and has created this post to tackle the issues.
“Cohesive joint working will be the only way of fighting off this problem and my role will involve working alongside partners such as the police, local authorities and health service providers to make this happen.”
Jeff Farrar, t/DCC Gwent Police and All Wales Policing lead for Protecting Vulnerable People and Human Trafficking, welcomed Mr Tooby to the post and said:
"This appointment is a positive step forward in the fight against human trafficking in Wales and Bob’s contribution, alongside other officers and staff already in place, will be invaluable.
“Police Forces and partner agencies remain fully committed to taking action against human trafficking. Work continues to give victims, who may otherwise be reluctant to report the crime, the courage to come forward, enabling us to offer them the appropriate support and protection.
“With their help we can build an accurate picture of the scale of the problem in Wales and bring those responsible to justice.”
The creation of this post fulfils a commitment to support human trafficking victims under the Welsh Assembly Government’s ‘The Right to be Safe’ strategy.