A PEMBROKESHIRE anti-slavery campaigner has had her work recognised with a Queen’s Birthday Honour.

Dr Anne Kelly, 78, has been campaigning for improved awareness of the crime of modern slavery, which has seen victims in the county, for 13 years.

She will receive a British Empire Medal (BEM).

Formerly a lecturer in social policy at Swansea University, Dr Kelly chose the subject of modern slavery to be highlighted when she was president of Soroptimist International Tenby in 2006-2007.

“It was the bi-centenary of the abolition of slavery and I felt something should be done to mark this important year,” said Dr Kelly, who lives in Wooden, near Saundersfoot, with her husband Steve, a retired pharmacist.

“I was horrified to subsequently discover that there was actually a case of modern slavery ongoing in Pembrokeshire, involving nine African girls who were found in Castlemartin, and felt that we should be doing more to increase awareness.”

The campaign was taken up with enthusiasm by Tenby Soroptimists, and Dr Kelly was invited to give a presentation at the organisation’s annual conference in Manchester, ahead of 362 clubs.

The Tenby club received an international Soroptimist award for their work, and as a result, 15 Soroptimist clubs across Wales made modern slavery the focus of a regional project.

Dr Kelly has worked with Dyfed-Powys police and Barnardo’s Cymru on the modern slavery issue and is a member of the Dyfed-Powys Anti-Slavery Forum, which meets four times a year.

“Awareness has certainly been raised, but the incidences of modern slavery are increasing,” she said. “A recent report from the UK Government said that there are currently between 10,000 and 13,000 victims in the UK.

“Figures from the National Crime Agency show there were 3,266 identified cases in 2015, jumping to 6,993 in 2018, and the proportion of children involved increased from 30 per cent to 45 per cent.

“That is believed to be through the county lines drug network.

“This is why I feel it is so important to continue working for the cause.”

Dr Kelly admitted “it was quite a shock” to learn she would be receiving a BEM for her services to modern slavery.

“I really don’t know who put my name forward, but it was a very nice surprise.”