There is a perception that modern slavery and human trafficking offences only occur in the larger metropolitan areas of UK. This is simply untrue and these offences happen across every area of the UK including Cumbria.
Between April 2017 and March 2018, Cumbria Constabulary received over 305 intelligence reports connected to modern slavery. Whilst the figures show that there is an increase in reporting, there will be numerous incidents occurring in this county that have not been identified.
Cumbria Constabulary will act and work with trusted support agencies to safeguard victims. Between January 2016 and March 2018 33 victims have been safeguarded by the Constabulary.
The DO DISTURB campaign
As part of our efforts to tackle these horrific offences we have launched a campaign that seeks to raise awareness within the hospitality trade, specifically hotels and B&Bs, and also with private landlords.
The awareness drive follows a number of instances where suspicions have been raised by landlords after a tenant has moved on or when a paying guest has left a hotel. It is believed such offences as sex trafficking is happening.
We hope that the campaign will result in further reports when offences are potentially happening so officers can act quickly to identify any offenders and safeguard victims before they are moved on. By being vigilant and understanding the signs of such offences you can help disturb and disrupt such horrendous crimes.
Signs for the hospitality trade to look out for:
• Guests showing signs of injury, abuse or malnourishment.
• Persons under the control and influence of others.
• Persons appearing scared, avoiding eye contact or seem untrusting.
• Numerous visitors to the room they are booked into.
• Unusual check in and check out times.
• Persons having no identification documents and paying in cash only.
• Guests having a lack of belongings.
Signs for private landlords to look out for:
• Do you know exactly who you are letting the property to and who is living there?
• Is the occupant the same person that signed the tenancy agreement?
• Does the occupant pay their own rent from their own bank account?
• Are you aware of any anti-social behaviour complaints regarding the property?
• Do the occupants of the property change regularly?
• Is the occupant in possession of their own passport or identification documents, and have these been checked prior to the start of the tenancy?
• Does the tenant seem withdrawn, frightened or show signs of physical abuse?
What you can do:
If you suspect modern slavery or human trafficking you can report it online or call us on 101. Dial 999 in an emergency.
If you don’t want to give your name you can give information to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or use their online form.
Alternatively, you can call the National Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700 or complete their online form.