Whilst awareness of modern slavery and human trafficking is slowly growing, the signs are often hidden, making victims even harder to recognise.
These crimes are not only occurring in big cities, but across the UK including here in Cumbria.
Between April 2016 and October 2017, Cumbria Constabulary received over 240 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.
Members of the public have a role to play in putting a stop to such horrific crimes. If you know the signs you can report suspicious activity.
Cumbria Constabulary will act and work with trusted support agencies to safeguard victims. Between January 2016 and October 2017 the Constabulary has safeguarded 23 victims.
What is modern slavery?
Modern slavery takes a variety of forms, many of which operate openly in public places. Whilst anyone can become a victim of this crime, it predominantly affects vulnerable people and immigrant populations with a bias towards industries such as car washes, nail bars, takeaways, prostitution and agriculture.
Landlords could be providing accommodation to groups of people being controlled or exploited. Taxi companies, petrol stations or hotels may be used when transporting, holding or working victims.
What is human trafficking?
Human trafficking is when someone is brought into a country (or moved around it) by people who hurt, threaten, frighten and force them to work or do other things they don’t want to do.
There are many signs that may indicate modern day slavery. These include a person:
· Showing signs of injury, abuse and malnourishment
· Looking unkempt, often in the same clothing and have poor hygiene
· Under the control and influence of others
· Living in cramped, dirty, overcrowded accommodation
· Having no access or control of their passport or identity documents
· Appearing scared, avoiding eye contact, seem untrusting
· Being collected very early and/or returned late at night on a regular basis
· Having inappropriate clothing for the work they are performing, and/or a lack of safety equipment
· Isolated from the local community and their family
What you can do
If you suspect modern slavery or human trafficking you can report it online or call us on 101.
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.
How we can help victims
As soon as a victims contact us their safety will be our top priority. We will work with them and a number of trusted support agencies to give them protection, shelter and support.
We will investigate those involved and keep them informed about what is happening.
Leaflets have been developed in a number of languages that give advice to foreign workers in the UK, please see the links below:
Trafficking Leaflet - English
Trafficking Leaflet - Czech
Trafficking Leaflet - Polish
Trafficking Leaflet - Romanian
Trafficking Leaflet - Slovak
Trafficking Leaflet - Spanish
Trafficking Leaflet - Vietnamese