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Modern slavery is here

Modern slavery IS happening and it could be happening where you live – that’s the message from police. In the week from Monday, October 13, the Lancashire force for instance is visiting various premises across the county and speaking with people in a bid to give them a better understanding of just what modern slavery and human trafficking is.

Put simply, say police, slavery and/or trafficking is the movement of a person from one place to another (whether country to country, town to town, or even as simple as one room in a building to another) into conditions of exploitation, using deception, coercion, abuse of power or the abuse of the person’s vulnerability.

For the recent NCA (National Crime Agency) assessment on human trafficking, visit the NCA website.

Detective Superintendent Sue Cawley, head of Lancashire Police’s Public Protection Unit, said: “This area of policing is complex and identifying modern slavery can be difficult. In many cases Organised Crime Groups (OCGs) are behind the trafficking of people into the UK. However, in some cases victims will willingly travel into the UK by their own means, sometimes at the request of their own families), to then only make their first contact with their trafficker based upon an offer of apparent legal and legitimate employment, unaware of the situation that awaits them.

“Here in Lancashire we want to raise as much awareness about modern slavery as we possibly can. Although figures would suggest there isn’t a huge problem in our county, we know it is happening. Reporting rates are low and we want to encourage victims to come forward knowing that there is help out there for them.”

Officers will be visiting premises across Lancashire such as massage parlours, takeaways, car washes and traveller sites seeking to speak with employers and employees.

Signs to spot potential victims:

• Victims may show signs of physical or psychological abuse, look malnourished or unkempt, or appear withdrawn
• Rarely allowed to travel on their own, seem under the control and influence of others or appear unfamiliar with their neighborhood or where they work
• Live in dirty cramped or overcrowded accommodation, and could be living and working at the same address
• Have few personal possessions and often wear the same clothes
• Little opportunity to move freely and may have no identification documents or travel documents retained
• They may be dropped off and collected for work on a regular basis either early or late at night
• Victims may avoid eye contact, appear frightened or hesitant to talk to strangers and fearful of law enforcers
• If a child: not attending school, moves frequently, goes missing, lives with someone other than parent or guardian.

The week of action ends with national Anti-Slavery Day on Saturday, October 18.

The 10 most common countries of origin for adult referrals in 2013:

• Albania
• Nigeria
• Vietnam
• Romania
• UK
• Poland
• Hungary
• China
• Lithuania
• Latvia.


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