West Yorkshire residents urged to know basic modern slavery signs in new campaign
West Yorkshire residents are being urged to know the basic signs of modern slavery and human trafficking.
Knowing how to spot potential signs "could be the difference between a vulnerable victim being rescued or having to ensure a life of misery", West Yorkshire Police said.
Modern slavery and human trafficking are crimes that "hide in plain sight and they could be happening on any street in West Yorkshire and in any workplace" according to the force.
Detective Chief Inspector Fiona Gaffney who leads West Yorkshire Police’s response to the Organised Exploitation of Vulnerable People, said: “Modern slavery and human trafficking are awful crimes that have no place in the modern world.
“They are crimes that trade in human misery but knowledge is power and by knowing just a few of the potential signs to look out for people can be our eyes and ears and by reporting any suspicions to us someone might just might make a massive difference to the life of a victim.
“Victims of modern slavery can be found anywhere. There are certain industries where they are currently more prevalent, such as nail bars, car washes, agriculture and fishing, building sites and the sex industry.
“Other high risk situations include when there is a need for a sudden injection of workers into the work force, such as seasonal staff or construction for a major event. Victims, however, may also pass through transport hubs, health services and other public places or be found in private homes.
“Because of the often hidden nature of these offences an increase in reports is in many ways a positive – we know that a lot go unreported.
“Through Programme Precision as a Force we are doing a lot of work to rescue victims and bring perpetrators to justice.”
Last week six people (four men and two women) were sentenced in Poland to a combined total of more than 25 years in prison for their participation in an organised crime group and human trafficking.
They were sentenced to between six years and three years and one month.
Although the case was prosecuted in Poland, West Yorkshire Police’s Modern Slavery Team were heavily involved in the investigation with the support of the National Crime Agency (NCA) and the UK teams at Eurojust and Europol.
There was close co-operation between the District Prosecutor’s Office in Wroclaw, the Provincial Office of Police in Wroclaw (Prokuratura Okręgowa we Wrocławiu and Komenda Wojewódzka Policji we Wrocławiu) West Yorkshire Police, the NCA and the UK teams at Eurojust and Europol.
DCI Gaffney added: “Time and international borders in no way diminish our determination to get justice for victims by bringing those responsible for these heinous crimes to justice. We will continue to work together with our international colleagues to bring those responsible for serious crimes to justice.”
Andy French from the National Crime Agency said: “This investigation was the result of fantastic international collaboration between the UK and the Polish Police Human trafficking department and highlights how serious and organised crime knows no boundaries.
“Working with our partners across law enforcement here and abroad, we are determined to do all we can to fight modern day slavery and tackle the criminal groups involved."
For more advice about modern slavery and human trafficking, some signs to look out for, and what the Force is doing to tackle the crimes through Programme Precision, visit the Advice section on the West Yorkshire Police website and see their social media channels.