Police are urging the public to help them tackle modern slavery in Warwickshire, by keeping an eye out for warning signs.
Labour exploitation involves people being forced to work for little or no pay, with victims sometimes assaulted, threatened with violence, denied access to their passport or made to live in poor or overcrowded conditions.
In an effort to clamp down on the offence, Warwickshire Police are asking residents to look out for a number of signs that could indicate someone is being exploited.
Such signs include those not having enough food, those who appear scared or alone, those who always wear the same clothes, those living and working at the same location or in overcrowded accommodation or those with unusual travel and work times.
The public can play a vital role in helping identify potential victims who may need help and reporting their concerns.
Assistant Chief Constable Alex Franklin-Smith said “Please do not assume this does not affect you in Warwickshire. Reports of modern slavery are rare with 30 cases reported in the last year to December 2018. We believe this is because it is largely a hidden crime and we need the public’s help to spot the signs and report any concerns so that they can be properly investigated.”
“The types of work where we believe people could be exploited in Warwickshire include warehousing and logistics work, agriculture, food processing and packing, car wash industries and barbers. This is by no means an exhaustive list.”
If you know someone who needs help, please call the police on 101 or the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700 or the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) on 0800 432 0804. We want to help
In the 12 months to December 2018, Warwickshire Police referred 52 potential victims of modern slavery into the UK National Referral Mechanism which is a national framework to ensure they receive the appropriate support.
Warwickshire PCC Philip Seccombe said “It’s really vital that everyone comes together to identify and protect the most vulnerable people in our society and ensure that anyone who is being exploited through modern slavery and human trafficking receives the right protection and support.
“We have been organising awareness events for frontline officers across a number of agencies, as well as producing a number of information packs aimed at both those that may be victims of modern slavery, as well as to help members of the public identify and contact enforcement agencies.”