Anti-Slavery Day – How to spot the signs and protect victims of trafficking and modern slavery
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People living, working and visiting Derbyshire are being asked to be on the lookout for victims of modern slavery as the force marks Anti-Slavery Day 2020.
Across the UK criminal gangs are forcing vulnerable men, women and children into slavery in various forms.
And with the worrying prospect that more people could be put in harm’s way due to the economic impact of the current COVID-19 pandemic – knowing the signs of modern slavery has never been more important.
Today the force is marking the annual Anti-Slavery Day with an appeal to everyone to be aware of the signs of modern slavery to help vulnerable victims.
Detective Sergeant Andy Wright, the officer who leads the Derbyshire police’s Modern Slavery team, said: “For many people in Derbyshire the idea that people are being forced into slavery may seem farfetched.
“But myself and my team see victims of modern slavery on a daily basis. They are forced to live in squalid conditions, have their money taken before and given a few pounds to live on and threatened with serious violence and rape - leaving them in fear for their lives.
“This is happening in Derbyshire right now. You might have walked past a modern slave in your local high street, you might have driven past a modern slave on your way to work, you may have been served by a modern slave in a shop.
“And, as the economic impact of the COVID-19 epidemic starts to hit even more people may be forced into the hands of unscrupulous criminal gangs.
“Now, more than ever, it is absolutely vital that people learn to spot the signs of modern slavery and know what to do if they suspect that a victim is being exploited.”
Sometimes the signs aren’t always obvious but there are some that you may notice:
do they look unkempt, malnourished or injured?
are they acting anxious, afraid or unable to make eye contact?
are they doing long hours, wearing unsuitable clothing or have the wrong equipment for the job?
is where they are living overcrowded, poorly maintained or are the curtains always closed?
do they behave like they’re being instructed by someone else, picked up/dropped off at the same time and place every day or don’t have access to money or identification?
DS Wright, said: “Our force actively pursues those who seek to exploit people and force them into dangerous and inhumane situations.
“We work closely with local, regional and national partners to build intelligence about how and where criminals operate and combine to bring people to justice and safeguard those at risk.
“In Derbyshire, we have been using legislation, such as Slavery Trafficking Prevention Orders, to provide extra powers for officers to stop and prosecute those believed to be involved in modern slavery offences.
“But while the force has intelligence from many different sources the public remain the force’s eyes and ears. So, I would ask everyone to ensure they are alert to the signs and if they see something that concerns them then they report it using any of the methods mentioned below. Please don’t think that someone else will report it, if you have concerns report it. You could make the difference for that victim”.
What to do if you think you have concerns:
Facebook– send us a private message to /DerbyshireConstabulary
Twitter– direct message our contact centre on @DerPolContact