Derbyshire Police crack down on modern slavery

A new campaign has been launched in a bid to tackle modern day slavery

Today is Anti-Slavery Day and Derbyshire constabulary want to highlight the many forms modern slavery can take in a bid to eradicate it.

Modern slavery can include the trafficking of people, forced labour, servitude and slavery.

In Derbyshire, the police has established a specialist team to gather information about modern slavery and human trafficking in the county - known as Operation Wilberforce.

Detective Sergeant Gareth Smethem, from Operation Wilberforce, said: “Modern slaves can be found in prostitution, nail bars, car washes and in the building trade, but it could be happening in any industry and we need the public to be vigilant and report anything suspicious.

“We’re working to identify victims and get them the help and support they need. It’s a crime the public can really help us detect. 
“When you go to a car wash or nail bar, look at the look at the demeanour and attitude of the people you see working there.

“They may look unkempt and there could be one person who seems to be in charge and the other workers appear unsure of them, or frightened.

“Obviously not all businesses are like this but these are the kind of signs you should look out for.”

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The Operational Wilberforce team tries to identify and engage with victims and support detectives who investigate this type of crime. They want members of the public to be aware of the warning signs of trafficking or modern slavery, as often the indicators of this type of abuse can be very subtle.

People who have been trafficked may:

•Show signs of consistent abuse or have untreated health issues

•Have no identification documents in their personal possession, and little or no finances of their own

•Be unwilling to talk without a more ‘senior’ controlling person around, who may act as their translator

•Sleep in a cramped, unhygienic room in a building that they are unable to freely leave

•Be unable to leave their place of work to find different employment and fear that bad things may happen if they do

•Be charged for accommodation or transport by their employers as a condition of their employment, at an unrealistic and inflated cost which is deducted from their wages.

Assistant Chief Constable Chris Haward said: “Slavery, in any form, is a despicable abuse of vulnerable people. It preys on those who are most in need and is happening under our noses.

Organised crime groups are exploiting people for their own personal gain and it is incumbent on us all to do what we can to help prevent this from happening.”

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