Potential victims of modern slavery have been safeguarded as part of ongoing activity to tackle modern slavery and exploitation in South Yorkshire.
Last week, on Tuesday (29 August), officers acted swiftly in response to reports that a woman was being forced to work against her will at a massage parlour in Sheffield. Officers attended the address, ensured the worker was safe and provided specialist safeguarding advice and signposted her to support available.
The Modern Slavery team also joined up with partners at Changing Lives Netreach project to deliver activity to tackle violence against women and girls in South Yorkshire. The Netreach team offer advice and support to sex workers and victims of online harms as part of efforts to stop violence and exploitation. As part of this activity, officers undertook intelligence scoping of adult service websites and social media platforms used for recruiting potential victims of sexual exploitation.
On Thursday (31 August), as part of Operation Bubbles, officers also visited two car washes in Rotherham with suspected links to organised immigration crime and illegal working to identify potential victims of modern slavery. This was a joint operation with Home Office Immigration Officers who we worked together with to safeguard potential victims.
On Friday (1 September), following intelligence gathering by officers and the Home Office, officers visited an address in Sheffield suspected of being used to run a brothel with suspected links to organised immigration crime and modern slavery.
Detective Chief Inspector Anna Sedgwick, from the Modern Slavery team, said:
“We know that modern slavery and exploitation are often hidden in plain sight within our communities and closer than people may think. Often workers are forced to work illegally and against their will, working long hours and often in hard conditions.
“Exploitation takes many forms and there is no typical victim of modern slavery. Victims can be men, women and children of all ages and from many different countries. It is normally more prevalent amongst the most vulnerable, minority or socially excluded groups.
“We deliver pre-planned operations to tackle modern slavery and identify potential vulnerable victims’ week-in week-out. Developing the intelligence picture surrounding offenders continues, and we’d always ask anyone with concerns to phone us straight away.
“If you suspect someone is being exploited, or you feel that you are being exploited, we are here to help. Please report to us, we will listen, you can help us tackle modern slavery in South Yorkshire.”
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