Do you know what modern slavery is? Did you know that it’s still happening today? Would you know the signs to look out for and where to report concerns to?
If you answered no to any of the above then read on, as today (Thursday 18 October), is Anti-Slavery Day and we are using it to raise awareness of modern slavery and human trafficking, as well as the work carried out by the force’s dedicated Anti-Slavery Unit.
Detective Sergeant Nikki Leach, who heads up the unit, said: “Anti-Slavery Day gives us the opportunity to raise awareness that sadly, modern day slavery is very much still happening within our communities.
“Today, will be visiting numerous businesses, such as scrap yards, and speaking to them about the signs to look out for that suggest someone could be a victim of human trafficking or modern slavery.
“There are four main strands of modern slavery; labour exploitation, domestic servitude, sexual exploitation and criminal activities such as cannabis farming. All of these are a clear violation of someone’s human rights and our work in the Anti-Slavery Unit involves identifying anyone who is a victim of modern slavery or trafficking, safeguarding them and ensuring they get the necessary help and support.
“Anyone can be a victim of modern slavery, but typically it is someone who is vulnerable for either their age or background for example.”
The work of the Anti-Slavery Unit also involves building up the intelligence picture around modern slavery and human trafficking across South Yorkshire, and officers need the public’s help to do so.
DS Leach continued: “We need people to report concerns to us and a large part of the work we do involves raising awareness and educating people about exactly what modern slavery is and the signs to look out for.
“For example, recently we have been focussing on pop-up brothels to identify and safeguard any possible victims of trafficking and sexual exploitation. Sexual exploitation through trafficking is one of the most prevalent forms of modern slavery we see across the county.
“A large part of this has also been speaking to landlords to raise awareness of the signs to look out for that one of their rented properties is being used as a pop-up brothel.
“These are often short-term lets, being controlled by one individual, and may operate as a brothel for anything from a few weeks to six months onwards.
“Some of the signs to look out for include:
- A number of women living there but the house itself has very little furnishings
- A large number of men coming and going from the address at all times of the day and in to the evening
-It doesn’t actually look as though anyone lives there
“Of course, this is just one element of the work we do and while Anti-Slavery Day gives us another opportunity to highlight modern slavery and human trafficking, we are working hard every single day to identify and protect vulnerable people who are either at risk or have been a victim.”
To read more about modern slavery and the signs to look out for, please visit southyorks.police.uk/modernslavery.
Anyone with concerns can call 101 or 999 in an emergency. You can also speak to the 24/7 Modern Slavery Helpline on 0800 0121700.
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