Thurrock residents urged to BeAVoice’ for victims of Trafficking and Modern Slavery.

THIS week Essex Police are using social media to raise awareness of trafficking and modern slavery to encourage people to spot the signs and report these crimes.Modern Slavery includes people who are forced to work against their will or controlled by a so-called `employer’ who uses mental or physical abuse or the threat of abuse. Alongside forced labour, modern day slavery also includes crimes such as sexual exploitation.Slavery is an international crime that affects almost 30 million people worldwide.Modern Slavery is about power, dominance and control over vulnerable victims who are too scared or unable to seek help. Victims commonly do not have control of their money and owe large amounts to the abuser for housing, travel and food, so feel they have no means of escaping the exploitation.Essex Police has a dedicated Anti-Slavery Partnership Co-ordinator, Cristina Gavrilovic, who has been working tirelessly to improve people’s awareness of these crimes.She said: “People think this sort of thing doesn’t happen in their neighbourhood or their town. It does happen and we are asking people to be aware, spot the signs and be a voice to victims who are extremely vulnerable and need our help.Traffickers have no boundaries or borders and they often target the most vulnerable, including children, those suffering from Mental Health or addictions and homeless people.Victims of trafficking and slavery often speak little or no English, have no access to a phone or their ID documents and have very little concept of their current location, making them extremely vulnerable.Our week of action, which includes an awareness campaign on social media alongside targeted operational work aims to shine a spotlight on these crimes, encourage people within the community to report any suspicions they may have so ultimately we can work alongside our partners to prevent and disrupt these crimes that exist within our communities .Roger Hirst, Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said: “There is no place for slavery and the exploitation of our fellow human beings in the modern world. I hope that, with the help of this campaign, all of us can become more aware of how to spot the signs of slavery, how to help those who are being controlled, and how to bring the abusers to justice.

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