TODAY, Thursday 30 July, marks this year’s World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.
The following statement is by Essex Police.
Here at Essex Police we work to prevent these crimes from happening by identifying organised crime groups who are exploiting vulnerable people and arranging their transport into the country, or into the county, but we need your help too.
We need you to help spot the signs of human trafficking and modern slavery and report it to us.
Victims who are trafficked are threatened with violence, deception or coercion. Once they have been moved to their new location, which can be anything from a cannabis farm to a nail bar, a fruit-picking farm to a brothel, or a restaurant or car wash, textile factory or construction site, delivering food or parcels to your door, they will be forced to work for little or no pay and often kept in appalling conditions.
Since our Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Unit was launched last year, we’ve safeguarded 26 victims of modern slavery with the help of our partners in Justice and Care, many of whom were moved around counties or across the country to be exploited.
We’re urging the public of Essex to report any suspicious behaviour at a business or service you’re using, or a premises you live or work nearby. This includes a heavy security presence at sites, barred windows on buildings and lack of community engagement from workers. If you report it to us, we can safeguard anyone who may be suffering.
Airports, ports, bus and train stations are also crucial for spotting if someone is being trafficked. Look after each other and check in with anyone who looks lost or confused, withdrawn, shows signs of physical or emotional neglect or abuse, or if groups of people are collected from these areas very early in the morning or very late at night by similar vehicles or by the same people.
If you are reading this as a victim of modern slavery and human trafficking, please know that we can support you and keep you safe. We will listen to your story and break the cycle of exploitation and abuse.
Always call 999 in an emergency, but you can also report through our website or by calling 101. If you’d like to remain anonymous then call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
The confidential Modern Slavery Helpline, which is open 24/7 and has access to interpreting services in a variety of languages, can be called to get help, report a suspicion or get advice by ringing 08000 121 700.
For more information, you can visit our website here: https://www.essex.police.uk/police-forces/essex-police/areas/essex-police/campaigns/campaigns/20192/human-trafficking/