Modern slavery and human trafficking
Modern slavery is increasingly becoming a significant threat to the communities of Lancashire, with more resources being dedicated to tackling the issue.
What is modern slavery?
Modern slavery involves the recruitment and movement of individuals using threats, deception and coercion for the purpose of exploitation.
It takes many forms but the most common are sexual exploitation, forced labour and domestic servitude.
Victims are forced to work against their will in many different settings, including brothels, cannabis farms, nail bars, car washes, agriculture and even within people's homes.
It is not an issue confined to history or an issue that only exists in certain countries. It is a global problem and it is happening right now here in Lancashire.
What is human trafficking?
Human trafficking can also be a part of modern slavery as a person is moved from one place to another (this could be country to country, town to town, or even as simple as one room in a building to another).
Even if a victim consents and is willing to be moved, trafficking could still be taking place.
Unfortunately, few people understand modern slavery and many confuse it with 'migrant working' or 'illegal immigration'.
It is a problem that transcends age, gender and ethnicities, and can impact both foreign nationals and British Citizens.
Victims are generally living in fear, do not fully understand what is happening to them and comply with their abusers in hiding the reality - often because of threats of violence made to them and their families.
What signs should I look out for?
There are a number of signs that could indicate that someone is a victim of slavery. They may:
- Show signs of physical or psychological abuse, look malnourished, unkempt, or appear withdrawn.
- Rarely be allowed to travel on their own, seem under the control and influence of others or appear unfamiliar with their neighbourhood or where they work.
- Live in dirty, cramped or overcrowded accommodation, and could be living and working at the same address.
- Have few personal possessions, often wear the same clothes or are poorly equipped for the job they are carrying out.
- Have little opportunity to move freely and have no identification or travel documents in their possession.
- Be dropped off and collected for work on a regular basis either early or late at night.
- Avoid eye contact, appear frightened or hesitant to talk to strangers and fearful of law enforcers and authorities.
How to report an issue
You can pass on information anonymously by:
- online - Crimestoppers
- call -0800 555 111
Please note: You can also contact Lancashire Victims Services, who offer help and support even if you haven't reported a crime to the Police. Contact them on 0300 323 0085.
If someone is in immediate danger call 999 immediately, if there is no immediate threat to life call 101.
Please note: specified public authorities have a duty to notify the Home Office of any individual encountered in England and Wales who they believe is a suspected victim of slavery or human trafficking.
For more information visit GOV.UK - Duty to Notify.
Modern Slavery Helpline
The new UK Modern Slavery Helpline is a confidential 24/7 service for anyone wanting to speak to a trained adviser about modern slavery.
The helpline is operated by Unseen (UK) and provides information and guidance on all aspects of modern slavery to potential victims, statutory agencies and businesses.
To safeguard and help to prevent crime, information and intelligence is referred to law enforcement agencies and local authorities where appropriate.
Modern Slavery Helpline: 08000 121 700