Police and Crime Commissioner and Thames Valley Police support Anti-Slavery Day
The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Anthony Stansfeld, and Thames Valley Police are supporting Anti-Slavery Day on 18 October to raise awareness of modern slavery.
Modern slavery is a growing issue with the latest Government estimate indicating there are 13,000 victims across the UK.
The types of modern slavery include child trafficking, forced labour, debt bondage, sexual exploitation, criminal exploitation and domestic servitude. There is no typical victim but modern slavery is normally more prevalent across vulnerable, minority or socially excluded groups.
The hidden signs of slavery make it difficult for victims to be recognised, however common signs include, poor physical appearance, isolation, poor living conditions, few or no personal effects, restricted freedom of movement, unusual travel times, and a reluctance to seek help.
Working with multi-agency partners Thames Valley Police works tirelessly to identify and liberate people affected by modern slavery.
The PCC is funding pilot projects, run by Elmore Community Services in Oxfordshire and The Mustard Tree in Reading, to provide support to victims of exploitation and modern slavery.
Anthony Stansfeld said ‘I am pleased to support Anti-Slavery Day. We know there are many hidden victims of modern slavery in the Thames Valley and it is important we raise awareness of the issue to both identify victims and effectively tackle this awful crime.
‘It is also crucial we provide support to the victims and help them recover from the trauma caused. This is why I have developed and funded pilot Independent Trauma Advisory (ITA) Services in Oxfordshire and Reading which offer immediate crisis intervention and emotional support to victims of exploitation and help to integrate them into further services.
“The ITAs are also proving critical to the effective policing of modern slavery, providing operational support before, and throughout, police raids or other activity designed to disrupt and prevent modern day slavery.’
Thames Valley Police Human Slavery intelligence lead Victoria Butler said: “Modern slavery is an increasing problem not only in the Thames Valley, but also nationally. Thames Valley Police is committed to tackling this crime and the offenders connected to it.
“It is our priority to protect and safeguard victims from this heinous crime and pursue the offenders to the fullest.
“We are also dedicated to training our officers and staff to enable them to identify the signs of modern slavery and how to deal with it.
“We are working hard with our partner agencies across Thames Valley, including the NHS and local Councils, to ensure that there is a joined up approach to tackling modern slavery”
Information from the community, no matter how small or insignificant can play a vital role in tackling modern slavery.
If you see something suspicious, call the police on 101, or the independent charity, Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. Always ring 999 in an emergency.
Find out more at the Thames Valley Police website (http://www.thamesvalley.police.uk/crime-prevention/keeping-safe/modern-slavery.htm).
Notes to editors
Crimestoppers advice on the signs of modern slavery and labour exploitation:
- Have you noticed heavy security personnel at the premises in question? (This could be a factory, farm or construction site)
- Are there barred windows, locked doors or electronic surveillance cameras?
- Does it look like people are living and working at the same address?
- Are the ‘workers’ driven in between premises?
- Victims are often forced to live in cramped and/or overcrowded conditions
- They are collected very early and/or returned late at night on a regular basis
- They may have inappropriate clothing for the work they are performing, and/or a lack of safety equipment
- Victims physical appearance may show signs of injury, malnourishment, and their general appearance may be unkempt
- They may be isolated from the local community and/or appear to be under the control or influence of others