Police appeal to victims of modern slavery released in multiple languages
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Northamptonshire Police have taken part in a week of intensified action to tackle sexual exploitation as the force releases a message to victims which has been translated into multiple languages.
The activity was part of Operation Aidant, the national campaign into vulnerability, exploitation and modern slavery and coincides with the launch of a video encouraging victims to report offences which has been translated into Bulgarian, Chinese Mandarin, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Romanian, Slovakian and Vietnamese.
Specially trained Officers visited eight addresses across the county last week as part of the ongoing efforts to tackle sexual exploitation. These were identified through concerns raised by members of the public and the visits were intended to disrupt pop-up brothels, identify and safeguard vulnerable people subjected to exploitation and bring offenders to justice.
Detective Chief Inspector Lee McBride, the force lead for modern slavery and human trafficking, said: "Northamptonshire is not immune to modern slavery and human trafficking. We know there are men, women and children in this county who are suffering at the hands of criminals.
“Everybody should be allowed to work in a safe, non-exploitative environment and the purpose of the week of action is to ensure no exploitation or trafficking is taking place at a series of addresses across the county.
“It is fitting we use this week to launch my message to anybody who is or knows a victim of modern slavery - we will listen and we will believe anybody who reports offences to us. We will support you and we will arrest offenders and bring them to justice.
“The nature of modern slavery means victims are hidden and controlled so it can be hard to spot or recognise, particularly for victims of sexual exploitation, forced labour or domestic servitude.
“We are here to listen and take action – we will react quickly to all reports of this terrible crime where victims are viewed as a commodity to be traded or exploited over and over again. This may be for use in criminal purposes and as well as sexual exploitation it can include forced labour, domestic servitude or for sexual exploitation.”
Modern slavery is exploitative behaviour that places one person in control of another. It can affect people of any age, gender or race. Cases of modern slavery have been found all across the country, at pop-up brothels, car washes, construction sites, in agricultural industries and in food processing. Victims are paid little and forced to put up with poor living and working conditions.
Many have their freedom of movement removed from them, as their passports and papers are taken away, effectively trapping them into the situation. It usually affects people and communities who are vulnerable to being taken advantage of.
The main signs include somebody being made to work long hours, being chaperoned, having very few personal possessions, having malnutrition and being subjected to abuse.
Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold said: “We know that modern slavery is happening in our county but it is really hard to reach the victims, who live in a world of fear and coercion. This is a complex crime that takes on so many different guises, from forcing people to work in the service industry to coercing them into county lines drug dealing. I am pleased to support Operation Aidant with extra funding and help Northamptonshire Police to give victims of this type of crime a voice and a way out of their situation.”
There are a number of ways you can report modern slavery:
- Go to www.northants.police.uk/modernslavery for help and multi-lingual advice.
- You can download the ‘Unseen’ app from the play store on your smart phone or go to https://www.unseenuk.org/
- You can call the Modern Slavery helpline on 08000 121700 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.