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It’s easy to think that modern slavery is a global issue that doesn’t feature in your life, but it’s happening in Northamptonshire, and you can help us tackle it.
Men, women and children of all ages and backgrounds can fall victim to human trafficking, forced labour, domestic servitude, or debt bondage.
People can be exploited to work for little or no pay in trades such as car washes, food production and the beauty and construction industries.
Police work collaboratively with regional colleagues and other agencies such as the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority to tackle those people who are masterminding these offences and safeguard those who have been victimised.
Chief Inspector Pete Basham, who is leading this week’s focus on Serious and Organised Crime, said: “Victims of modern slavery are often unseen but are living and working among us.
“They are likely to have been coerced to comply with the orders of the people in charge with threats of violence, removal of passports and other paperwork and threats of being handed over to the authorities.
“In many cases, victims are reliant on those who have enslaved them for every aspect of their life, including accommodation, work, transportation, money and access to medical care.”
In April this year officers from Northamptonshire Police conducted a joint operation with Romanian police officers, with the support of the East Midlands Special Operations Unit, Europol and Eurojust, to tackle a modern slavery gang in Corby.
With raids starting at 4am, 12 properties in Corby and 13 in Romania were searched which resulted in seven arrests and the safeguarding of 27 people.
The organised crime gang behind the operation is believed to have been active since at least 2018 and lured vulnerable people in Romania by offering them jobs in the UK
However, once they arrived in the UK, the gang would take their ID documents and phones, forcing them to work 16 hours a day, seven days a week, and without sufficient food or basic health care.
All salary payments made to the victims would be withdrawn by the gang and violence was threatened to family members back in Romania should any of the victims speak up.
The gang would then use this money to fuel a luxurious lifestyle, paying for expensive goods and investing in property ventures back in Romania.
Chief Inspector Basham added: “It’s important that people tell us about any concerns they may have about people who they think could be victims of modern slavery.
“You can report concerns via northants.police.uk, by calling 101 or independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”
Spotting the signs of modern slavery:
Details of other agencies that can provide support and advice:
The Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority works in partnership to protect vulnerable and exploited workers.
Call 0800 432 0804
Free, confidential reporting line (some mobile providers may charge)
email: [email protected]
Modern Slavery and Exploitation Helpline - Information and support
Telephone: 08000 121 700 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
Anti-Trafficking and Labour Exploitation Unit - Charity providing legal representation to victims of trafficking and labour exploitation.
Telephone: 020 7700 7311