Anti-Slavery Day, on Thursday 18th October, provides an opportunity to raise awareness of human trafficking and modern slavery.
Slavery is the fastest growing organised-crime in the world, hidden in plain sight, and many are unaware it exists in communities and businesses. Figures released by the National Crime Agency in 2017 stated that 116 different nationalities were victims of modern slavery here in the UK*. There are 13,000 suspected victims in the U.K. but this only scratches the surface and currently there are over 550 live policing operations in the UK relating to Modern Slavery.
The NHS, West Midlands Police, local councils across the West Midlands and the West Midlands Anti-Slavery Network have been carrying out a roadshow across the West Midlands, as part of a special campaign to put a stop to the practice of modern slavery.
The roadshow has been taking place between September and October and to date nearly 800 people have been engaged with, made aware of modern slavery, how to spot the signs and have been given information on how to report any suspicious incidents. During the campaign, the roadshow has also directly resulted in five incidents being reported to the police or Modern Slavery number by members of the public concerned about potential modern slavery victims.
Today (18/10), on anti-slavery day we are in Stourbridge, in the town centre by the clock tower between 10am – 2.30pm. Come along and visit us to find out more about how you can help spot the signs of modern slavery, exploitation of vulnerable people in the West Midlands and urge people to report any suspicious.
Slavery is not a thing of the past and it is largely a hidden crime. Modern Slavery could be happening in your community and you could be coming into contact with victims without realising.
Trafficking in the West Midlands could be happening anywhere. There is no typical victim. They can be of any age, gender, class, nationality or ethnicity but are often being held against their will and forced to work with little or no pay. Modern slavery comes in many forms including sexual exploitation, being forced to commit crimes and working to pay off unrealistic debts.
We are working with our partners across the West Midlands because we know that numbers of modern slavery are increasing and this is why we need to work together with the public to help stamp out this crime.
The Modern Slavery Helpline, 08000 121 700 is there to help but if you feel someone is in immediate danger please call 999.
The UK Modern Slavery Helpline is available 24/7 to offer confidential, advice and support for any victim, statutory agency, business, or member of the public regarding modern slavery suspicions or concerns. Trained Helpline Advisers are available to discuss potential signs of modern slavery and discuss options for callers or victims in need.
Calls are free and the number to call is 08000 121 700 or people can contact the team online at www.modernslaveryhelpline.org/