POLICE and their community partners are highlighting some of the key issues to help tackle modern slavery and human trafficking in the local area.

Today marks Anti Slavery Day.

Modern slavery is thought to be one of the most lucrative forms of organised crime, with the International Labour Organisation estimating its global annual worth at £150 billion.

In the UK, there are an estimated 136,000 men, women and children trapped in modern slavery.

Criminals view slavery as low-risk in terms of enforcement and high-reward, in the fact that victims can be exploited repeatedly, generating thousands in illegal profits each year.

Slavery can come in a number of forms, such as:

  • Forced labour– working long hours with little money, under threat and in fear
  • Sexual exploitation– forced prostitution
  • Servitude– being completely subjected to someone more powerful
  • Forced organ donation
  • Forced criminality– cannabis cultivation, begging, shop theft and drug delivering/dealing

Some industries, such as car washes, nail bars, food packaging and processing, construction, care homes, hospitality and catering, fishing, restaurant and takeaways, are more susceptible to labour exploitation.

In recent years, North Yorkshire Police has been working hard to establish a picture of what modern slavery and human trafficking looks like in North Yorkshire.

Partnership working is very important to building their understanding of modern slavery. Sharing information and intelligence enables a multi-agency response, allowing police to run operations alongside colleagues from the Home Office, HM Revenue and Customs, the Gangmasters & Labour Abuse Authority, local authorities and trading standards, and the Environment Agency.

In 2018, the North Yorkshire and City of York Modern Slavery Partnership was established, working alongside the Modern Slavery and Illegal and Exploitative Working Group.

Please make a report to North Yorkshire Police on 101, option 1, and speak to the Force Control Room. If an emergency response is required, always dial 999.

You can also contact the Modern Slavery Helpline in confidence – either by phone on 0800 0121700 or the website www.modernslaveryhelpline.org. They have a team of interpreters covering more than 70 different languages.

If you wish to remain anonymous, please contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 or go to the website https://crimestoppers-uk.org/keeping-safe/community-family/modern-slavery.

If you have any information about the mistreatment of workers, labour providers operating without a licence or a business, you can contact Gangmasters & Labour Abuse Authority on 0800 432 0804 or go to https://www.gla.gov.uk/.

If you work in the agriculture sector either as an employer or worker, the Farm Work Welfare app developed by The Clewer Initiative to provide information about modern slavery and how to spot the signs. The app can be access by going to: https://theclewerinitiative.org/farmworkwelfare

Seek help from Supporting Victims in North Yorkshire whether or not the incident has been reported to the police. Please go to www.supportingvictims.org or call 01609 643100.