26 Oct Awareness raised for human trafficking and modern slavery
Two weeks of action, which ran from October 10 to 21, saw Essex Police and its partners raise awareness of modern slavery and human trafficking to encourage people to spot the signs and report suspicious activity.
Officers conducted visits at a number of locations across Essex and spoke to employees to assess their working and living conditions. Our Operational Support Group joined forces with Community Policing Teams and Intelligence Officers as well as our local partners, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), Border Force and Immigration officials.
During the activity, 16 people were arrested for various offences and two referrals were made to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM). A number of referrals were made to the HMRC around the underpayment of staff.
At Stansted Airport, officers teamed up with the Metropolitan Police, the Romanian Embassy and Border Force for three days of action as they targeted specific flights to identify potential trafficking victims.
Thanks to the awareness generated by the campaign, officers were alerted to a potential victim of modern slavery on Anti-Slavery Day, Tuesday October 18.
The man, who attended Grays Police Station, explained how he had been lured to the UK with the promise of a better life but had instead been forced to work seven days a week with no pay.
Officers from the Thurrock Community Policing Team are working to ensure he receives the appropriate support and have referred him to the NRM.
Modern slavery includes people who are forced to work against their will or controlled by a so-called `employer’ who uses mental or physical abuse or the threat of abuse. Alongside forced labour, modern day slavery also includes crimes such as sexual exploitation.
“Modern slavery is about power, dominance and control over vulnerable victims who are too scared or unable to seek help.
“Essex Police is committed to raising awareness of this type of crime and we will continue to work closely with our partners to deliver effective support to victims and prosecute those involved.”
Inspector Lee Argent, local policing and partnership inspector for Thurrock
For more information on how to spot the signs and how to report human trafficking and modern slavery, please call the National Modern Slavery helpline on 0800 0121 700 or visit www.essex.police.uk/beavoice