Police support national Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking action
Suffolk Police worked with the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU) to take action in the fight against Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking during a national week of action 16 – 20 September 2019.
The focus of the week was to safeguard vulnerable sex workers and gather information and intelligence to be used in future operations.
A number of visits were made to addresses across the county. The majority of women spoken to fully engaged with officers and were given a range of signposting and safeguarding advice. One woman disclosed an assault that will now be investigated by police
On a separate visit officers had concerns that a woman was being exploited and have made a referral through the national referral mechanism and an investigation will take place.
Detective Inspector Steven Corbett said: "This action came about as a result of information we received from a number of sources. Modern slavery is hidden in every community and in many cases the victims are very vulnerable and are specifically targeted by their exploiters. It takes many forms but the most common include criminal exploitation, sexual exploitation, forced labour and domestic servitude.”
"Suffolk Police are committed to tackling this type of crime and we are determined to safeguard those who fall victim at the hands of criminals. However, we need information from the public in order to help us identify evidence of Modern Slavery.
"We want everyone to be aware of how to recognise the signs of modern slavery and come forward to tell the police, so we can take action and keep people safe”.
If you have suspicions that someone is being trafficked or exploited – or to get help and seek advice - you can contact the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700.
If you believe a person is in immediate danger, you should call 999 straight away.
You can also report suspicions of trafficking by calling Suffolk Police on 101 or via Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
How to recognise the signs of modern slavery
Whilst slavery can be hard to identify, there are some indicative signs you can be aware of:
PHYSICAL APPEARANCE – Victims may show signs of physical or psychological abuse, look malnourished or unkempt, or appear withdrawn
ISOLATION – Victims may rarely be allowed to travel on their own, seem under the control, influence of others, rarely interact or appear unfamiliar with their neighbourhood or where they work
POOR LIVING CONDITIONS – Victims may be living in dirty, cramped or overcrowded accommodation, and/or living and working at the same address
FEW OR NO PERSONAL EFFECTS – Victims may have no identification documents, have few personal possessions and always wear the same clothes day in day out. What clothes they do wear may not be suitable for their work
RESTRICTED FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT – Victims have little opportunity to move freely and may have had their travel documents retained, e.g. passports
UNUSUAL TRAVEL TIMES – They may be dropped off/collected for work on a regular basis either very early or late at night
RELUCTANT TO SEEK HELP – Victims may avoid eye contact, appear frightened or hesitant to talk to strangers and fear law enforcers for many reasons, such as not knowing who to trust or where to get help, fear of deportation, fear of violence to them or their family.
If you see something, say something and together we can break the cycle of exploitation.