South Yorkshire Police marks International Day for the Abolition of Slavery

Date published: 02 December 2021 11:16
Dated: 02 December 2021 11:16:03

Slavery still exists and could be happening on your street or in your workplace.

That’s the message from South Yorkshire Police as the force marks the United Nations-led International Day for the Abolition of Slavery being held today (Thursday 2 December).

Detective Chief Inspector Nikki Leach is the force’s lead on its response to modern day slavery and human trafficking. And she said: “The people who commit these crimes are literally trading in people. They are trading in human misery.

“There may those surprised to hear that slavery is still taking place in 21st Century Britain – but it is, and it could be happening on your street. Slavery is closer than you think.

“Victims are forced to work illegally, against their will, in many different sectors including brothels, cannabis farms, nail bars, agriculture and within people’s homes.

“There is no typical victim of slavery – they can be men, women and children of all ages. But it is normally more prevalent among the most vulnerable, minority or socially excluded groups.

“Those who seek to exploit others for their own gain by getting involved in this vile trade try to ‘hide in plain sight’ in communities. They rely on their neighbours not being suspicious and not reporting concerns. But if people know the signs to spot and report things to us we can take action and possibly save victims from a life of servitude and misery.

“Events such as the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery are important as they help to shine a light on the issue and potentially make it that bit harder for criminals to operate.”

There are various signs to look out for. These include (but are not limited to):

• Workers only speak a little English (if any at all)

• They are unusually quiet or untidy looking

• Someone always talks and takes payment for them

• Workers are dressed inappropriately for the job

• Workers seem uneasy and under pressure

• Is there a container or caravan on site where workers could be living?

• If it is a house – are mattresses piled up outside?

• Do people come and go from the house on a regular basis?

The International Day for the Abolition of Slavery marks the date of the adoption in 1949 by the General Assembly of the United Nations Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others.

If you suspect slavery is happening to you or someone you know - report it by calling 101, or 999 if it's an emergency. Or you can call the Modern Slavery Helpline on 0800 0121 700. Alternatively, you can report it online.

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