Independent charity Crimestoppers is today partnering with the Gangmasters Licensing and Abuse Authority (GLAA) to help people in Wiltshire ‘Spot The Signs’ of slavery in a bid to tackle this growing issue.
Modern Day Slavery takes a variety of forms, many of which operate openly in public places. Whilst anyone can become a victim of this crime, it predominantly affects vulnerable people and immigrant populations with a bias towards industries such as car washes, nail bars and agriculture.
There are many common signs of slavery that victims of abuse share and it is these that Crimestoppers and the GLAA have come together to promote in a bid to highlight this issue and encourage people to report suspicions.
Signs to spot include:
· Show signs of injury, abuse and malnourishment
· Look unkempt, often in the same clothing and have poor hygiene
· Be under the control and influence of others
· Live in cramped, dirty, overcrowded accommodation
· Have no access or control of their passport or identity documents
· Appear scared, avoid eye contact, seem untrusting
· Be collected very early and/or returned late at night on a regular basis
· May have inappropriate clothing for the work they are performing, and/or a lack of safety equipment
· May be isolated from the local community and their family
Crimestoppers’ statistics alone show a 136% national increase in information received on slavery in the past six months compared to the previous six month period. It is this general rise in slavery figures nationwide which reflects why the GLAA has recently been granted a broader remit and stronger powers to tackle labour exploitation across the economy, introducing the capacity to search and seize evidence and investigate modern slavery where it relates to labour abuse and other offences.
Emily Van der Lely, Crimestoppers Regional Manager for Wiltshire, said: “It’s so awful to hear that slavery is even an issue in this day and age, but we want to reassure victims that it is an issue that is taken extremely seriously, and make it clear to perpetrators that they will be found and prosecuted.
“By launching this campaign, we will educate the public as to the signs to spot and let them know that they can take action on this horrendous crime, without compromising their anonymity. They will never have to give a statement to police, or go to court. No-one will ever know where the information came from.”
Paul Broadbent, Chief Executive of the GLAA, said: “The public need to understand and be aware that modern slavery is happening right now, in and around the communities they live.
“Exploiting someone for their labour, forcing them to work, using people as commodities – these practices are abhorrent and we need the public’s help to stamp it out. Crimestoppers’ support will be invaluable in giving people the confidence to report their concerns.”
The campaign will predominantly spread the message using social media, particularly Facebook and Twitter. Crimestoppers is also partnering with local councils and other organisations to encourage them to promote the campaign through their social media channels, but also to display posters and leaflets which can be downloaded from the Crimestoppers website at crimestoppers-uk.org/modernslavery.
Crimestoppers is the independent charity that provides the 0800 555 111 telephone number and online form at crimestoppers-uk.org. We take information in around 200 languages and guarantee that those who contact us will remain 100% anonymous, they will never have to give a statement to the police or go to court.
Our extensive language translation service, whether it is our live telephone service or online information form translation, enables communities to contact us even when English is not their first language. The Crimestoppers’ website also has five foreign language microsites in Polish, Romanian, Lithuanian, Gujarati and Bengali with more extensive Crimestoppers information that explains our service, something that we are looking to expand further in the future.
If you have any information, please contact Crimestoppers 100% anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through our Anonymous Online Form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org, safe in the knowledge that you will never have to give a statement to the police or go to court.