Campaigners highlight signs of modern slavery
The Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority and Crimestoppers hope to raise awareness of the crime.
Signs that could help identify slavery victims are being flagged up as part of a new campaign launched on Wednesday.
Crimestoppers and the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) are calling on members of the public to report suspicions about possible modern slavery cases.
They say common signs that someone may be a victim include: an unkempt appearance, poor hygiene, being under the control of others, having no access to or control of their passport, avoiding eye contact and showing indications of injury, abuse or malnourishment.
Emily Van der Lely, Crimestoppers lead on slavery, 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.”
Earlier this year, the National Crime Agency warned modern slavery and human trafficking in the UK are much more prevalent than previously thought, with cases affecting “every large town and city in the country”.
Research by the Home Office in 2013 estimated there were between 10,000 and 13,000 potential victims of modern slavery.