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Local businesses helped to spot the signs of Modern Day Slavery

POLICE and Crime Commissioner, Jason Ablewhite has today (Wednesday 18th September) announced extra support to help local businesses across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough spot the signs of modern day slavery.

Following a successful bid for funding with Cambridgeshire’s Victim and Witness Hub, the money, worth £1,500, from the Modern Slavery Police Transformation Fund will help local businesses such as factories, banks and recruitment agencies understand what signs to look for and how to report concerns about potential victims within their workforces.

Victims of modern day slavery can often show signs of physical or psychological abuse, fear of authorities, and often carry out irregular activity at homes or addresses.

In Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, victims are able to receive free emotional and practical support from Specialist Victim and Witness Care Co-ordinators, funded by the Commissioner.  

The Victim and Witness Hub will use the money to put on a free event for businesses so they can find out more about protecting potentially vulnerable members of staff and what to do if they suspect someone is at risk.

Steve Welby, Head of the Victim and Witness Hub said:

“Whether crimes are reported to the police or not, the Victim and Witness Hub provides a clear pathway of support for victims of trafficking or modern day slavery. Additionally, two Specialist Victim and Witness Care Coordinators provide advice and guidance supporting any employers looking for advice on what to do next once they identify a potential victim.

“The event, organised by Cambridgeshire Constabulary’s Northern Exploitation and Modern Day Slavery Team (Detective Sergeant Chris Acourt and Police Constable Nick Webber) will include presentations from expert organisations and local services enabling employers to appoint ‘Champions’ who can share what they learn with other members of staff.”

Police and Crime Commissioner, Jason Ablewhite added:

“Modern day slavery exists in Cambridgeshire and it’s vital that employers understand how to spot the signs of people who may be at risk of becoming victims of slavery and what to do should that be the case. We all have a part to play in stopping this exploitation from happening. By reporting suspicions you could be saving lives.”

Force lead for modern slavery, Becky Tipping, said: “So far this year we have helped put three people behind bars for shocking offences relating to human trafficking and modern day slavery. In January, we also obtained a court order to safeguard potential victims against human trafficking after an investigation at a Fenland car wash. In July we carried out an operation in Peterborough with the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA). This led to us making one arrest and safeguarding three potential modern slavery victims.

 “Tackling modern slavery is a force priority and while we’re working hard to address it, we can’t do it alone. Increasing information in modern day slavery and human trafficking is key to protecting the vulnerable.”

 If you suspect someone is being exploited or is a victim of modern slavery in Cambridgeshire, report it by calling 101 or reporting online here.

More information on modern slavery and advice on how to spot the signs can be found on the force website.

Details about the event will be advertised over the coming weeks.