Nottinghamshire Police is urging people to look out for the signs of modern slavery - and help free vulnerable people from a life of misery.
It comes after a 43-year-old man admitted human trafficking, forced labour and fraud in relation to two men at Nottingham Crown Court yesterday (Monday, June 5).
Detective Superintendent Austin Fuller, of Nottinghamshire Police, urged people to be vigilant for signs of “the slave next door” and report any suspicions they may have.
He said: “Unfortunately the people who become victims of modern slavery are some of the most vulnerable people in society and usually need outside intervention to break free from those who are exploiting them.
“The victims are forced to work with no control over their own finances and almost invariably too afraid to seek help because of fear of violence.
“They are often hidden in plain sight and can sometimes be ‘the slave next door’ for years before alarm bells start ringing.
“We are urging people to look out for the signs of modern slavery and report any suspicions as soon as possible. Your intervention could help set them free from a life of fear, desperation and hopelessness.”
Paddy Tipping, Nottinghamshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “Sadly, slavery still exists. It affects some of the most vulnerable people in our communities and is driven by the insatiable greed of those who exploit others for financial gain.
“As yesterday’s case illustrates, people are being abused in everyday workplaces. Some are forced to work as prostitutes and, shockingly, some face organ harvesting.
“If anyone suspects someone is a victim of modern slavery, please speak out. There is no harm in being mistaken, but well-meaning silence could allow this hideous crime to continue.”
The national Modern Slavery Helpline has compiled a list of indicators that may suggest someone is a victim of modern slavery:
Physical Appearance - show signs of physical or psychological abuse, look malnourished or unkempt, or appear withdrawn and neglected. They may have untreated injuries;
Isolation - 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 - Be living in dirty, cramped or overcrowded accommodation, and/or living and working at the same address;
Restricted freedom of movement - 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. Have little opportunity to move freely and may have had their travel documents retained, e.g. passports;
Unusual travel times - Be dropped off / collected for work on a regular basis either very early or late at night;
Reluctant to seek help - 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 want to report a suspicion or potential crime call the national Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700 or complete an online report at www.modernslaveryhelpline.org/report. To report modern slavery in the workplace, call the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) on 0800 432 0804.