Wisbech, March and King’s Lynn ‘potential hotspots’ for human trafficking and modern slavery
- Credit: Archant
Three towns - Wisbech, March and King’s Lynn – have been identified as potential hotspots for human trafficking and modern slavery.
And there is emerging evidence of forced labour, says a group set up to combat traffickers by using local communities to act as their eyes and ears.
STOP THE TRAFFIK visited Wisbech on Wednesday to launch their campaign locally with Cambridgeshire Police and Barclays Bank, one of the organisations backing it.
Sarah Brown of, STOP THE TRAFFIK, said: “We are building intelligence on the global picture of human trafficking and modern slavery and have identified Wisbech, March and King’s Lynn as potential hotspots for these illicit crimes.
“In particular, we are seeing examples of forced labour. Given its clandestine nature, one of the biggest barriers to stopping human trafficking is the inability to spot it.”
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She praised Barclays for working with them “to raise awareness and build resilience within the local community”.
The campaign to help people recognise the key indicators of human trafficking in their community and report their suspicions was launched at Barclays’ branch, Old Market, Wisbech.
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Although the campaign is targeted across all nationalities in the Wisbech, March and King’s Lynn areas, it will have particular focus on the Lithuanian community and literature at the event was printed in both English and Lithuanian.
Detective Chief Inspector Rebecca Tipping, tactical lead for modern slavery, said, “Combating modern slavery is a force priority and it’s vital that we get the public’s support.
“This project adds to ongoing work by the constabulary to help make people aware of the indicators of modern slavery and encourage reporting.
“Something might seem relatively insignificant, but it may form part of a larger picture that will help us to safeguard vulnerable people and bring the perpetrators to justice.”
Anyone who wants to report a suspicion can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or can seek further advice from the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700. If somebody is at immediate risk, call 999.
Human trafficking and modern slavery are thought to be amongst the most widespread crimes in the world, affecting millions of men, women and children each day. Traffickers and slave masters use whatever means they have at their disposal to coerce, deceive and force individuals into a life of abuse, servitude and inhumane treatment.
Contemporary slavery takes many forms, from women forced into prostitution, to child slavery in agriculture supply chains or whole families working for nothing to pay off generational debts.
Barclays director Paul Horlick said there remains a big problem with human trafficking and modern slavery, with cases affecting every large town and city in the country
“Barclays has staff that see customers every day so we are working with STOP THE TRAFFIK and other partners to help these staff and the public recognise the signs and report their suspicions,” he said.