Specialist staff in Cambridgeshire helped 427 victims of modern slavery and domestic abuse in a year
- Credit: Ulrike May from Pixabay
Specialist staff helped 427 modern slavery and domestic abuse victims from 17 different nationalities in Cambridgeshire between April 2019 and March 2020, it has emerged.
The figures - which also revealed that 397 of these people were victims of violence - were released as a reminder that modern slavery continues to happen during the coronavirus lockdown.
Alina Jablonske, a Specialist Victim and Witness Care Co-ordinator in Cambridgeshire, said: “In these challenging times we continue to support modern day slavery victims.
“If anything, the pandemic highlights the importance of protecting the most vulnerable.
“It is essential that businesses continue identifying potential victims of modern day slavery and know that we can provide support and advice for what to do next.”
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In Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, victims can access free emotional and practical support from two Specialist Victim and Witness Care Co-ordinators based in the Victim and Witness Hub.
These positions are funded by Cambridgeshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner’s office, and work has continued throughout the coronavirus lockdown.
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Employers can still also seek advice if they are unsure about what to do if they have identified a potential victim.
In 2019, there were 71 modern day slavery crimes recorded in Cambridgeshire - an increase of 37pc from 2018.
Traffickers have been known to con businesses into employing victims of modern day slavery under false pretences - and pocketing victims’ pay.
Earlier this month, Dame Sara Thornton, the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner warned traffickers may also be taking advantage of vulnerable people with businesses rushing to recruit new workers as the lockdown measures are relaxed.
Acting Police and Crime Commissioner, Ray Bisby, said: “Sadly, modern day slavery and human trafficking continues to exist in our county and we all have a part to play in reporting any suspicions we have of vulnerable people being exploited.
“As we begin to plan our COVID-19 recovery and adjust to a different way of life, we all must be vigilant against traffickers looking to potentially exploit the circumstances presented by COVID-19.”
For more information, visit Cambridgeshire’s Victim Services website.