POLICE and Crime Commissioner, Jason Ablewhite is today (Tuesday 30th July) calling on members of the public to spot the signs of human trafficking and to report any suspicious behaviour to the police.
Victims of human trafficking or modern slavery often show signs of physical or psychological abuse, fear of authorities, and carry out irregular activity at homes or addresses. They often have poor living conditions and work long hours for little or no pay.
In Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, victims of trafficking and modern day slavery are able to receive support from Victim and Witness Care Co-ordinators, funded by the Commissioner. Victim Care Coordinators join police officers and multi-agency colleagues on police operations and checks on houses of multiple occupancy (HMOs). Their input has changed the way these visits are approached; treating people as victims first, not criminals, educating them of their rights and supporting them to seek help.
Support offered includes liaison between agencies and service providers and/or signposting or referral to locally commissioned services. It can also include housing or financial management and support to return to victims home countries.
In 2017/18 a total of 252 victims accessed support.
One of the posts is job-shared by a Lithuanian and a Romanian-speaking member of staff enabling the wider Victim and Witness Hub to support both nationalities in their native language and many others through common languages.
Police and Crime Commissioner, Jason Ablewhite said: “Throughout the whole support relationship, the Care Coordinators advocate on their victim’s behalf in a manner which empowers them to make their own choices. They provide specialist expertise to police officers and staff to make sure migrant victims of trafficking are dealt with sensitively. We all have a part to play in stopping this exploitation from happening. By reporting suspicions you could be saving lives.”
DCI Alan Page, the Constabulary’s tactical lead for modern slavery and human trafficking, said:
“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. We work closely with partners, including the National Crime Agency (NCA) and the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA).
“Slavery still exists in Cambridgeshire and it’s important that people are aware of the signs of modern slavery and human trafficking, and report any concerns to us.”