Officers across the county will be out in force this week to raise awareness of modern slavery and human trafficking.
There have been recent cases across Lancashire and our message is that it is something that could be happening where you live.
From Monday, October 19 to Friday, October 23, they will be carrying out educational and operational visits with their partners to premises such as takeaways, nail bars, car washes, massage parlours and businesses that employ a large number of foreign workers.
Officers will also be speaking to the public in a bid to give them a better understanding of what modern slavery and human trafficking is.
Put simply, slavery or trafficking is the movement of a person from one place to another – this could be country to country, town to town, or even as simple as one room in a building to another – into conditions of exploitation, using deception, coercion, abuse of power or the abuse of the person’s vulnerability.
Detective Superintendent Sue Cawley, head of Lancashire Constabulary’s Public Protection Unit, said: “Modern slavery and human trafficking can cross over into various other areas of crime and in many cases Organised Crime Groups are responsible for the movement of people into and around the UK.
“It is a complex area of policing and identifying it can be difficult, but we are already making progress in Lancashire.
“Only last month we became the first force in England and Wales to obtain an interim Slavery and Trafficking Risk Order against a man in Nelson. The order is made to protect vulnerable people who are at risk of exploitation and servitude, and in November an application will be heard for a full order to be granted.
“In June and July we executed warrants in Blackburn and Preston in which three Romanian women were found to be the victims of slavery and trafficking and are now being supported back in their home country with those arrested and charged awaiting further court proceedings.”
In Lancashire over the past 5 years we have made 25 arrests for offences linked to trafficking and slavery and over the past year we have seen 32 referrals of vulnerable adults and children who were identified as potential victims or at risk.
Detective Superintendent Sue Cawley added: “Although figures would suggest there isn’t a huge problem in our county, we know it is happening. Our aim this week is to continue to build upon the work we’ve already achieved in making people across Lancashire aware of modern slavery and encouraging people to report any suspicions to us. It’s important to remember that we won’t stop after this week and that work is undertaken 365 days a year.
“Sometimes, victims are unaware they are victims or are in fear of those controlling them which can prevent them from seeking help. I would urge anyone who feels they may be a victim or anyone who suspects that someone could be a victim of slavery or trafficking to contact us on 101 knowing that we can help them.”
Clive Grunshaw, Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire, said: “Modern slavery is a despicable crime that has no place in Lancashire.
“By working with partner agencies I want to ensure that everyone plays their part in tackling the issue, supporting victims and raising awareness.
“I am fully behind the great work of Lancashire Constabulary and am proud to support the week of action.”
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