PCC urges the public to recognise and report signs of modern slavery

·2-min read
Peter McCall urges people to report modern slavery
Peter McCall urges people to report modern slavery

Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall, is urging the public to recognise the signs of modern slavery and report anything that seems suspicious.

Modern slavery is the exploitation of other people for personal or commercial gain.

Modern slaves are often brought into the country under the promise of a better life but are exploited by human traffickers and are forced to work long hours in unreasonable work conditions, forced to hand over their wages and given unsuitable lodgings.

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Mr McCall, said: "Many of us think of slavery as an atrocity of the past but it still happens in modern times and, sadly, does happen in Cumbria.

"People trapped in modern slavery are often forced to work for little to no pay that include physical labour, prostitution, organ removal, domestic work or forced into marriages – including children.

"It is so important that we can all recognise the signs of modern slavery so that we can help these individuals that are victimised, isolated and, often, abused."

Over the last 12 months in Cumbria, Police have made 12 arrests in relation to modern slavery with 34 victims being identified. Around 38% of victims were UK residents and 62% were from outside of the UK.

In the last year, drug-related labour has been the most common type of modern slavery within Cumbria with 23 cases involving drugs. Sex work came in second with six cases in the last twelve months.

Signs that someone may be a modern slave include that they are reluctant to speak or interact with strangers or are often nervous, or that they seem tired or starved.

Signs of illegal brothels, where victims are forced into sex work, may be a constant flow of people entering and exiting the house, various cars parking outside and those who live in the house rarely leaving the property.

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Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Donnelly is Cumbria Constabulary’s force lead for modern slavery.

He said: "People may in the past have thought cases such as this don’t happen in somewhere like Cumbria – but we have real examples which demonstrate this is an issue for this county as well as the rest of the UK.

"Both police and our partners have carried out significant work across Cumbria to raise public awareness of these crimes."



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