People in Northamptonshire are being asked to look out for the signs of human trafficking and modern slavery as part of a new campaign launched by the county’s police force.
A dedicated intelligence unit of five specialist officers was set up by Northamptonshire Police six months ago to focus on cases of exploitation including forced labour, sexual exploitation, domestic servitude and benefit fraud.
Human trafficking is the second most profitable crime in the UK and is a growing crime in Northamptonshire.
Detective Inspector Julia Potts, who leads the new team, said officers had already rescued five victims of human trafficking and seized £50,000 cash.
She said: “We need people across the county to be aware of the signs to look out for which may indicate somebody is a victim of human trafficking or modern slavery.
“This could be multiple occupancy of a property with people being collected early in the morning and brought home late at night.
“It could be that you notice workers are not dressed appropriately for outdoor work including gardening, washing cars or in agriculture.
“It could be that somebody is working as what is sometimes called a ‘modern-day Cinderella’ in domestic servitude or being made to work in the sex trade in ‘pop-up brothels’ against their will.
“Often victims don’t have any ID documents or cash and they are effectively trapped. Any vulnerable person can be a victim of human trafficking, it could be somebody who doesn’t speak English but that’s not necessarily the case – it can happen to anybody who has some form of vulnerability.”
For help and advice visit www.modernslavery.co.uk or call the helpline number 0800 0121 700
To report call 101 or call Northamptonshire Police on 101.
In an emergency always call 999.