Not in my workplace modern slavery campaign (28 Jan 2019)

MS Not In My WorkplaceThe second part of a publicity campaign to help people know how to spot the signs of modern slavery has been launched.

In August the Force and the Police and Crime Commissioner spear-headed a campaign; 'Modern Slavery: It's Not on My Street?' to encourage residents to help prevent the crime by knowing how to spot possible signs of it.

Now people at work are being encouraged to know potential danger signs to look out for to help stop a crime which trades in human misery.

The 'Modern Slavery - Not in my Workplace?' campaign urges colleagues to think if someone in their workplace could be a victim of modern slavery and if so to contact the Modern Slavery helpline on 08000 121700 or visit www.modernslaveryhelpline.org

Modern slavery and human trafficking are crimes that often 'hide in plain sight' and it is thought that they are very under-reported.

Temporary / Assistant Chief Constable Mark Ridley of West Yorkshire Police, said:

"Modern slavery and human trafficking are crimes that trade in people. They are horrific crimes and have no place in 21st century Britain.

"Our last campaign highlighted how it could be happening on your street - we know it takes place but we also know that people don't tend to know it is happening because they don't know what to look out for.

"Victims don't walk around with a sign identifying themselves as those needing help.

"It's the same in the workplace. You could be working next to someone who is a victim of this appalling crime and needs our help. Through the West Yorkshire Anti-Trafficking and Modern Slavery Network we are working with partners to support businesses and achieve transparency in their supply chains.

"By knowing the signs to look out for you could help that person to be rescued from a miserable existence and given the support and help they need to rebuild their life.

"People who are trafficked are often forced to work long hours for little or no pay, in poor conditions and under verbal or physical threats of violence to them or their families.

"If you are in any doubt please call the helpline and let us do the rest."

As part of the campaign the Force has designed some indicator cards and posters which reinforce the message about what to look out for. These resources will be distributed to the public and businesses via our Neighbourhood Policing Teams and Crime Prevention Officers.

It is being further supported with social media messages on the Force's social media accounts,

Potential signs to look out for include (this is not an exhaustive list)

  • Requirement to pay for tools and food.
  • Seem under control, told not to speak to others.
  • Picked up in a van, same time same place every day.
  • Excessive work hours/few breaks.
  • Exploitation in this case can occur in various industries including construction, manufacturing, car washes, laying driveways, hospitality, food packaging, agriculture, maritime and beauty (nail bars).
  • Work conditions for victims are usually poor i.e. not provided with protective clothing and the area of work being unsafe.
  • Control mechanisms are used to keep workers from leaving for example, withholding important documents.
  • Withholding of wages or excessive wage reductions.
  • Pay that is less than minimum wage.

T/ACC Ridley added: "Do you recognise any of these signs in your workplace or on your commute to and from work? Or perhaps when going about your daily duties; shopping, going to the gym, walking the dog.

"Take care to look, see what is happening, and then report to either Modern Slavery Helpline or to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. We are all responsible in contributing valuable intelligence to unearth cases that can be investigated and free those exploited."

Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) who is also the national Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) lead on Modern Slavery and added:

"By focusing this latest element of the campaign on the workplace, we are taking an approach which is leading the way both locally and nationally.

"Only last week did the Interim Independent Review of the Modern Day Slavery Act publish recommendations about the roles of businesses and their supply chains.

"It is a subject which I have discussed in West Yorkshire and at the National Anti-Trafficking and Modern Slavery Network (NATMSN) and something which I have personally provided evidence upon at a recent Home Affairs Select Committee (HASC).

"By encouraging people to help identify the signs of these truly horrific activities and abuses, we can start to turn the tide against the perpetrators and help those who are most at risk and vulnerable in our communities.

"The indicator cards and posters that are being shared, will aim to raise further awareness of modern day slavery across both the public and private sector, whilst ensuring that employers fully understand their obligations in combatting such practices."

© Copyright West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner 2019