West Yorkshire’s PCC warns human traffickers on Anti-Slavery Day (18 Oct 2018)

Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) is supporting National Anti-Slavery Day and sending a clear message to human traffickers.

Anti-Slavery Day is held on 18 October every year and is an opportunity to highlight and raise awareness of human trafficking and modern slavery as well as encouraging everyone to do what they can to help stop it.

Mark, who is the National PCC Lead on Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery, said: "I want to use Anti-Slavery Day this year to target the perpetrators of these awful abuses and crimes directly and say that your days of benefitting from human suffering are numbered.

"Working in partnership we are continuing to see progress across all areas in tackling human trafficking and modern slavery which is a key priority in my Police and Crime Plan.

"We have strong legislation in the Modern Slavery Act, partnerships are growing, information sharing and training are becoming more efficient and widespread, which is all enhanced by awareness of these crimes increasing across the board."

A recent successful case saw a human trafficking gang sentenced to a combined total of over 24 years in prison following an operation by West Yorkshire Police and partners.

Mark's comments also follow a busy start to the week including twin conferences held in West Yorkshire and the West Midlands looking at the links between modern slavery and homelessness along with chairing a meeting of the National Anti-Trafficking and Modern Slavery Network for PCCs and other key agencies across England and Wales.

Mark added: "This week's events have seen a tangible step forward in improving our combined understanding and safeguards for people vulnerable to being exploited.

"The joint conferences were attended by hundreds of partners and outcomes include work to further enhance information sharing and preventative measures, training and awareness raising for frontline staff as well as service users including those who are homeless, rough sleeping or in temporary accommodation who may be at high risk of being exploited.

"Our communities also continue to have a key role. We need them to report any suspicions, no matter how small, to the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700 or to the Police. General indicators of human trafficking or modern slavery can include signs of physical or psychological abuse, fear of authorities, irregular activity at homes or addresses, poor living conditions and working long hours for little or no pay. By reporting any such suspicions literally lives could be rescued and saved."

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© Copyright West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner 2018