Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire | WYPCC

Report suspicions and help save victims this Anti-Slavery Day

18th October 2019

"You could be saving lives" is the message to the public from West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson on Anti-Slavery Day.

Mr Burns-Williamson, who is also the National Lead PCC on Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery is supporting the national day and asking for the public's help to save potential victims.

The plea for action comes after a survivor of modern slavery, who spent 15 years trapped in forced labour, spoke to the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner to help raise public awareness of the issues.

Four videos of the survivor were recently released and are being promoted again today to mark Anti-Slavery Day.

The videos highlight the treatment the survivor suffered at the hands of criminals and the local partnership support he has subsequently received.

Mark Burns-Williamson, said: "The survivor's story is harrowing and demonstrates the very real conditions victims of these awful crimes can be forced to live and work in. However we can all play a part in stopping these abuses and rescuing victims.

"We need you 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 suspicions you could be saving lives.

"The survivor is now safe and being support by a fantastic organisation, the Palm Cove Society, who have enabled him to rebuild his life and live independently."

Mark added: "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. A recent example was the national partnership conferenceheld in Birmingham covering Protecting Children from Exploitation which was attended by around 250 specialists.

"We have strong legislation in the Modern Slavery Act, dedicated Police Human Trafficking Teams, partnerships such as the National Anti-Trafficking and Modern Slavery Network 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."

Detective Chief Inspector Ian Scott (Protective Services - Crime) is the Force lead on Modern Slavery, and said: "Modern slavery is an abhorrent crime. Those who commit it are trading in human misery and look to conceal their crimes by 'hiding in plain sight.'

"By knowing what modern slavery is people can help shine a light on this vile trade and help save the lives of victims.

"I would urge people to watch these videos and see for themselves the bravery this victim has shown in not only coming forward but then reliving his ordeal so he could help others.

"Anti-Slavery Day is important as it helps us to continue pushing the message as far and as wide as possible, helping people to know the potential signs. It could be happening on your street or in your workplace."

The videos can be watched below, click the image to watch them on YouTube.