South Yorkshire Police issue advice on how to spot signs of modern day slavery

South Yorkshire Police has issued advice on how to spot signs of modern day slavery in a bid to help those being exploited for cash.

By Claire Lewis
Thursday, 3rd December 2020, 10:23 am

Offenders exploit victims of modern day slavery and human trafficking through the sale of victims’ services for labour, sex work and criminality.

Victims are often in financial ‘debt’ to those who help them into the UK and are threatened and intimidated to ‘work’ to pay back what they owe.

Victims often end up becoming trapped in a vicious cycle where they are unable to raise the alarm for fear of alerting the authorities to their background, especially if they are illegal immigrants.

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South Yorkshire Police has issued advice on how to spot potential signs of modern day slavery

Their bank accounts are often controlled by others, leaving them with limited access to cash.

Detective Sergeant Susannah Wagstaff said: “At the heart of this type of crime, there are criminals making significant sums of money from the exploitation of others.

“Imagine having a job but no access to your wages, or having no control over your own bank account. We need your help to identify persons subject to this type of exploitation.”

She said signs of exploitation include evidence of physical abuse, including untreated injuries, branding or scarring; visible distress and an unusual distrust of law enforcement.

She said victims may be withdrawn, wear the same clothes for days and appear unkempt. They may also wear inappropriate clothes for the conditions.

Some victims may only be able to communicate through someone else speaking on their behalf and they may appear dependent on another for travel, food or money.

The may work excessive hours but only ever have a limited amount of cash.

DS Wagstaff added: “By putting a stop to people being mistreated and exploited, we can significantly disrupt the work of individuals and gangs do harm to our communities through serious and violent crime.

“If you have concerns that an individual or group of people are being exploited, please contact South Yorkshire Police.”

Call 101, or 999 in an emergency.

The Modern Slavery Helpline can be contacted 24 hours a day on 0800 0121700.