South Yorkshire Police team in crackdown on modern day slavery

A police team is tackling modern day surgery
A police team is tackling modern day surgery

A police team set up to tackle modern day slavery is appealing for help in identifying victims.

South Yorkshire Police's anti-slavery unit, which investigates modern day slavery and human trafficking, is responsible for building up intelligence to help identify and protect victims.

Staff want help in identifying those who exploit modern day slaves.

They also want members of the public with concerns or suspicions about possible victims to come forward.

Detective Sergeant Nikki Leach, who runs the unit, said: “Through proactive operations we aim to identify those who exploit vulnerable people, as well as identify and protect victims alongside help from a wide range of partner organisations and charities.

"Across South Yorkshire, the two most prevalent forms of modern slavery we tend to see are labour exploitation and sexual exploitation. These two strands are those the public are most likely to spot as well.

“We are hoping to give you the necessary knowledge to help us to build up an intelligence picture of modern slavery so that we can continue to tackle it.

“Anyone can be a victim of modern slavery, but typically it is someone who is vulnerable either due to their age or background for example.

“One example is people being brought into the country on false pretences and promised a better life but instead they are kept in crowded accommodation and exploited, being forced to work long hours for little or no money.”

DS Leach said: “As a member of the public, you can help the team to tackle modern slavery across South Yorkshire, as unfortunately this is happening on our doorstep.

“We want people to look twice, particularly when visiting businesses such as car washes, takeaways and nail bars for example. If you have any concerns about what you see, then please call us so we can look in to it. The chances are that if something doesn’t feel right to you, it probably isn’t.”

DS Leech said signs to look out for are people with physical injuries and those who work unusually long hours and live at their place of work.

Victims may also appeal emotionally distressed, withdrawn and have limited freedom of movement.

Call South Yorkshire Police on 101 or the Modern Slavery Helpline on 0800 0121 700.