To mark this day, the North Yorkshire and City of York Modern Slavery Partnership is helping to raise awareness about the perils of modern slavery along with highlighting the support that is readily available to victims.
The partnership involves the respective county and city Safeguarding Adults Boards, Safeguarding Children Partnerships and Community Safety Partnerships, along with the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner and North Yorkshire Police.
We’re encouraging people in our communities to #ReportModernSlavery.
What is modern slavery?
Modern slavery is the illegal exploitation of people for personal or commercial gain.
It covers a wide range of abuse and exploitation including sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, forced labour, criminal exploitation and organ harvesting.
Victims of modern slavery can be any age, gender, nationality and ethnicity. They are tricked or threatened into work and may feel unable to leave or report the crime through fear or intimidation. They may not recognise themselves as a victim.
Anti-Slavery International estimate that 40 million children and adults are trapped in slavery in every country in the world, including in the UK and in our area too.
Signs to watch out for
Modern slavery could be happening in your community so it’s important you know the signs that could indicate someone is a victim of this crime.
The signs aren’t always obvious but there are some that you may notice:
do they look scruffy, malnourished or injured?
are they acting anxious, afraid or unable to make eye contact?
are they doing long hours, wearing unsuitable clothing or have the wrong equipment for the job?
is where they are living overcrowded, poorly maintained or are the curtains always closed?
do they behave like they’re being instructed by someone else, picked up/dropped off at the same time and place every day or don’t have access to money or identification?
Types of slavery
Types of modern slavery include:
Human trafficking – adults and children are traded so they can be exploited by others for commercial gain. Find out more about human trafficking.
Forced labour – victims are forced to work against their will, often working very long hours for little or no pay in dire conditions under verbal or physical threats of violence to them or their families. It can happen in many sectors of the economy.
Sexual exploitation – victims are pressurised to perform non-consensual or abusive sexual acts, such as prostitution, escort work and pornography. Women and children make up most victims, but men can also be affected.
Criminal exploitation – often controlled and maltreated, victims are forced into crimes such as cannabis cultivation or pickpocketing against their will. They might also have their benefits taken over by their exploiter.
Organ harvesting – the illegal removal of a person's internal organs which can then be sold.
Communities have an important role to play in recognising abuse. If you recognise any of the above signs and suspect someone may be a victim of modern slavery, please tell someone and #ReportModernSlavery. You will always be taken seriously, and protection and support are readily available.
To report a suspicion or seek advice you can contact the Modern Slavery Helpline confidentially on 08000 121 700. This is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
You can report modern slavery online or call us on 101 at any time to report an incident. If you have a hearing or speech impairment, use our textphone service on 18001 101.
Always call 999 if there is a crime in action or immediate threat to life. If you have a hearing or speech impairment, use our textphone service 18000 or text us on 999 if you’ve pre-registered with the emergencySMS service.
If you have any information about the mistreatment of workers, labour providers operating without a licence or a business, you can contact Gangmasters & Labour Abuse Authority on 0800 432 0804 or go to www.gla.gov.uk
Victims can also seek help from Supporting Victims in North Yorkshire whether the incident has been reported to the police. You can visit the website www.supportingvictims.org or call 01609 643100.
Detective Inspector Cheryl Quinn, North Yorkshire Police’s Safeguarding team lead for Missing Persons and Exploitation, said:
“Modern slavery and human trafficking are often considered hidden crimes and not thought to occur in the UK and in areas such as North Yorkshire and York.
“That’s why Anti-Slavery Day is so important as it provides a prime opportunity to open people’s eyes to what is going on around them and for them to take action to help bring often desperate people to safety.
“Raising awareness in this way is invaluable to the North Yorkshire and City of York Modern Slavery Partnership in effectively tackling this issue and providing support to extremely vulnerable people.
“Our overriding message to residents and businesses is to #ReportModernSlavery to the Modern Slavery Helpline 08000 121 700 which is open 24 hours every day.
“Or #ReportModernSlavery via the North Yorkshire Police website or call us on 101.
“Together, through the work of the North Yorkshire and City of York Modern Slavery Partnership, we can help to stamp out this terrible crime and bring vulnerable victims to safety.”
Cllr Denise Craghill, Executive Member for Housing and Safer Communities at City of York Council, said:
“We all have a part to play in stopping slavery from destroying people’s lives. As the partnership works to ensure that businesses adhere to rules and regulations around employees’ rights, we can all look out for any signs of forced labour and help safeguard the most vulnerable in our communities.”
North Yorkshire County Council’s leader and executive member for safer communities, Cllr Carl Les, said:
“As a major employer, the County Council is absolutely committed to preventing slavery and human trafficking.
“We recognise that modern slavery is a crime that is prevalent across many industries in the UK, from car washes and nail bars to restaurants, takeaways and food processing warehouses.
“However low the risk might be considered, we are committed to ensuring these crimes do not occur in our corporate activities or our supply chains.
“So, I would reiterate the message of our police colleagues – be alert to the signs of modern slavery and #ReportModernSlavery to help to eliminate this crime, which takes such an awful toll on its victims.”
If you work in the agriculture sector either as an employer or worker, the Farm Work Welfare app developed by The Clewer Initiative to provide information about modern slavery and how to spot the signs. The app can be access by going to theclewerinitiative.org/farmworkwelfare
The Salvation Army Immediate and intensive support to ensure victims of trafficking are given the best possible chance of recovery.
Migrant Help Support services for adult victims of human trafficking.
Kalayaan Advice, advocacy and support services for migrant domestic workers.
Medaille Trust Helps women, young men and children who have been freed from human trafficking.
Barnardo's Provides direct, specialist support to trafficked children.
Anti-slavery Human-rights organisation working to eliminate slavery throughout the world.