Independent charity Crimestoppers is partnering with the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) to help the UK public “Spot The Signs” of slavery in a bid to tackle this growing issue.
The move follows a similar initiative by the Scottish Government, which highlighted the involvement of many hand car wash operations in the racket.
Crimestoppers’ statistics show a 126% increase in information received on slavery in the past six months compared to the previous six-month period.
It is this general rise in slavery figures nationwide which reflects why the GLAA has recently been granted a broader remit and stronger powers to tackle labour exploitation across the economy, introducing the capacity to search and seize evidence and investigate modern slavery where it relates to labour abuse and other offences.
Emily Van der Lely, Crimestoppers lead on slavery, said: “It’s so awful to hear that slavery is even an issue in this day and age, but we want to reassure victims that it is an issue that is taken extremely seriously, and make it clear to perpetrators that they will be found and prosecuted.
“By launching this campaign, we will educate the public as to the signs to spot and let them know that they can take action on this horrendous crime, without compromising their anonymity. They will never have to give a statement to police, or go to court. No-one will ever know where the information came from.”
Paul Broadbent, Chief Executive of the GLAA, said: “The public need to understand and be aware that modern slavery is happening right now, in and around the communities they live.
“Exploiting someone for their labour, forcing them to work, using people as commodities – these practices are abhorrent and we need the public’s help to stamp it out. Crimestoppers’ support will be invaluable in giving people the confidence to report their concerns.”
The campaign will predominantly spread messages using social media, particularly Facebook and Twitter. Crimestoppers is also partnering with local councils and other organisations to encourage them to promote the campaign through their social media channels, but also to display posters and leaflets which can be downloaded from the Crimestoppers website at www.crimestoppers-uk.org/modernslavery.
Signs to spot include:
• Show signs of injury, abuse and malnourishment
• Look unkempt, often in the same clothing and have poor hygiene
• Be under the control and influence of others
• Live in cramped, dirty, overcrowded accommodation
• Have no access to, or control of their passport or identity documents
• Appear scared, avoid eye contact, and be untrusting
• Be collected very early and/or returned late at night on a regular basis
• May have inappropriate clothing for the work they are performing, and/or a lack of safety equipment
• May be isolated from the local community and their family.