Welfare checks carried out as part of modern slavery operation

Alert message sent 16/07/2020 13:43:00

Information sent on behalf of Wiltshire Police

Community Policing Teams (CPTs) across the county have supported national activity between 20 June and 10 July and, joined by partner agencies, visited a number of businesses to check on the welfare of employees who could be potential victims of labour exploitation.

Businesses visited by CPTs include, employment agencies, car washes and food processing sites amongst others.

Victims of modern slavery and human trafficking are often trafficked into the UK under false pretences and forced to work for little or no money whilst living in horrendous conditions.

Detective Inspector Phil Walker said: “Modern slavery and human trafficking offences are often linked to other crime types including drugs and child/adult sexual exploitation.

“We need the public to work with us in identifying those at risk and protecting them by knowing the signs of modern slavery, and not being afraid to report concerns to us. 

“My message is clear, something not right? Think exploitation. That small piece of information you hold could be the missing piece that we need to take action and keep vulnerable people safe.”

Victims often face physical abuse and intimidation, alongside threats to loved ones and the confiscation of identity documents.

Angus Macpherson, Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon, said: "Modern slavery is closer to home than we may think, and we certainly shouldn’t only talk about in a historical context. It’s happening in our county, and across the UK today.

"The reality is the Police cannot tackle this alone and need to draw upon the local community and partners to play an equal part. We cannot leave it to the police to rid our communities of this evil crime, which causes such misery. We all need to be the eyes and ears of the police and help protect those most vulnerable.”
Signs to look out for:
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?
There are a number of ways that the public can report concerns about modern slavery including 101 and the Wiltshire Police website. The Modern Slavery helpline can also be contacted on 08000 121 700, this is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Always call 999 in an emergency or immediate threat to life.
Message sent by
Zara Hughes (Police, Communications Officer, Wiltshire)

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