Barclays, STOP THE TRAFFIK, and Cambridgeshire Police are working together to raise awareness of human trafficking and modern slavery in the Wisbech, March and King’s Lynn areas.
A campaign to help people recognise the key signs of human trafficking in their community and to report their suspicions kicked off yesterday (Wednesday) with an event at Barclays’ branch in Wisbech.
Although the campaign is targeted across all nationalities in the Wisbech, March and King’s Lynn areas, it will have particular focus on the Lithuanian community and literature at the event was printed in both English and Lithuanian.
Human trafficking and modern slavery are thought to be amongst the most widespread crimes in the world, affecting millions of men, women and children each day. Traffickers and slave masters use whatever means they have at their disposal to coerce, deceive and force individuals into a life of abuse, servitude and inhumane treatment. Contemporary slavery takes many forms, from women forced into prostitution, to child slavery in agriculture supply chains or whole families working for nothing to pay off generational debts.
Paul Horlick, director, financial intelligence unit, financial crime at Barclays, said: “In Britain today, there remains a big problem with human trafficking and modern slavery, with cases affecting every large town and city in the country. Barclays has staff that see customers every day so we are working with STOP THE TRAFFIK and other partners to help these staff and the public recognise the signs and report their suspicions.”
Sarah Brown, managing analyst, STOP THE TRAFFIK, said: “We are building intelligence on the global picture of human trafficking and modern slavery and have identified Wisbech, March and King’s Lynn as potential hotspots for these illicit crimes. In particular, we are seeing examples of forced labour. Given its clandestine nature, one of the biggest barriers to stopping human trafficking is the inability to spot it. Therefore, it’s fantastic to partner with Barclays on this initiative to raise awareness and build resilience within the local community.”
Detective Chief Inspector, Rebecca Tipping, Cambridgeshire Constabulary’s tactical lead for modern slavery, said: “Combatting modern slavery is a force priority and it’s vital that we get the public’s support.
“This project adds to ongoing work by the constabulary to help make people aware of the indicators of modern slavery and encourage reporting. Something might seem relatively insignificant, but it may form part of a larger picture that will help us to safeguard vulnerable people and bring the perpetrators to justice.”
Anyone who wants to report a suspicion can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or can seek further advice from the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700. If somebody is at immediate risk, call 999.