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'Modern slavery. Look closer. It could be right in front of you.'
Modern slavery is increasingly becoming a significant threat to the communities of Lancashire, with more resources being dedicated to tackling the issue.
Modern slavery involves the recruitment and movement of individuals using threats, deception and coercion for the purpose of exploitation.
It takes many forms but the most common are sexual exploitation, forced labour and domestic servitude. Victims are forced to work against their will in many different settings, including brothels, cannabis farms, nail bars, car washes, agriculture and even within people's homes.
It is not an issue confined to history or an issue that only exists in certain countries. It is a global problem and it is happening right now here in Lancashire.
Human trafficking can also be a part of modern slavery as a person is moved from one place to another (this could be country to country, town to town, or even as simple as one room in a building to another). Even if a victim consents and is willing to be moved, trafficking could still be taking place.
Unfortunately, few people understand modern slavery and many confuse it with 'migrant working' or 'illegal immigration'.
It is a problem that transcends age, gender and ethnicities, and can impact both foreign nationals and British Citizens.
Victims are generally living in fear, do not fully understand what is happening to them and comply with their abusers in hiding the reality - often because of threats of violence made to them and their families.
There are a number of signs that could indicate that someone is a victim of slavery. They may:
Please note: You can also contact Lancashire Victims Services, who offer help and support even if you haven't reported a crime to the Police. Contact them on 0300 323 0085.
Please note: specified public authorities have a duty to notify the Home Office of any individual encountered in England and Wales who they believe is a suspected victim of slavery or human trafficking. For more information visit GOV.UK - Duty to Notify.
The new UK Modern Slavery Helpline is a confidential 24/7 service for anyone wanting to speak to a trained adviser about modern slavery.
The helpline is operated by Unseen (UK) and provides information and guidance on all aspects of modern slavery to potential victims, statutory agencies and businesses.
To safeguard and help to prevent crime, information and intelligence is referred to law enforcement agencies and local authorities where appropriate.
Modern Slavery Helpline: 08000 121 700