Police seek help in tackling modern day slavery in Sheffield
A new campaign has been launched as police chiefs in Sheffield seek help in tackling modern day slavery in the city.
To raise awareness of modern day slavery with key workers and groups who continue to work in the community during lockdown restrictions, the South Yorkshire Modern Slavery Partnership has launched its ‘Curiosity Counts’ campaign this week.
The partnership said modern day slavery is a ‘hidden crime’ affecting adults and children across the UK, including victims in South Yorkshire.
It involves the exploitation of people often for the financial benefit of others.
Victims may experience multiple forms of exploitation or abuse, but the most common forms include sexual exploitation, criminal exploitation, labour exploitation and domestic servitude.
It is thought that exploiters may have changed their tactics during lockdown to reduce detection, moving their victims from one form of exploitation to another and there are concerns that lockdown restrictions have created new challenges to identifying and supporting potential victims.
Dr Alan Billings, Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire, said: “Unlike slavery in the past, modern slavery is hidden in plain sight. Spotting the signs of exploitation requires us all to be alert and so be aware of who may be trapped in a form of slavery.
“Reporting that could save someone from harm. It is vitally important that anyone working in communities, especially during the lockdown period, who has any concerns reports them and helps to protect these very vulnerable individuals.”
Nicola Lambe, Chief Executive Officer of the charity Ashiana, which helps exploitation victims, said: “We’ve all had to adapt to meet the challenges of lockdown. The reduction of face-to-face services means fewer opportunities to intervene in exploitative situations, so it is important that we are all curious about the signs of modern slavery when working with the community.
“We are pleased to join key partners to increase awareness of the signs of modern slavery in our communities and hope everyone understands why Curiosity Counts.”
To find out more follow @SouthYorksMSP and #CuriosityCounts on Twitter.
To report suspicions about slavery victims or those exploiting people, call South Yorkshire Police on 101.