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Don’t assume it doesn’t happen on Teesside - that’s the message from Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger after hearing renowned guest speakers at a Human Trafficking and Slavery Conference in Cleveland.
Representatives from the National Crime Agency, national charity Hope for Justice, the Gangmasters Licensing Authority and young people from Barnardos, all provided an insight into how human trafficking and slavery is hidden in communities.
The issue can take many forms such as forced labour, domestic servitude, sexual exploitation, or for criminal means. What’s clear is that victims are exploited and controlled by the use of threats, violence or deception. Trafficking victims aren’t always brought into the UK; people can be trafficked from town to town.
The Conference developed as the brainchild of the region’s three police and crime commissioners. Regional representatives were provided with a glimpse into how organisations across the country are addressing the issue and prompted discussions around the picture of human trafficking and slavery in the north east.
It highlighted that Cleveland Police has made three referrals to the UK Human Trafficking Centre this year after officers had identified two people who had been trafficked as cannabis farmers to run commercial cannabis farms and a possible case of domestic servitude.
Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger said: “The message from the conference is stark, modern day slavery is a reality and it ruins lives.
“It’s hidden from communities, but we are working to bring it to the forefront and I want people living across Cleveland to help us. It could be that people are being trafficked for criminal means, or for forced labour in homes in the area. Anyone with concerns about something they see or hear should contact police.
“The Conference has provided us with a good picture of the north east perspective and we will continue to work together to support victims and bring people to justice.”
Event Presentations and Videos
Click here to view the agenda, presentations and videos from the Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery Event.
Posted on Monday 15th September 2014