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"You could be saving lives": Campaign urges people to identify victims of modern slavery

"You could be saving lives": Campaign urges people to identify victims of modern slavery

Published at 7:01am 18th October 2019.

People in Harrogate, Craven and Wharfedale are being urged to help identify victims of modern slavery. 

  • Today is Anti-Slavery day, a day of action to highlight the issue 
  • West and North Yorkshire Police are supporting the initiative 
  • Warning signs include physical abuse, fear of authorities and irregular activity at homes or addresses
  • West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner has released videos with a victim of modern slavery to help raise awareness 

On Anti-Slavery day, police in North and West Yorkshire are raising awareness of the issue. 

As part of a the national day of action, police forces and charities are urging people to help them identify and protect victims.  

West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson, who is also the National Lead PCC on Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery is supporting the national day and asking for the public’s help to save potential victims.

The plea for action comes after a survivor of modern slavery, who spent 15 years trapped in forced labour, spoke to the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner to help raise public awareness of the issues.

The videos highlight the treatment the survivor suffered at the hands of criminals and the local partnership support he has subsequently received.



Mark Burns-Williamson, said:

"The survivor’s story is harrowing and demonstrates the very real conditions victims of these awful crimes can be forced to live and work in. However we can all play a part in stopping these abuses and rescuing victims. 

"We need you to report any suspicions, no matter how small, to the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700 or to the Police.

"General indicators of human trafficking or modern slavery can include signs of physical or psychological abuse, fear of authorities, irregular activity at homes or addresses, poor living conditions and working long hours for little or no pay. By reporting suspicions you could be saving lives.

"The survivor is now safe and being support by a fantastic organisation, the Palm Cove Society, who have enabled him to rebuild his life and live independently."

What are the warning signs? 

PHYSICAL APPEARANCE – Victims may show signs of physical or psychological abuse, look malnourished or unkempt, or appear withdrawn

ISOLATION – Victims may rarely be allowed to travel on their own, seem under the control, influence of others, rarely interact or appear unfamiliar with their neighbourhood or where they work

POOR LIVING CONDITIONS – Victims may be living in dirty, cramped or overcrowded accommodation, and / or living and working at the same address

FEW OR NO PERSONAL EFFECTS – Victims may have no identification documents, have few personal possessions and always wear the same clothes day in day out. What clothes they do wear may not be suitable for their work

RESTRICTED FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT – Victims have little opportunity to move freely and may have had their travel documents retained, e.g. passports

UNUSUAL TRAVEL TIMES – They may be dropped off / collected for work on a regular basis either very early or late at night

RELUCTANT TO SEEK HELP – Victims may avoid eye contact, appear frightened or hesitant to talk to strangers and fear law enforcers for many reasons, such as not knowing who to trust or where to get help, fear of deportation, fear of violence to them or their family.

What can you do ?

If you or another person is in immediate danger you should dial 999

If you are a victim of modern slavery, or suspect slavery is happening near you and there is no immediate threat to life you can :

Call Police on 101

Report it by calling the Modern Slavery helpline on 0800 0121 700 which is open 24 hours a day 7 days a week

Contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111

For more information and for details of other agencies who can offer help and support go to