A campaign has been launched to tackle the issue of modern slavery through forced work in Northamptonshire’s logistics sector.
Crimestoppers East Midlands has joined forces with Northamptonshire Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (OPFCC) to launch the eight-week campaign.
From January to August this year, there were 58 reported cases of modern slavery and human trafficking in the county, 15 of those were found to be in the labour market and a further 21 in slavery or servitude.
According to Crimestoppers, there is a possibility that there are trafficked people working within the logistics sector who are being exploited by criminal gangs.
Lydia Patsalides, Crimestoppers East Midlands Manager, said: “As a charity, we are working closely with Northamptonshire’s OPFCC and the local police to raise awareness of forced labour, to help businesses and organisations identify the factors that may indicate that a member of their workforce is being exploited.
“Logistics industries such as agriculture, food processing and packaging, construction and manufacturing remain extremely vulnerable to labour exploitation.
“Seasonal or temporary workers are also particularly vulnerable to exploitative practices.”
The campaign will be run with the hashtag #StopLogisticsSectorSlavery and will mainly be online, but will also include an e-newsletter and artwork on the back of buses to raise awareness and to encourage people to speak up and help victims.
Lydia added: “Please keep your eyes open for any suspicious signs that forced labour is happening and pass on any information to Crimestoppers charity whilst staying 100 percent anonymous. Always.
“We want to stop this crime from happening and get support to those who need it.
“We value safe communities. In over 32 years we have always kept our promise of anonymity to everyone who contacts us.”
Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Northamptonshire, Stephen Mold, added: “I am committed to doing all I can to help raise awareness of modern slavery in all its forms, which is why I funded this important campaign.
“Modern slavery and exploitation are global problems and Northamptonshire is far from immune.
“Thousands of people in this county work in logistics and there’s a strong chance some of them will have been trafficked and are being exploited by criminal gangs.
“Being trafficked for work, or subject to exploitation is a horrendous fate where victims are often controlled by force, threats, coercion, abduction, fraud and deception.
“The sad fact is there’s a good chance it’s happening right under our noses which is why we have teamed up with Crimestoppers to help fight forced labour in the logistics sector."
Some of the signs to look out for to see if someone is forced to work include, whether they are threatened, if their movement is restricted, if they appear anxious or distrustful, if their passports are withheld or if they are being controlled by another worker.
To find out more about the signs of forced labour, visit the Crimestoppers website.If you notice any signs you can call anonymously on 0800 555 111.
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