Over 100 modern slavery victims rescued in Cambridgeshire

Police visit suspected modern slavery nursery Kneesworth

Over a 12-month period ending in June this year, more than 100 victims of modern slavery were rescued in Cambridgeshire. - Credit: Cambridgeshire Constabulary

More than 100 victims of modern slavery were rescued in Cambridgeshire within a year. 

Figures released by Cambridgeshire Police show that over a 12-month period ending in June this year, police referred 137 people to a national scheme to help them. 

Out of the 137 people, 71 were children. 

Superintendent Mark Middleton said: “Slavery is not something consigned to history – it is happening in 2021.  

“Often those trapped in slavery either don’t recognise they are victims, or are so terrified of their captors that they don’t see a way out.” 

The figures were revealed on Anti-Slavery Day today (Friday), with organisations working together to highlight the issues of modern slavery and human trafficking. 

One of the schemes helping potential victims of modern slavery is the National Referral Mechanism, a government initiative which helps provide appropriate support. 

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Some of the signs of modern slavery police are asking residents to look out for include people: 

- seeming overly tired, withdrawn or avoiding eye contact 

- of school age being in the community and not education 

- not having suitable equipment or clothing for the job they are doing 

- looking unkempt or showing signs of physical abuse 

- not being able to come and go as they wish 

- being unpaid or paid very little 

- working excessively long or unusual hours. 

“The signs of modern slavery can be subtle, but we need people to be aware of them and report any concerns,” Supt Middleton said. 

“We’re urging the public to report any concerns they have for the welfare of any adult or child they see in circumstances that do not feel right.   

“Ignoring such concerns is never the right thing to do and acting on them may just save a young person from significant abuse and harm.” 

Modern slavery can include forced labour, sexual and criminal exploitation.   

Many child victims are also trapped in county lines drug dealing, where children are coerced into selling drugs with a promise of a better life, but often become subject to threats or intimidation. 

For more on the signs of modern slavery or to make a report, visit Cambridgeshire Constabulary’s website at: https://bit.ly/3mZAZp4.