Police boss offers support to fight against 21st century slavery

Thames Valley Police

Thames Valley Police

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Police boss Anthony Stansfeld is supporting Anti-Slavery Day on Sunday (October 18) to raise awareness of modern slavery.

The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) will be joined by Thames Valley Police on offering his support.

Modern slavery is a growing issue, with the latest government estimate indicating there are 13,000 victims across the UK.

The issue includes child trafficking, forced labour, debt bondage, sexual exploitation, criminal exploitation and domestic servitude. There is no typical victim but modern slavery is normally more prevalent across vulnerable, minority or socially excluded groups.

The hidden signs of slavery make it difficult for victims to be recognised, however common signs include, poor physical appearance, isolation, poor living conditions, few or no personal effects, restricted freedom of movement, unusual travel times, and a reluctance to seek help.

Mr Stansfeld is funding pilot projects, run by Elmore Community Services in Oxfordshire and The Mustard Tree in Reading, to provide support to victims of exploitation and modern slavery.

He said: “I am pleased to support Anti-Slavery Day.

“We know there are many hidden victims of modern slavery in the Thames Valley and it is important we raise awareness of the issue to both identify victims and effectively tackle this awful crime.

“It is also crucial we provide support to the victims and help them recover from the trauma caused. This is why I have developed and funded pilot Independent Trauma Advisory (ITA) Services in Oxfordshire and Reading which offer immediate crisis intervention and emotional support to victims of exploitation and help to integrate them into further services.

“The ITAs are also proving critical to the effective policing of modern slavery, providing operational support before, and throughout, police raids or other activity designed to disrupt and prevent modern day slavery.”