Businesses, landlords as well as partners were invited to a Modern Slavery ‘Spotting the Signs’ conference on Tuesday 14 March organised by Plymouth City Council and Devon and Cornwall Police.
The term ‘Modern Slavery’ describes situations where individuals are forced into slavery such as being forced to work through the mental or physical threat of abuse, treated as a commodity, bought and sold as ‘property’ or physically constrained with restrictions on their freedom. It also includes labour exploitation, where individuals work long hours for little or no money and human trafficking
A cross-section of local businesses and community members including, banks, letting agencies, employment agencies and voluntary associations were at the event which was designed to help raise awareness in Plymouth.
There are an estimated 21 million victims worldwide, with a possible 13,000 in the UK (predicted by the Home Office).
Plymouth has previously prosecuted cases of modern slavery, including the most publicised ‘Operation Triage’, which was the largest illegal human trafficking case in Devon and Cornwall at the time. It led to eight Czech national men being freed.
Councillor Downie, Cabinet Member of Safer and Stronger Communities said: “Modern slavery is one of the priorities for Safer Plymouth. We believe that modern slavery is a real issue within the city and we need to raise awareness within the community and businesses to encourage residents with concerns to ring the police or the National Modern Slavery helpline about those concerns.”
Superintendent Jeremy Capey spoke about Modern Slavery in Devon and Cornwall and the importance of being able to spot the signs and how to report cases.
Other speakers included Sian Turner from The National Crime Agency, Martin Jones from The Gangmasters Licencing Authority and Chief Inspector Ben Deer from Devon and Cornwall Police
Detective Chief Inspector Ben Deer said: “Devon and Cornwall Police is committed to combating modern slavery and this conference will enable professionals dealing with this type of crime in Plymouth to share best practice and continue to identify opportunities to work together to tackle the issue.”
For more information about spotting the signs of modern slavery please use the following links.