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Human trafficking initiative supported by Vera Baird

3rd June 2016

Police in Northumbria are visiting workplaces offering advice to staff to prevent vulnerable people being exploited.

Neighbourhood officers are carrying out checks at work premises in the region in a bid to identify any potential victims of human trafficking and those who may be being exploited at work.

Officers are visiting premises across the force, speaking to people, to ensure they are not victims of this type of crime.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Vera Baird, said: “It’s important we all realise that trafficking is not just something that happens in other countries, it can happen right here on our doorstep and we need to ensure people caught up in this terrible situation have access to the help and safety they need. I encourage all efforts by Northumbria Police to raise the profile of the issue in the workplace and encourage the reporting of cases.

“While there is no typical victim, those who are trafficked are mostly vulnerable and it is everyone’s responsibility to report any suspicions so we can help victims escape from what can be very controlling and frightening circumstances.”

Assistant Chief Constable Jo Farrell, said: “Our officers are responding to concerns that some people here in our force area may be being exploited and may need to be safeguarded and brought to a place of safety where their needs can be assessed and given the help they require.

“Our officers are talking to staff at locations across the force to ensure any potential victims are aware of their rights and know how to seek assistance if they think they may be being exploited.

“Police are also talking to employers to make sure they are fully aware of their obligations and responsibilities to their staff.”

Police are visiting a wide range of business premises from restaurants, car washes to beauty salons and a host of other work places.

They are also speaking to homeless people who may have also been a victim of this crime and need help to prevent further exploitation.

Officers are also liaising with partners including local authorities, Immigration Staff and HMRC, to ensure that there is a coordinated response to this activity.

Anyone with concerns that an individual could be a victim of human trafficking, or are being exploited at work, should contact their local neighbourhood policing team on 101.