Anti-Slavery Day provides an opportunity to raise awareness of the warning signs that a person is at risk of modern slavery and educate people as to how to report their concerns.
Modern slavery takes many forms but the most common are sexual exploitation, criminal exploitation and forced labour. Victims are forced to work in various settings such as brothels, cannabis farms, nail bars, car washes, in agriculture and even within people’s homes.
It's a problem that affects all ages, genders, ethnicities and involves people from Britain and abroad.
On Saturday 22nd October, officers will join local partners in a number of initiatives in the heart of Blackpool.
A digital billboard will be on display on the Comedy Carpet, from 10am to 3pm, with an opportunity to talk to officers and partners alike about modern slavery, the warning signs and how to fight modern slavery in Lancashire. Soroptimist Blackpool and District will be marching through the town at midday.
Blackpool Tower will also be lit up in red to communicate to passers-by that slavery must stop.
Sion Hall, Pan-Lancashire Anti-Slavery Partnership (PLASP) Chair said: “Anti-Slavery Day is part of a wider strategy to raise awareness and offer support for victims of modern slavery and human trafficking.
“Understanding and reporting your concerns can literally change and save lives. Come and join us in Blackpool on Saturday 22nd October by the Comedy Carpet, to have a chat and help spot the signs.”
Cllr Neal Brookes, Blackpool Council Cabinet Member with responsibilities for Enforcement and Public Safety, said: “It is shocking that modern slavery can be hidden yet at the same time in plain sight. Unwittingly, our communities may be using victims of modern slavery to undertake work in so many roles.
“We cannot look the other way. Members of the public are our first line of defence when it comes to tackling this scourge, and we urge all our residents to be aware of the tell-tale warning signs of modern slavery, and report any concerns to police or their local authority.”
Spot the signs:
There are a number of signs that could indicate that someone is a victim of Modern Slavery. They may:
- Show signs of physical or psychological abuse, look malnourished, unkempt, or appear withdrawn
- Rarely be allowed to travel on their own, seem under the control and influence of others, or appear unfamiliar with their neighbourhood or where they work
- Live in dirty, cramped or overcrowded accommodation, and could be living and working at the same address
- Have few personal possessions, often wear the same clothes or are poorly equipped for the job they are carrying out
- Have little opportunity to move freely and have no identification or travel documents in their possession
- Be dropped off and collected for work on a regular basis either early or late at night
- Avoid eye contact, appear frightened or hesitant to talk to strangers and fearful of law enforcers and authorities.
If you feel you are in a situation where you are being exploited, or you suspect someone is a victim of Modern Slavery, there is help available:
- Always call 999 if you or the person is in immediate danger, if there’s no immediate danger, call us on the non-emergency number 101
- Lancashire Victims Services are available to offer help and support on 0300 323 0085
- You can also call the national modern slavery helpline that offers 24/7 advice on 08000 121 700
- You can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or report it online.
- When you contact them your identity will be protected.