POLICE say the number of cases involving modern slavery and human trafficking are expected to rise by around 20 per cent in the coming year in West Mercia.
Last year 49 such cases were reported in the force area and this week West Mercia’s Police and Crime Commissioner has reaffirmed his commitment to victims.
This week a conference was held on Wednesday bringing together community safety partnerships, health, education, social services, youth offending services, housing, voluntary sector has been organised to not only raise awareness and map current activity, but to provide opportunities to share best practice leading to local action.
Organised by the PCC, West Mercia Police and the National Anti-Trafficking and Modern Slavery Network participants were encouraged to do everything in their power to keep West Mercia safe from modern slavery and human trafficking.
Prior to the conference, an event was held for frontline West Mercia Police Officers and Staff ensuring they had the know-how and confidence to identify and support victims.
PCC Campion said: “We must all work together, to stop this from being a hidden crime.
“The more eyes and ears we can have in our communities, the more victims we can help.”
West Mercia Police, Assistant Chief Constable Martin Evans added: “Modern slavery is a serious and brutal crime in which people are treated as commodities and exploited for criminal gain.
“By improving the identification of and response to modern slavery and human trafficking by frontline officers, staff and partner agencies, through specialist training, we hope to protect more people from harm – often the most vulnerable in our society. “
Chair of the National Anti-Trafficking and Modern Slavery Network, West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson OBE said: “By having these conversations and sharing the feedback, it can only serve to focus efforts around prevention of these human rights abuses, whilst supporting victims and survivors, as well as disrupting and helping bring offenders to justice.”