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Help tackle modern slavery in Fenland

A campaign is being launched in Fenland to increase awareness of modern slavery and urge the public to report concerns.

Modern Slavery image

The two-week initiative, which starts next Monday (February 13), will involve communications on social media and a large multi-lingual advertising display in Lynn Road, Wisbech.

The poster is in six different Eastern European languages - Lithuanian, Latvian, Russian, Romanian, Bulgarian and Polish. It says: "Are you being exploited? Forced to work long hours for very little or no pay? Threatened or intimidated? The police can help you."

It is part of ongoing efforts by Cambridgeshire police and the Fenland Community Safety Partnership to encourage everyone in the community to look out for signs of exploitation. Those signs include:

The person appears malnourished

Shows signs of physical and/or sexual abuse

Works excessively long and/or unusual hours

  • Is not free to leave or come and go as they wish

  • Is fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, nervous or paranoid

  • Has few or no personal possessions

  • Is not allowed or able to speak for themselves - a third party may insist on being present and/or translating

  • Lack of safety or adequate equipment at work

Detective Chief Inspector Rebecca Tipping, tactical lead for modern slavery, said: "Modern slavery is a force priority and it's vital that we get the public's help to tackle it.

"We all have a responsibility to protect vulnerable people in our communities. This campaign encourages people to know the signs of modern slavery and report any concerns via 101 or 999 in an emergency.

"We hope the physical multi-lingual advertising in Wisbech will help to reach more people who may have information, as well as potentially those who are being exploited."

Councillor David Oliver, chairman of the Fenland Community Safety Partnership (FCSP), said: "We know that people are still being exploited despite the considerable progress in combating it that has been made through Operation Pheasant over the past few years.

"The more people recognise the signs and report any concerns, the better able we are to take effective action against those responsible."

Last month (January) the FCSP ran a week-long campaign to highlight the issue. It visited all four market towns to distribute leaflets and engage with the public and a short film developed by Fenland District Council's community safety team was shown at the Luxe cinema in Wisbech.

The FCSP is also promoting a free online course about labour exploitation in Fenland; details are available at www.advicechain.co.uk.

For more information on modern slavery and the signs to look out for, visit www.cambs.police.uk.

Article added February 6, 2017