It is a shocking thing to realise but slavery still exists. Human trafficking is a form of modern slavery – a criminal industry that denies freedom to 20.9 million people around the world. And no matter where you live, chances are it’s happening nearby. And, sadly, it is a growing problem.
Last year the number of victims identified in the county nearly tripled from 42 to 122. Outside of London this region is one of the worst in the UK at the time of writing. But what can we do? As part of World Day against trafficking in persons Paul Seddon, part of Leeds City Council’s Resilience and Emergencies Team, tells us how we can get involved.
Paul says: “We simply want you to trust your instincts.”
How do we do that?
“You spot something suspicious. You may brush it off as nothing. Then there’s the fear of getting involved. Perhaps you consider it none of your business or you don’t have the time…But what if, by doing nothing, you are condemning someone to a miserable existence as a slave?
What if it’s not just someone, but a group, of poor souls exploited and abused by vicious criminal gangs? It’s a chilling thought yet one we can all help to banish. By simply trusting your instinct and reporting your suspicions, you could spark a series of events leading to the rescue of many victims.”
Take a look at this film.
What should we be looking out for?
There are several signs; all of them are worth noting.
- appears fearful of the police and other authorities
- believes their life, or that of their family members, are at risk
- appears anxious, lacks memory of recent events or shows bruising and untreated conditions
- is reluctant to tell others of their situation
- is unaware that they have been trafficked or exploited, they just think they’re in a bad job
- has limited freedom to travel
- is unpaid or paid little for work
- seems to be in debt to someone
- has limited access to medical care
- has no passport, or someone else has it
- who regularly moves around to different addresses, or other parts of the country to avoid detection
- appears to be controlled by witchcraft (for example, Juju)
How do we report it?
There are three ways: call 0113 24 76667, email firstname.lastname@example.org or text 60066, starting the message with ‘Instinct’..
Give as much detail as you can to the Instinct reporting line. It will be acted upon. Don’t be worried if it comes to nothing, it’s not a problem. Don’t think you’re wasting investigators’ time, you’re not. And you’re not being nosey either. Good Samaritans look out for others.