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  1. ITV Report

Anti-slavery day urges awareness of modern exploitation

Photo: ITV News Central

Police forces and organisations across the Midlands are today marking anti-slavery day in a bid to stamp out modern-day exploitation.

It's believed modern slavery and human trafficking is much more prevalent in the UK than previously thought, according to the National Crime Agency (NCA).

Evidence from the agency suggests that victims as young as 12 are being sold to families in the UK from Europe.

Victims of modern-day slavery are often forced to live in squalid conditions

In a recent case in Lincolnshire, 11 members of a traveller family were convicted of running a modern slavery ring which forced one of its captives to work in squalid conditions for decades.

Up to 18 men aged between 18 and 63 were kept by the Rooney family in run down caravans and stables near kennels with little or no access to basics amenities such as heating, water and toilets.

The gang members, convicted of fraud and slavery charges, used the money from their businesses to take luxurious holidays to places like Barbados and Egypt, buy high performance cars, and get cosmetic surgery. Some of the money was even used on a Manchester United soccer school.

The Rooney family were jailed for a total of nearly 80 years. Credit: ITV News Central

Derbyshire Police have created a list of the most common signs of people who may be victims of modern-day slavery.

They include people who:

  • Show signs of consistent abuse or have untreated health issues
  • Have no identification documents in their personal possession, and little or no finances of their own
  • Are unwilling to talk without a more ‘senior’ controlling person around, who may act as their translator
  • Sleep in a cramped, unhygienic room in a building that they are unable to freely leave
  • Are unable to leave their place of work to find different employment and fear that bad things may happen if they do
  • Are charged for accommodation or transport by their employers as a condition of their employment, at an unrealistic and inflated cost which is deducted from their wages.

In addition, they may be forced to work in certain types of industries or activities, such as:

  • Factories, farms or fast food restaurants
  • Domestic service, such as a cleaner or nanny
  • Street crime, such as pickpocketing or robbery
  • Services of a sexual nature

Derbyshire Police's Assistant Chief Constable Chris Haward said:

Slavery, in any form, is a despicable abuse of vulnerable people. It preys on those who are most in need and is happening under our noses.

– Chris Haward, Derbyshire Police