Gwent Police announces creation of a dedicated Human Trafficking team.
The five-strong team will be made up of a permanent Detective Sergeant, Detective Constable, and Police Constable, supported by a researcher and an analyst.
Their roles will involve building a detailed picture of Human Trafficking issues across the Gwent Force area, to raise awareness and provide training to Police colleagues, and build deeper relationships with partner agencies.
The move comes as the Force seeks to combat what they say is a growing issue.
According to the most recent figures from the National Crime Agency, there was a 75% increase in the number of potential victims of trafficking reported in Wales between 2014 and 2016.
Human Trafficking is a complex crime which usually involves three key steps.
- The first is the recruitment, transportation and receipt of victims.
- The second is the process through which the victim becomes ‘caught’ or beholden to the criminal - which can occur through a variety of means such as coercion or deception.
- The final step is for victims to be exploited to the benefit of the criminal through a number of means which could involve sexual exploitation or forced labor.
The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Gwent, Jeff Cuthbert, represents all four of the PCC’s in Wales on the Welsh Government Leadership Group that focusses on ways to tackle Modern Slavery and human trafficking.
Gwent police says tackling the problem is made more complex by barriers to disclosure, where victims are unaware of available support or too fearful to report their concerns. This may be due to their isolation, citizenship status or ‘self-blame’ for their predicament.