19 suspected trafficking victims have been rescued in Northern Ireland over the last four months, police have revealed said.

Seven of those freed were children.

The news comes on the UN's World Day against Trafficking in Persons, which the PSNI have lent their support to.

The Modern Slavery Human Trafficking Unit (MSHTU) was established over two years ago, on April 1 2015.

Police have encouraged local communities to look out for a number of tell-tale signs, including:

  • Someone who can't produce their passport or personal documents;

  • Someone who is unsure of their home address or the local area;

  • Someone who is distrustful of authorities and has no access to medical treatment;

  • Someone who appear to be under the control of others or who has unexplained injuries;

  • An over-crowded house or flat; or

  • Someone who may not have cash because they can't keep the money they earn.

Head of PSNI's MSHTU, Detective Chief Inspector Mark Bell, said, "We are pleased to support the UN's World Day in order to raise awareness of this hidden crime which could be happening in any street and in any town in Northern Ireland.

"It can be hard to believe that this type of crime exists today but it is all too real, especially for the victims.

He continued, "They are often afraid to speak out or unable to report their ordeal to police for a number of reasons including language barriers or simply because they are held captive.

"It's for this reason we all need to work together to help victims and stop this unacceptable crime."

If you have any suspicions that someone may be the victim of human trafficking, you can contact:

  • 999 - if it's an emergency, or

  • 08000 121 700 - Modern Slavery Helpline