1. ITV Report

Gwent Police create special team dedicated to tackling human trafficking

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.

Credit: PA

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.

A 75% rise was seen in the number of potential trafficking victims reported in Wales between 2014-16

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.

Human trafficking and modern slavery are, quite simply, crimes which should not be taking place in the 21st century.

It is still a relatively uncommon offence in Wales, but its prevalence is growing. It is also a very complex offence category, often with an international dimension.

We need to increase vigilance in all our communities and as a Police service we need to be able to respond.

– Julian Williams, Gwent Police, Chief Constable all-Wales lead on Human Trafficking

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.

The exploitation of the most vulnerable people in our communities by brutal traffickers should not be accepted.

This is why tackling human trafficking and modern slavery is an area that my office and Gwent Police are determined to drive forward with our partners locally and nationally.

We realise that no single organisation can effectively tackle and eradicate this problem alone.

Only through effective collaboration with partners across all sectors can we come up with solutions to stamp out human trafficking and modern-day slavery.

– Jeff Cuthbert, Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Gwent

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.