28/11/2016

Victims of Modern Slavery Urged to Call New Helpline

Police and Crime Commissioner, Barry Coppinger, and Cleveland Police specialist detectives are urging victims of modern day slavery to seek help using a new dedicated helpline.

The Modern Slavery Helpline, 08000 121 700, which can be reached 24 hours a day, was launched earlier this year by non-government organisation Unseen and telephone provider BT.

Potential victims can to speak to fully-trained call handlers, who will guide them to relevant services, including government funded agencies.

Organisations and businesses can also call for information and advice about any reports of modern slavery involving their clients or employees.

Today, the Police and Crime Commissioner and Cleveland Police are supporting a social media ‘thunderclap’ across the country to draw attention to the helpline, with social media profiles posting tweets about the new number.

Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland, Barry Coppinger, said: “It’s essential we raise awareness about modern day slavery and highlight the ways people can get the support and advice they need, using tools like the Modern Slavery Helpline.

“I’ve committed to tackling the issue in my Police and Crime Plan and pledge to work with agencies to seek intelligence to help bring the people behind these crimes to justice.”

Detective Superintendent Alastair Simpson said: “Unfortunately slavery is not something confined to history, and can and does happen in towns and cities across the UK. Much is hidden, but we can bring it to light by raising awareness of the signs and types of slavery in today’s day and age

“Victims from overseas and vulnerable people in the UK are forced to illegally work against their will in a number of different industries, or forced into sexual exploitation or criminal activity. We need help from members of the public to give us information, and also need to empower victims to come forward themselves and report their case.

“We have come far as a police service in supporting victims of modern day slavery and a great deal of help is available. We will use all the powers at our disposal to bring perpetrators to justice.”

Justine Currell, Executive Director at Unseen said: “We are delighted that Cleveland Police and Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner are raising awareness of the UK Modern Slavery Helpline run by Unseen, recognising the vital role a national helpline has to play in supporting potential victims and preventing this insidious crime. 

“It is only through great collaboration that we can hope to tackle modern slavery and lock up those who exploit and prey on others.”

The Modern Slavery Helpline and Resource Centre can be reached 24/7 on 08000 121 700.