Awareness event encourages public to spot signs of modern slavery
21st August 2019
Officers from the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA), Essex Police and other partner agencies are raising awareness about how to spot the signs of modern slavery in Colchester today (Wednesday 21 August).
The event, which is being led by the GLAA, started in Colchester Castle Park at 8am and will run until 4pm.
Officers are there with other organisations and charities to help members of the public spot the signs of those who are being exploited for labour.
GLAA Director of Operations Ian Waterfield said: “We are very clear as an organisation that our prevention work will ultimately have the greatest impact in ending modern slavery in the long-term.
“Events like this are invaluable in increasing public awareness about this dreadful crime, encouraging them to know how to spot if someone is being exploited, and most importantly pointing them in the direction of who to contact to report their concerns.
“Working in partnership to protect vulnerable workers is fundamental to our work. It’s really heartening to see the number of other organisations at the event today, all with a joint purpose of tackling modern slavery and labour exploitation.”
PC Faye Simister, from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: “Victims of modern slavery can be exploited for labour in all sorts of ways, and we want to make sure members of the public feel comfortable in noticing and reporting these crimes to protect those who are vulnerable.
“People in this situation are often exploited for labour – whether that’s laying driveways or roofs, fruit picking, being held to pay off drug debts, or working in barbershops or car washes for less than minimum wage, it all counts as modern slavery.
“If someone isn’t being paid fairly and is being kept in appalling conditions, we need you to take action and call it in. We can help, and we want to ensure that victims have a chance to fully embrace their potential in safe, fair and legal ways.
“I would encourage anyone in Colchester today to come and visit the stall and talk to the organisations represented here today about the work that we’re all doing to tackle modern slavery.”
Also at the event are representatives from Stop the Traffik, Private Sector Housing, Open Road, Justice & Care and the Children’s Society.
To report offences of this nature, you can call the GLAA’s intelligence team on 0800 4320804 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also contact Essex Police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.
Crimestoppers can be reached anonymously online or by calling 0800 555 111.