Cheshire Constabulary is committed to working with our partners to eradicate Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking. The Constabulary recognises the brutal impact that this serious and often organised criminality can have on victims and takes the investigation of these crimes very seriously.
Nationally, it is a very disturbing and complex problem. Breaking the lives of the vulnerable and voiceless, it represents a grave abuse of human rights and basic dignity. Many have come from broken families, leaving them less protected from attachments to those who wish them harm. Some have been unable to find work, leaving them more vulnerable to exploitation. Others are serious addicts, some struggle with unmanageable debt and many have never experienced decent education.
Modern slavery exists in the UK and destroys lives. It manifests in an appallingly wide range of forms. Adults and children – UK nationals and those from abroad – are exploited in the sex industry, through forced labour, domestic servitude in the home, and forced criminal activity. Nationally there have been numerous cases of exploitation in factories, fields, construction sites, brothels and houses.
How Cheshire Constabulary is responding to modern slavery and human trafficking
Human Trafficking and modern slavery are not matters the police can address on their own. Agencies and other organisations from both the public and voluntary sector are actively involved in addressing these heinous crimes.
The Constabulary plays a key role in the Cheshire Anti-Slavery Network, a multi-agency group that is committed to working together to prevent modern slavery and human trafficking.
Potential victims are likely to be extremely vulnerable. They may fear revealing their status or experiences to state authorities and will often mistrust individuals in authority.
Their ability to participate in any future proceedings, for example as a witness, will depend largely on their psychological, emotional and physical health.
Front line practitioners have a responsibility to put the potential victim at their ease as far as they are able. There may be language and communication barriers, including literacy or learning disabilities, as well as cultural considerations.
On initial contact, victims may appear unwilling to co-operate, especially if they are in the presence of their controller/traffickers or around other victims. It is likely that the victim has been isolated from family or friends and is living in an unfamiliar country or area. In addition to feelings of fear and intimidation, they may feel dependent on their controllers/traffickers who may be individuals well known to the victim. It’s possible they may not understand the concept of trafficking and slavery or indeed identify themselves as a victim.
Victims of these types of crimes suffer a wide range of psychological and physical problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder. They may have been vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections, or may have been exposed to hazardous materials or dangerous working conditions. They could have been deprived of food, sleep or kept in slave-like conditions. Some victims will require immediate medical attention and counseling.
Cheshire Police ensures that the appropriate physical healthcare and psychological support is provided to all victims in a timely manner.