Lancashire Police are backing a Europe-wide week of action to target and disrupt those involved in modern sexual slavery.
The week, arranged by the National Crime Agency, will clamp down on those who sexually exploit others for financial gain, and in particular those who use the internet to ‘trade’ in human beings.
The internet is often used to advertise the services of those who have been trafficked and are being exploited.
This week we will be working with partner agencies to identify both criminals and locations across the county where we believe this type of activity may be taking place.
We will also be using the internet for ‘good’ to share advice for those who are concerned about modern slavery in their area and to give guidance to help the public recognise the signs of modern slavery.
We will be updating @LancsPolice on Twitter and the Lancashire Police page on Facebook throughout the week, using the hashtags #seeitshareit and #modernslavery.
DCI Mark Vaughton, of Lancashire Police, said: “Unfortunately slavery isn’t confined to the history books, but is happening around us – and is probably closer than you think.
“Modern slavery can take many forms, but one of these is sexual exploitation. We know there are people across Lancashire who have been recruited or trafficked with threats, deception and coercion and we are working tirelessly to identify them to remove them to safety, and to arrest those responsible.
“Our aim this week is to continue to build upon the work we’ve already done in making people across Lancashire aware of modern slavery and encouraging people to report any suspicions to us. It’s important to remember that we won’t stop after this week and that work is undertaken 365 days a year.
“We are now urging members of the public to follow our social media accounts, where we will be posting updates on the work we’ll be carrying out, as well as general advice and guidance.”
As a general guide, anybody with information or suspicions about trafficking or slavery is asked to contact us on 101, unless there is an immediate danger in which case they are asked to call 999.
Lancashire Victim Services also offer help and support and can be reached on 0300 323 0085.
There is also a national Modern Slavery Helpline offering confidential help and advice, who will also take reports of information. They can be reached on 08000 121 700.