Be vigilant for signs of modern slavery

Published Friday, 16th October 2020

Residents of Hartlepool are being urged to look out for signs of modern slavery and to report their concerns if they fear someone is a victim.

The appeal has been issued by officials at Hartlepool Borough Council ahead of Anti-Slavery Day on Sunday (October 18th).

They are calling on people to contact the Salvation Army’s 24/7 confidential helpline on 0800 808 3733, but stress that anyone who fears that a suspected victim is in immediate danger – or that the suspected victim is under 18 – should call the police on 999.

Someone is defined as being in slavery if they are forced to work through mental or physical threat; owned or controlled by an “employer – usually through mental or physical abuse or the threat of abuse; de-humanised, treated as a commodity or bought and sold as “property”; or physically constrained or have restrictions placed on their freedom.

Modern slavery is known to occur in a number of common locations within communities, including some takeaways, hotels, hand car washes, nail bars and private homes.

Neil Harrison, Head of Safeguarding and Specialist Services at Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “It can be difficult to spot modern slavery and you may even come into contact with a victim without realising it.

“However, there are tell-tale signs that we can all look out for and I would urge people to be vigilant.”

He said some signs are physical - a victim may appear uneasy and look unkempt or malnourished, or they may have untreated injuries - while others are less obvious and can include someone paying for a victim’s travel and speaking for them. He said victims may also be picked up and dropped off from work at unusual times and they may not be sure of their own address.

Adult Services staff with some of the masks

Adult Services staff with some of the masks

Hartlepool residents are being encouraged to support for the fight against modern slavery by purchasing special edition protective COVID-19 face masks bearing the message #WeAreNotForSale from The Salvation Army. These can be bought at Hartlepool Borough Council has purchased a number of masks for use by staff.

Solidarity with the campaign can also be expressed by sharing selfie photos on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter using the samehashtag and tagging The Salvation Army UK.