A short film called Take a Closer Look has been launched today (Monday, September 14) by the Northamptonshire Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner and Northamptonshire Police, to raise awareness of modern slavery and exploitation.
The nine-minute film depicts a scenario following a road traffic collision which highlights signs of modern slavery that aren’t immediately obvious. It invites viewers to ‘take a closer look’ whereby signs of exploitation become apparent.
The film’s release is timed to coincide with the launch of a new campaign to raise awareness of forced labour in the logistics sector, in partnership with independent charity Crimestoppers.
The key messages the film contains have never been more pertinent. National bodies have warned there is a serious risk coronavirus could lead to a rise in modern slavery and human trafficking. The main drivers – poverty, lack of opportunity and other vulnerabilities – have intensified and increased the risk of exploitation and abuse.
The film is aimed at frontline professionals who are likely to have the opportunity to spot the signs of slavery in their areas of work and make referrals, ensuring victims are safeguarded and intelligence is provided so offenders can be brought to justice.
It is also intended to raise awareness among the public - modern slavery is often hidden in plain sight and people may well have witnessed it without realising.
Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Stephen Mold said:
“I commissioned this film to raise awareness of what is a global problem, affecting millions of people. This includes the UK and Northamptonshire is not immune.
“We know this is a heinous crime where victims are often controlled by force, threats, coercion, abduction, fraud and deception.
“I am committed to doing all I can to help raising awareness across our communities and among frontline workers so we can protect the vulnerable and put a stop to the exploitation.
“Being forced into domestic servitude, trafficked for work, or subject to exploitation is a horrendous fate, and one most of us can't even imagine - but the sad fact is there is a good chance modern slavery is taking place in the towns, cities and villages in this county.
“I would like to thank all three emergency services for taking their time to support in the making of this film."
Superintendent Lee McBride, the force lead for modern slavery and serious organised crime said: “Modern slavery is complex criminality that has exploitation at its core. Often victims don’t have any ID documents or cash and are effectively trapped.
“Any vulnerable person can be a victim - it could be somebody who doesn’t speak English but that’s not necessarily the case – it can happen to anybody who has some form of vulnerability.
“Take a Closer Look” enhances the existing package of awareness raising tools we’ve created for frontline workers so they have the means to identify potential victims.
“Once suspected cases of modern slavery are identified we work with partners and independent charities to locate, engage with and safeguard victims.
“The number of suspected cases of modern slavery is on the increase. This is a global problem and everybody has a part to play in combatting this issue.
“We need people across the county to be aware of the signs to look out for which may indicate somebody is a victim of human trafficking or modern slavery.”
If you have any concerns that you or somebody you know is a victim of modern slavery, report them to Northamptonshire Police on 101 or call 999 in an emergency.
You can also contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or go online at crimestoppers-uk.org, to give information 100% anonymously about modern slavery or any other crime .