A campaign was launched this week to fight against modern slavery in South Yorkshire.
South Yorkshire Modern Slavery Partnership’s “Curiosity Counts” is aiming to raise awareness of modern slavery to the community, so they are able to actively spot the signs of exploitation and report their concerns to the police.
The campaign particularly targets people who have been working during the lockdowns. It is more difficult for people who experienced exploitation to reach out for help, since face to face support services were halted.
Dr Alan Billings, Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire, said: “Unlike slavery in the past, modern slavery is ‘hidden in plain sight’.”
While most people thought slavery would not happen in the UK, the situation is more dire than imagined.
According to the government’s 2020 UK Annual Report on Modern Slavery, there were 7,779 modern slavery crimes recorded by the police in the year to March 2020, which is a 59% increase from 4,897 in the year to March 2019.
Also, the Anti-Slavery International stated that over 10,000 people who were trapped in slavery in Britain were referred to authorities in 2019. The real number of modern slaves is estimated to be much higher.
Ashiana Sheffield is one of the partners of “Curiosity Counts”. It has been working to support BAMER (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Refugee) women who were affected by domestic and sexual abuse in human trafficking.
Nicola Lambe, CEO of Ashiana said: “We are pleased to join key partners to increase awareness of the signs of Modern Slavery in our communities and hope everyone understands why Curiosity Counts.”
If you are concerned or think someone needs help, please call the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700 or call the Police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.