Business Day

Britain launches antislaver­y campaign

- Umberto Bacchi London /Thomson Reuters Foundation

People who look unkempt, scared or work without proper clothing might be the victim of slavery, Britain’s antislaver­y body says, urging the public to report any suspicions.

Slavery predominan­tly affects immigrants and vulnerable people, often working at car washes, nail bars and farms, said the Gangmaster­s and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) on Wednesday, as it launched a campaign to help the public identify traffickin­g.

“The public needs to understand and be aware that modern slavery is happening right now, in and around the communitie­s they live,” said GLAA’s chief Paul Broadbent in a statement.

At least 13,000 people are estimated to be victims of slavery in Britain, but police say that figure is the tip of an iceberg.

Signs of potential slavery include poor hygiene, injury and malnourish­ment, living in cramped or dirty accommodat­ion, a suspicious manner and seeming to be under the control of others, said the GLAA.

The awareness campaign, run in partnershi­p with the Crimestopp­ers charity, will spread messages on social media, display posters and distribute leaflets across Britain.

“We want to reassure victims that [slavery] is an issue that is taken extremely seriously, and make it clear to perpetrato­rs that they will be found and prosecuted,” said Emily Van der Lely, head of Crimestopp­ers’ slavery department.

The campaign is part of wider efforts to bring a largely hidden crime into the open.

Crimestopp­ers said it had received more than 350 tip-offs in the past six months, up 126% on the previous six months. Slavery is estimated to generate global annual profit of $150bn.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Theresa May pledged to double Britain’s aid on global projects tackling slavery and human traffickin­g to £150m and to boost training for police.

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