Slavery 'well hidden' and 'under reported' in South Yorkshire, say police

Bob Chapman

Bob Chapman

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Eight suspected slavery victims were identified in South Yorkshire last year, with police chiefs fearing it is well hidden and under reported in the county.

In a bid to raise awareness of the issue, South Yorkshire Police has commissioned artwork to illustrate the different forms modern day slavery can take.

The posters and digital images will illustrate domestic servitude, forced labour and sexual exploitation.

Leaflets for victims of modern slavery will be printed in a variety of different languages.

South Yorkshire Police said modern slavery is the second most profitable criminality in the world, second only to drug supply.

In 2015, 3,266 potential victims of modern slavery were identified nationally - a 40 per cent increase on the year before.

A South Yorkshire Police spokesman said: "Only eight cases were referred from South Yorkshire during 2015.

"These statistics demonstrate how well hidden and just how under reported this crime is in our area."

Superintendent Bob Chapman, who runs South Yorkshire Police's new modern slavery team, said: “It’s vitally important that we put victims right at the forefront of our approach to tackling this serious crime.

“With the formation of the modern slavery team, we hope to be able to increase and develop intelligence around modern slavery, lead on proactive operations to tackle modern slavery and create effective partnership networks across the region.

“We absolutely will not tolerate this crime and are determined to protect our most vulnerable members of the public from exploitation.”