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Modern Slavery – could you spot the signs?

• Have you been approached by strangers offering food, alcohol, drugs or shelter?
• Have you been offered work that sounds too good to be true?
• Are you working for, or have you been offered work, for little or no wages?
• Has someone taken your personal belongings or documents?
• Are you being forced to engage in criminal or sexual activity?
• Have you noticed people suddenly disappearing from the streets?

If the answer is yes to any of these questions, you could be at risk of exploitation.

Exploiters often try to recruit people at day centres, night shelters and at soup kitchens.

They promise cash in hand work, alcohol, drugs, and accommodation which usually turn out to be false. Different methods will then be used to prevent someone from escaping or reporting to the police.

You are at a higher risk if you are offered work in hand car washes, agriculture work, factory work or construction. If you are being forced to engage in criminal or sexual activity, this is also exploitation.

Think you might be being exploited?

• Speak to a support worker or someone from a registered homeless charity.
• Call the police on 101 or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
• Report your concerns to the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700.
• Always call 999 if you are in immediate danger.

How to spot an exploiter:

• Someone you always see hanging around outside day shelters with a van or large car.
• Someone you have not seen on the streets before and who does not want to talk to support workers/volunteers.
• Strangers seen talking to people outside shelters and then showing them to a vehicle.
• Someone offering you work or other things, but then arranges an alternative meeting place to pick you up, which is away from your current location.

Suspect an exploiter?

• NEVER approach or engage with them.
• Write down any number plates and a description of what they look like.
• Speak to a support worker or someone from a recognised/registered homeless charity.

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June Doncaster Echo CreateTVT Selby