Detective Superintendent Allan Harder
TWO British children were forced into labour or sexual exploitation in North Yorkshire, police figures show.
Figures released by the National Crime Agency showed there were 61 referrals of potential child trafficking victims across Yorkshire and Humberside in 2017, and nationally the number of child trafficking victims had increased by 66 per cent on the previous year.
The report also included a breakdown of the number of potential child trafficking victims reported to different police forces in 2017, which showed seven reports of exploitation in North Yorkshire - five for the exploitation of adults, and two of children.
The figures showed the claims of exploitation included:
- One Chinese adult female and one female child from the UK forced into sexual exploitation
- Two adult Indian women forced into domestic servitude
- One Polish man and one Vietnamese man forced into labour exploitation
- One male UK minor forced into labour exploitation
An NSPCC spokeswoman said: “Trafficking is a form of child abuse and these desperately vulnerable children need our help, and perpetrators tracked down and brought to justice.
“These figures reflect what our Child Trafficking Advice Centre is seeing, with despicable traffickers seeking to exploit and profit from hundreds of innocent children. The number of children referred to the NSPCC’s Child Trafficking Advice Centre has increased by 154 per cent since 2007.”
This month, North Yorkshire Police’s No Home Here campaign focuses on modern day slavery and exploitation, and Detective Superintendent Allan Harder said these cases showed the region was “not untouched by this exploitative crime”.
He said: “We should not be fooled into thinking that slavery and trafficking only affects highly populated urban areas." Members of the public may be going about their daily business; getting the car washed or having their nails done for example, and inadvertently come into contact with victims of slavery. Victims have been found in industries such as construction, food processing, agriculture and farming – or forced into domestic servitude or sexually exploited.
“Due to the nature of the crime, victims are hidden and controlled, so the signs may be difficult to spot. Victims may not be allowed to travel alone and rarely interact with others, they may be picked up and dropped off at work or have very few personal possessions or appropriate clothing for the job they are doing and they may appear scared or reluctant to get help.
“That’s why, through the No Home Here campaign, we are raising awareness of the signs and appealing to the public that if they suspect someone is a victim of slavery or trafficking, pick up the phone and report it to police.”*You can also report to the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121700, or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.