More than 20 businesses and organisations across Cambridgeshire attended a one-day workshop raising awareness of how to spot the signs of modern slavery.
The free workshop took place on January 10 and was organised by Cambridgeshire Constabulary's Victim and Witness Hub following a successful bid for Home Office funding with the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.
Its aim was to raise awareness of modern day slavery among employees at local businesses - particularly factories, banks and recruitment agencies - as well as offering advice on how to spot possible victims and report any concerns.
Speakers at the event included detective superintendent Rebecca Tipping, detective sergeant chris Acourt, PC Nick Webber, Courtenay Forbes from the Modern Slavery Helpline, Mark Heath from the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA), Marion Durose from the Stronger Together initiative, Haydn Ornish-Jenkins from registered charity Stop the Traffik and Dale Archer and Leon Reed from company auditor Verisio Ltd.
Daniela Dumitrache, specialist victim care co-ordinator at the witness hub, said: "No business is free from the risk of modern slavery or human trafficking. High-risk sectors include those whose businesses and UK supply chains are characterised by a high proportion of migrant workers undertaking unskilled and irregular work. We hope today's workshop has helped staff at businesses across the county recognise the signs that someone may be a victim of modern slavery and also know how to access support from the Victim and Witness Hub.
A total of 32 people from 24 different businesses and establishments attended the event held at force HQ. Attendees included HR managers, rehabilitation workers, a GP, counsellor, farm manager, tenancy officer, attorney and more.
The workshop was opened by acting Police and Crime Commissioner Ray Bisby, who said employers can sometimes be misled into hiring victims of modern slavery.
He added: "I am pleased that so many local businesses have taken advantage of Cambridgeshire Constabulary and Victim and Witness Hub's free workshop to help employers spot the signs that someone may be a victim of modern slavery or human trafficking and how to report it.
"Together we all have our part to play in stopping human trafficking and exploitation. Today's workshop is a great example of agencies and organisations coming together to protect some of the most vulnerable in our society."
In Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, victims are able to receive free emotional and practical support from Specialist Victim and Witness Care Co-ordinators, funded by the PCC.
"This is regularly under threat of violence or some other form of punishment. The signs of modern day slavery and human trafficking can often be hard to spot - but being able to recognise them may help save someone's life."
Suspicions relating to exploitation, modern slavery and human trafficking should be reported online via www.cambs.police.uk/report or by calling 101. Always call 999 in an emergency.