Police have asked for people to be on the lookout for signs of human trafficking in Cambridgeshire.
The county’s police force is carrying out a campaign throughout July to raise awareness of the problem and is warning: “Modern slavery is closer than you think.”
Raids connected with suspected human trafficking were carried out in St Ives in June last year. And in January, three men were arrested on suspicion of labour exploitation at a car wash on the A14.
Detective Chief Inspector Becky Tipping, force tactical lead for human trafficking, said: “Our priority has been, and always will be, to protect members of the public from harm. We are committed to working with partner agencies to tackle human trafficking and we are targeting those who gain from others’ suffering.
“Victims often end up in over-crowded accommodation and immediately placed in debt to a criminal who controls their affairs, after having been promised a better life in the UK with well-paid work.
“They are paid wages well below the legal minimum for extremely long hours and their pay is often taken to service debt on their accommodation.
“Victims are usually too scared to tell someone of their situation and are reluctant to seek help from authorities. However, I would urge anyone who feels they are being exploited or has any concerns about individuals to contact police.
“We relentlessly continue in our work to put an end to human trafficking in Cambridgeshire but without people coming forward and giving us information it makes it much more difficult.”
Signs of human trafficking include poor work and living conditions, such as being paid very little for long hours; unusually fearful or anxious behaviour; poor health, such as being malnourished; having very few personal possessions and not able to speak for themselves; and lack of knowledge about whereabouts.
INFORMATION: For more on the work being done to combat human trafficking, click here.