A charity which provides support and advice to victims of modern day slavery has had its funding extended following a successful pilot.
Unseen UK set up a team to help train police and other professionals to spot the signs and indicators of trafficking and slavery and support people who have been enslaved.
Modern day slaves can be forced to work in cannabis factories, brothels, on the forecourts of the increasing number of hand car washes, in the new breed of nail bars undercutting traditional beauty therapists and on travellers’ sites on the outskirts of the city.
Police and charities struggle to put together accurate numbers, but estimates for the total victims in the UK at any one time is between 10,000 to 13,000.
In Bristol the number of tip-offs the force received in relation to possible human trafficking and modern day slavery offences more than trebled from 2012 to 2014, from 67 to 252.
As part of the pilot, Unseen developed a training package which was used to train more than 140 people from a range of frontline services; using the information the Police and other agencies have been able to visit sites of potential slavery identifying potential victims.
Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “It is hard to imagine that in this day and age slavery still exists, however the sad truth is that it does…we need to take every opportunity to speak out and put an end to this terrible crime for good.
“Unseen UK is doing some remarkable work to tackle the very serious issue that is modern slavery,” said Sue Mountstevens, “It is more important than ever that we must continue the fight to eradicate human trafficking and exploitation.”
Read more: Is Bristol a modern day slavery hub?