Healthcare staff, finance workers and employment officers are the target of a new campaign to tackle modern slavery across Yorkshire.
The new government campaign - which has been launched in Leeds - will help front-line workers in healthcare, financial services and employment officers to spot the signs of human trafficking.
Common signs of could include people being forced to pay cash wages into someone else’s bank account, multiple medical prescriptions from the same address or someone being accompanied to and from an appointment by someone who is obviously not a relative.
Based on intelligence from the police and the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA), the Government has chosen to run the campaign in areas where it is likely to have an impact.
There were 121 cases of modern slavery reported to police in West Yorkshire in the last year, new figures show.
Across the country, the number of potential victims of modern slavery has increased year on year, with nearly 7,000 cases identified and referred to the National Referral Mechanism in 2018. This is a 36 per cent increase from 2017.
Victoria Atkins, minister for crime, safeguarding and vulnerability, said: “Ending the scourge of modern slavery is a priority of this Government. We all have a role to play in tacking this appalling crime.
“It is vitally important to give front-line workers, who come into contact with potential victims of trafficking and modern slavery the tools they need to spot the signs of abuse and the confidence to report any exploitation they see.”
GLAA chief executive, Michael Rich, added: “Front-line workers within these industries are in a perfect position to spot service users who may be experiencing exploitation.
"Modern slavery hides in plain sight and this campaign is vitally important in educating those workers about what signs to be alert to, what they can do to help, and who to contact if they have concerns.
"They are our eyes and ears and the information they provide could be crucial – it could end suffering and even save lives.”