Homeless people are being offered help and advice to know the warning signs of modern slavery.Advertisement
Rough sleepers are often vulnerable to exploitation, and this week, police, health and community agencies are out and about on the streets of Lancashire offering advice and support.
On Monday January 28 they visited the Foxton Centre, where Stewart Roberts who is an ambassador from Haircuts4homeless donated his time to give free haircuts.
Sergeant Abi Finch-Hall of Lancashire Police said: “Modern slavery is happening in Lancashire and could be taking place in your local area.
“The more awareness we can generate the better, not only within the homeless community, but also with retailers and businesses who may interact with the homeless or rough sleeping community. “
Chris Webb, Lancashire’s Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner added: “Tackling modern slavery and human trafficking is a key priority for the Commissioner, protecting those most at risk of becoming victims and ensuring they get support.
“We know that criminals who force people into modern slavery and human trafficking target vulnerable people, including those who are homeless or have no permanent safe place to stay.
“I am pleased to join the team of volunteers engaging with homeless people in Preston and other areas across Lancashire, making sure people are aware of the risks posed by criminals and the signs to look out for, whilst signposting to services that offer help.”
Read more: What was it like sleeping out on the Flag Market?
On Friday outreach teams will be out in Preston engaging with rough sleepers, to raise awareness of modern day slavery.
Signs to look out for include:
Potential exploiters may look to recruit victims at places where the homeless or rough sleeping community spend time together.
Exploiters may display threatening behaviour or appear to control their victims in some way. You may see people being dropped off or collected at the same time by the same vehicle.
Potential victims could also be forced or coerced into criminality or forced to beg on behalf of their exploiter.
If you have any concerns contact the modern day slavery helpline on 08000 121 700 or alternatively report on lancashire.police.uk/reportonline