Today is Anti-slavery Day and organisations from across Nottinghamshire are making a joint pledge to ensure the county is free of modern slavery.
The joint commitment by Nottinghamshire Councils, businesses, churches, charities and the police aims to raise awareness of modern slavery and eradicate it.
The pledge will be officially launched at Hammond Farm, a local farming business who has joined the pledge to do more to prevent modern slavery after one of their employees was a victim of exploitation.
Detective Chief Inspector Nick Waldram, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “There has been an increase in the number of these cases coming to light as people become more aware of the issue - yet we believe that there may be many more vulnerable people still living in slavery in Nottinghamshire.
“That is why we are calling on the public, businesses and public organisations to be vigilant for the signs and report their suspicions so we and our partners can take action in the drive to make Nottinghamshire slavery free.”
Nearly 4,000 victims are identified as potential victims of modern slavery in the UK each year. The Home Office estimates the number of slaves in the UK at 13,000 and new global figures launched by the United Nations put the number at 40.3 million slaves worldwide.
In Nottinghamshire there have been a number of high profile prosecutions of groups who have been exploiting vulnerable people but more needs to be done to end modern slavery.
The Bishop of Nottingham, Paul Williams has backed the campaign along with The Salvation Army who have launched their own appeal to spot the signs of modern slavery, a crime that can be hidden in plain sight.
Bishop Paul Williams said: “It is deeply shocking that in the 21st Century millions of people around the world are still pressed into the horrors of slavery, even here on our own doorstep in Nottinghamshire.
“We wholeheartedly join with our friends and local partners to work towards making our city and county free of Modern Slavery. Together we must act.”
The campaign will ask the public to be alert to signs of modern slavery, to report anything they think is suspicious and for businesses to do more to raise awareness of modern slavery and to know more about where their employees come from as well.
Vernon Coaker MP for Gedling is also raising the issue of modern slavery on a national level as the new co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery said people are trafficked not only for sexual exploitation but also for their labour.
Paddy Tipping, Nottinghamshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “Modern slavery is not confined to any particular group or community and sadly it is much more prevalent than you might imagine.
Chief Executive of Gedling Borough Council and chair of the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Modern Slavery partnership, John Robinson said: “We will commit to raising awareness of the plight of the people affected by this and to do everything in our power to stop modern slavery happening in Nottinghamshire.”
The Modern Slavery Helpline is 08000 121 700.