HELP to spot the signs of human trafficking has been issued by Essex police to mark the fifth annual World Day against Trafficking in Persons.

To raise awareness the police force has given guidance of what to look for before reporting concerns over human trafficking and modern slavery.

Detective Superintendent Andy Waldie, director of intelligence across the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: “Human trafficking needs to end, and you can help make this happen.

"Whether you live or work close to an airport or port, work in the restaurant and hotel industries, or if you’re a member of the public with concerns, we urge you to memorise the signs of modern slavery and take action.

Your phone call could help these victims lead a better life, free from exploitation and fear.”

He added: “Victims of human trafficking are often forced into modern slavery, whether that’s sexual exploitation, or businesses like car washes or barbers, factory work, or manual labour like building or farm work.

"If any of the signs below seem familiar, trust your instincts and make a report to us.”

  • Is there a heavy presence of security personnel on a farm, factory or building site near you?
  • Are there barred windows, locked doors or surveillance cameras?
  • Does it look like people are working and living at the same place, are the conditions cramped or overcrowded?
  • Are 'workers' collected very early and return late at night on a regular basis?
  • Are they driven between premises?
  • Is there a lack of safety equipment or appropriate clothing?
  • Many victims may appear malnourished or show signs of bruises or other injury. Their appearance may be unkempt.
  • How do they engage with the community around you? Victims of human trafficking may be isolated form the local community or under the control or influence of others.

DS Waldie added: “If you yourself are, or have been, a victim of human trafficking it’s important you get in touch.

"Your wellbeing is our number one concern.

"We want to be able to protect people from across the world who find themselves in this situation, where their trust has been taken advantage of, by bringing the perpetrators of these complex crimes to justice and helping victims to safety.”

To report suspected human trafficking or for advice, contact the Modern Day Slavery Helpline on 0800 0121 700.

You can also report it on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

For more information click here.