Anti-Slavery day was marked by the next phase of Project Wilson, a police operation that targets pop-up brothels and protects Sheffield’s vulnerable women.
South Yorkshire police have been carrying out the operation to protect women from modern slavery for a number of months.
As part of the next phase, police yesterday carried out searches at a number of addresses, tasked with identifying and safeguarding any women who could be possible victims of trafficking and sexual exploitation.
Vulnerable women from less fortunate countries are often promised a job and a good income before arriving in England, and are then forced into becoming sex workers.
Detective Sergeant Nikki Leach said: “Often, we find that their passports are taken off them and they’re soon working in the sex industry from a flat or a house, with little to no control over their own life. It’s our job, to show them that they do have a choice and together we can help them to get out of this situation and rebuild their lives.”
According to the National Crime Agency 1,200 victims of trafficking were referred to the National Referral Mechanism between April and June this year – a three percent increase on the previous quarter.
Victims came from 83 different countries with Albania, the UK and Vietnam being the most common nationalities.
South Yorkshire police work closely with anti-slavery charities and organisations such as the Red Cross, City Hearts and Ashiana, who help provide the victims of modern slavery with help and support.
The Anti-Slavery Unit are also hoping to raise awareness that slavery is still happening today and encourage members of the public to get in touch with any information they have.
Crimestoppers can be called anonymously on 0800 555111, or call the Modern Slavery Helpline on 0800 0121 700.