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From the editor's desk 13 October

The War Cry comments on human trafficking and modern slavery

Police forces’ anti-human trafficking units believe that modern day slavery is an under-reported crime

MEMBERS of an organised crime gang that trafficked victims from Slovakia into the UK were sentenced to more than 24 years in prison last week.

An investigation by police in West Yorkshire revealed that the gang had targeted vulnerable men living in poverty, promising them a better life, only to exploit the individuals for their own financial gain. Further investigations uncovered that the eight traffickers were also targeting families with young children.

Detective Superintendent Pat Twiggs of West Yorkshire Police said: ‘These people were involved in modern day slavery – a crime that trades in human misery.

‘When we rescued the victims, various agencies came together to ensure those in greatest need received help and support.’

The Salvation Army was among the agencies to partner with the police. The organisation holds the government contract to support victims of human trafficking in England and Wales and since 2011 it has supported, on average, around 20 victims every week. In this week’s War Cry we hear what happened to three of those survivors.

The stories are shocking. They tell of people coerced and threatened into crime, slavery and prostitution – all in the ‘civilised society’ of the United Kingdom. But they are also stories of how broken lives are being rebuilt with the help of The Salvation Army and other organisations.

Even with 7,000 people helped since 2011, police forces’ anti-human trafficking units believe that modern day slavery is an under-reported crime, often ‘hidden in plain sight’ at establishments such as nail bars and car washes across the country. We all have a role to play in identifying and reporting suspicious and cruel activities that cause us concern.

Next Thursday (18 October) is Anti-Slavery Day which exists to raise awareness of all forms of slavery and human trafficking, while encouraging more action to be taken to address the problem.

It is a day we should all support. Nobody should be regarded as a commodity. Nobody is for sale.

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