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Including modern slavery, county lines and identifying potential victims

Crimes involving exploitation include holding a person in a position of slavery, servitude forced or compulsory labour, or facilitating their travel with the intention of exploiting them soon after.

Although human trafficking often involves an international cross-border element, it is also possible to be a victim of modern slavery within your own country. It is possible to be a victim even if consent has been given to be moved. Children cannot give consent to being exploited.

Identifying and Supporting Victims

If you believe a person is in immediate risk of harm, you should contact the police.

If you have concerns that a child or young person may be at risk of harm contact our Contact, Advice and Assessment Service.

We've included some guidance below offering information about identifying modern slavery:

The Modern Slavery Helpline

The Modern Slavery Helpline can provide victims, the public, statutory agencies and businesses access to information, support and guidance.

You can call the helpline on 08000 121 700 - it is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

You can also get in touch with the Modern Slavery Helpline online.

Through the helpline:

  • potential victims have the chance to speak to fully trained call handlers who can help them access relevant services, including government-funded support through the National Referral Mechanism
  • statutory agencies can call to gain support in dealing with potential victims, and to receive guidance in accessing all the information and tools available through the associated Resource Centre
  • businesses can call for information, advice and also to report any concerns they have about potential instances of modern slavery in their operations
  • members of the public and those delivering services on the front-line can also report any modern slavery suspicions or concerns about individuals, premises or locations

Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement 

The West Berkshire Council is committed to preventing modern slavery and human trafficking from taking place.

Our Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking statement is produced on an annual basis in line with Section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 which explains the steps that West Berkshire Council has undertaken to ensure that no slavery or human trafficking takes place in our services or supply chains.

The following statements relate to activities undertaken during each financial year:

County Lines

County lines is the police term for urban gangs supplying drugs to suburban areas and market and coastal towns using dedicated mobile phone lines or "deal lines".

It involves child criminal exploitation (CCE) as gangs use children and vulnerable people to move drugs and money. Gangs establish a base in the market location, typically by taking over the homes of local vulnerable adults by force or coercion in a practice referred to as 'cuckooing'. Those exploited by criminal gangs are victims of modern slavery.

County lines activity and the associated violence, drug dealing and exploitation has a devastating impact on young people, vulnerable adults and local communities. For more information on county lines visit the National Crime Agency website.

The National Referral Mechanism (NRM)

The NRM is a framework for identifying victims of modern slavery, including human trafficking, and ensuring they receive the appropriate protection and support.

The NRM is also the mechanism through which the UK Human Trafficking Centre (UKHTC) collects data about victims. This information contributes to building a clearer picture about the scope of human trafficking in the UK.

Specified public authorities are required to notify the Home Office about any potential victims of modern slavery they encounter in England and Wales.

For more information on the National Referral Mechanism on GOV.UK.

Further Information

See the support for victims of modern slavery leaflet on GOV.UK.

There are a range of videos on the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner (IASC) website and the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) website about spotting the signs of modern slavery, methods used by traffickers to exploit their victims and accounts from victims.

The following organisations, sites and pages share up to date information, resources, awareness campaigns and progress in respect of modern slavery:

Please note West Berkshire Council does not endorse nor accept any liability for, the content of these pages and sites.

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