Today is anti-slavery day, and to mark the occasion we are celebrating one year of the East Midlands TOEX team, who have been working to protect victims of modern slavery since 2021.
The Tackling Online Exploitation team develops intelligence into serious crime types, including county lines, human trafficking, modern slavery, immigration crime, child sexual exploitation, and child sexual abuse.
Thanks to their research, they have identified and safeguarded more than 60 vulnerable adults and children.
This information is then passed onto forces to make arrests and eventually, and where appropriate, charges.
Over the last year, the team has raised 49 safeguarding concerns from investigations they have worked on across the region.
But, they wouldn’t be able to do the work they do without members of the public reporting their suspicions. Would you be able to spot the signs of slavery?
Someone in slavery might:
Appear to be under the control of someone else and reluctant to interact with others
Not have personal identification on them
Have few personal belongings, wear the same clothes every day or wear unsuitable clothes for work
Not be able to move around freely
Be reluctant to talk to strangers or the authorities
Appear frightened, withdrawn, or show signs of physical or psychological abuse
Be dropped off and collected for work always in the same way, especially at unusual times, i.e. very early or late at night.
DI Dan Smith, who leads the TOEX East Midlands team, said: “There’s more to policing than just making arrests. At the heart of every crime there is a victim, and in our line of work they are often victims of the most serious, organised crime.
“Safeguarding those people and getting them the support they need to rebuild their lives is the most important thing we can do. Our team works incredibly hard to provide intelligence around criminality and support the five forces in the East Midlands in their investigations, but being able to change the lives of the victims we work with is what we all joined policing to do.”
This anti-slavery day, take the time to find out more about modern slavery here.