A seminar raising awareness of human trafficking was held at Hertfordshire Police Headquarters yesterday.
The seminar was attended by police officers from across the Eastern region as well as representatives from partner and government agencies.
Senior speakers included representatives from the West Midlands Anti Trafficking Network, Child trafficking and an expert on the Modern Slavery Bill.
Those attending took part in workshops and presentations held by representatives from a wide range of agencies involved in identifying human trafficking and supporting victims.
Assistant Chief Constable Mick Ball, who opened the seminar, said: “Human trafficking and modern slavery are horrific crimes and unfortunately are international problem - and ones which we will not ignore.
“Being able to identify such crimes and deal with them effectively is a priority for us.
“Tackling human trafficking is very much a multi-agency approach and the number of representatives and experts present here identified the strength and capabilities we have at our disposal to help safeguard extremely vulnerable people from suffering and bring those accountable to justice.”
He said that yesterday’s seminar was about ‘building on these already existing relationships to identify and prevent potential cases and suffering’.
Detective Chief Inspector Amanda Bell, from the Serious and Organised Crime unit of Hertfordshire Constabulary, said: “The seminar is significant as it is the first of its kind to be held in the region.
“However, identifying human trafficking and modern slavery is not only about the agencies and experts here – we also need help from the public to help us in our fight against this horrific crime.
“I would urge members of the public to be vigilant and if they see something to report it to us or the national helpline in confidence.
“Perhaps there is a house in your street that is multi-occupancy – or there are a lot of people coming and going from that address?
“If you see or hear anything suspicious, please make that call – it could prevent innocent and vulnerable people from further suffering.
“We would also ask the public who may suspect a case of human trafficking or modern slavery to not approach those involved.
“More often than not victims may not realise what they have been subjected to and will be extremely frightened.
“Please contact the police or Crimestoppers or the human trafficking helpline.”
Police: 101, Modern Slavery Helpline: 0800 0121 700, Crimestoppers, in confidence 0800 555 111.