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A TOTAL of £70,000 is being spent to safeguard victims of human trafficking.

With Human Trafficking Awareness Day taking place yesterday, Simon Hayes, pictured, police and crime commissioner for Hampshire, has awarded a £70,000 grant to Hampshire Constabulary to create an Anti-Trafficking Partnership.

The project is in its infancy, but will co-ordinate the identification of victims of modern slavery and offer them support, while catching offenders.

Mr Hayes said: ‘I am investing in this project in response to the government’s intention that the UK leads the global fight against modern slavery.

‘Through funding and implementing the Anti-Trafficking Partnership, we are addressing this largely hidden problem. This project will work to identify and disrupt criminals involved in human trafficking and ensure the safety of victims.’

Partnership co-ordinator Detective Superintendent Dick Pearson added: ‘Modern slavery and human trafficking destroys lives and damages communities. We know that it affects communities across the world as well as here. The partnership is an important step in bringing together the various agencies and professionals across the region to help us respond better.’