SLAVERY has existed for generations but now police have been empowered to tackle it under a new law.
Hampshire Constabulary’s chief constable Andy Marsh said the Modern Slavery Act has given police the chance to fight the crime.
He said: ‘Without a doubt we’ve got a problem with modern slavery in Hampshire and the new legislation under the Modern Slavery Act allows us to do something different about it right now.
‘We can’t act against modern slavery on our own – it has to be done in partnership to tackle the causes of it and to deal with the victims.
‘Prosecution is part of that, that’s what I can play a part in but this partnership is about tackling every aspect of modern slavery.’
He added: ‘Modern slavery, although it’s called modern slavery, has been about for all of my police service and I’ve been in policing for 30 years but only now is it being recognised for the significant problem it is.’
Mr Marsh said cases of children being trafficked are heart-wrenching.
He said: ‘We have seen children trafficked for the purpose of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation, incredibly serious offences that everybody would look at and say this is truly awful, the police and other agencies must do something about it.’
Hampshire has three safe houses with 14 beds.
Signs of slavery include:
Being in fear of other people in the premises.
Captors speaking on victims’ behalf.
No possessions including passports or identity.
Long-term multiple injuries, poor nutrition, under nourished, dental pain, fatigue, self-harm.