A new campaign designed to turn the tide on trafficking and exploitation in Wales has launched today.
The charity Crimestoppers is asking people to be on the look-out for suspicious activities and pass on what they know about modern slavery. This campaign highlights the trafficking of people, drugs and weapons across the Welsh coast and borders as well as sexual exploitation of trafficked women.
The eight-week digital campaign, supported by Wales’ four police and crime commissioners and anti-slavery partner agencies, will encourage the public to look out for signs of trafficking alongside the coastline and sexual exploitation of vulnerable people in towns and cities. Crimestoppers guarantees anonymity to everyone who contacts them.
Last year a yacht off the West Wales coast was intercepted carrying a street value of £60 million of cocaine and the campaign hopes to deter gangs from using Wales to traffic people and illegal commodities.
Crimestoppers’ Wales Manager, Ella Rabaiotti, said: "From our coastlines and into our towns and valleys, we want to help turn the tide on trafficking and exploitation. Criminal gangs boldly traffic people and drugs into Wales and exploit them to carry drugs or force them into prostitution. Your anonymous information can help stop this.
“As a charity, we strive to give everyone a voice to speak up about crime and we are really keen to hear from people who have information about trafficking and exploitation. Your anonymous information is vital to help get people to safety and keep drugs and weapons off our streets.”
United in their stand against slavery, Gwent Police and Crime commissioner – Jeff Cuthbert, who is supporting this campaign said:
“Putting an end to slavery is a significant priority for us across Wales. Criminal gangs both within our country and across borders traffic people, Class A drugs and weapons. The criminals involved in trafficking are a real threat to our communities and Wales is not exempt from their targeted activities. We know that the public often have information that they would prefer to share anonymously. We encourage the members of the public to support the Crimestoppers charity campaign and pass on any information they have, however small, to stop these organised criminals and keep Wales free from slavery.”
Assistant Chief Constable for Gwent Police and the Welsh ACPO lead on Modern Day Slavery and Human Trafficking, Jon Edwards explained: “Modern day slavery and human trafficking and are crimes which should not be taking place in the 21st century.
"It is still a relatively uncommon offence in Wales, but its prevalence is growing.
"We need to increase vigilance in all our communities and as a police service we need to be able to respond.
“Human trafficking is a complex crime which usually involves three key steps.
“The first is the recruitment, transportation and receipt of victims. The second is the process through which the victim becomes beholden to the criminal - which can occur through a variety of means such as coercion or deception. The final step is for victims to be exploited.
"Tackling the problem is made more complex by barriers to disclosure, whereby victims are either unaware of available support or too fearful to report their concerns. This may be due to their isolation, citizenship status or ‘self-blame’ for their predicament.
“This new campaign will hopefully help people have the voice to speak up about this sort of crime. Anonymous information is vital to help us tackle Serious Organise Crime in Gwent and I urge anyone who may have any information or may have seen something that doesn’t feel right or may look suspicious, to please get in touch.”
To find out more about the new campaign and to learn how to spot the signs and speak up, visit: http://bit.ly/39GbEbw