4:10pm Sunday 5th June 2011
The metropolitan police and an anti-trafficking charity have launched a new phoneline to help the victims of human trafficking.
It will be advertised on a poster campaign which show women attached like puppets on strings in a dark and dingy room. They carry the strapline: 'Stop traffickers controlling you. You make the call. We'll make it stop'.
The freephone number 0800 783 2589 is for victims and those who suspect trafficked victims are living in their community, to pass on information in confidence to the police.
It has been launched by the Metropolitan police and STOP THE TRAFFIK.
The information will be passed along to experienced officers who will investigate and take action against perpetrators where possible.
Detective Chief Superintendent Richard Martin, head of the MPS's SCD9 Human Exploitation and Organised Crime Command, , said: "I hope that this poster and the freephone number it shows will encourage and enable victims who are suffering at the hands of traffickers to get in touch with us.
"Since SCD9 was formed in April last year, we have been working to raise awareness and understanding of all aspects of Human Trafficking, including trafficking for sexual exploitation and trafficking in the context of domestic servitude and forced labour.
"Numerous human trafficking investigations are currently under way, and officers have also secured 12 convictions in the last year, with a further 20 defendants awaiting trial.
"We work closely with partner organisations and want to build on this work by providing this new freephone support number.
"I would also ask that anybody who suspects trafficked victims are being forced to work within their community to contact us to pass on information in confidence on 0800 783 2589. If it's an emergency, people should call 999."
Ruth Dearnley, Chief Executive of STOP THE TRAFFIK, said: "Human trafficking starts in communities and can be stopped by communities. People need to know what human trafficking is, what it looks like, and who to tell.”
The phone line will be staffed by officers between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday. At all other times messages can be left for officers. In an emergency, people should call 999.
A spokesman from Croydon Community Against Trafficking said: “Any communication to the public that highlights the true horror of human trafficking is welcome, particularly a freephone number which people can use to report anything suspicious to the authorities.
“As we are talking about criminal activity operating behind closed doors it is really important that people in the community knows what they are looking for.”
For more information on how to spot the signs of trafficking go to www.theccat.com.