A MODERN DAY slavery operation has been conducted by West Mercia Police in North Worcestershire.

On April 23 police officers, along with partner agencies conducted ‘Operation Aidant’ which focuses on vulnerability, exploitation, modern slavery and human trafficking.

The aim of the operation was to detect people being smuggled into the country and gather information and intelligence to be used in future operations.

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Inspector Dave King said: "We know there are many men, women and children who are suffering an awful life at the hands of criminal exploitation run by organised crime groups.

"These victims are forced into situations where they work for next to no pay, and in some cases have key documents taken from them, such as driving licence and passport. They are effectively sold a dream and then held to ransom.

"The nature of these crimes means that victims are hidden and controlled, so it can be hard to spot or recognise. Language can be an issue, as can trust of authority, so people don’t always speak up or seek the help they need.”

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The M42 and M5 are widely used to transport people to workplaces, so the multi-agency team were based at Hopwood motorway services.

Inspector King added: "Slavery is a gross exploitation of another human and we will continue to work hard to safeguard their welfare and bring those guilty of turning humans into slaves, to justice.

"West Mercia Police is committed to tackling this type of crime and we are determined to safeguard those who fall victim at the hands of criminals. However, we need the information from the public in order to help us identify evidence of Modern Slavery."

If you or someone you know is being exploited, you can call West Mercia Police on 101 or 999 in an emergency or Crimestoppers 0800 555 111.