Highlighting the hidden but increasingly pressing issue of modern slavery in Lancashire, a recent event praised by the Police and Crime Commissioner's office has underlined the key things for local businesses to be on the lookout for.
With representatives from businesses across the county in attendance, the conference pointed out that modern slavery was a major challenge for police and offered tips on what companies can do if they discover it is being used in their supply chain.
A wide range of expert speakers on the topic offered their keen insight into the matter and provided a rundown of potential issues for businesses and a brief tutorial on how to spot the signs of modern slavery in the 21st century.
"Tackling modern slavery is a key priority for the commissioner and events such as this play an important role in raising awareness and helping those being exploited whilst bringing offenders to justice," said Lancashire's Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, Chris Webb. "We know there are vulnerable victims out there and businesses, like every organisation across the county, have a role to play in helping Lancashire police take necessary action to protect them.
"The resources that the commissioner has put into this fight places us at the forefront of anti-trafficking work nationally and is a really important part of making our communities safer," Chris added.
The conference came off the back of extensive work done across Lancashire by way of education, with over 500 people from across the public sector and non-governmental organisations having attended training sessions on spotting modern slavery, while a table-top exercise put some of the more common scenarios into play to show how to get people to safety.
“We have welcomed the opportunity to spend a morning with Lancashire businesses to raise awareness of modern slavery and human trafficking and to make businesses aware of how they can identify those who may have been trafficked or protect themselves and their working practices from exploitation," explained DS Abi Finch-Hall from Lancashire Constabulary.
"We are really pleased that businesses in Lancashire recognise this issue and are willing to work with us and partners to eradicate slavery in Lancashire.”