As part of our week-long series on modern slavery, Investigative Reporter Aasma Day looks at some of the different ways vulnerable people are exploited after being trafficked.
Slavery or trafficking is the movement of a person from one place to another.
This could be from country to country, town to town or even as simple as one room in a building to another into conditions of exploitation using deception, coercion, abuse of power or the abuse of the person’s vulnerability.
People sometimes assume that trafficking is just done for sex exploitation purposes, but there are many other kinds of modern slavery and sometimes, people who are trafficked are exploited in a number of different ways.
Det Supt Sue Cawley, head of Lancashire Police’s public protection unit, says: “Sometimes, cases of trafficking come to our attention inadvertently when we are investigating something else or are dealing with someone who is in the cells for another matter.
“In some cases, the victim has willingly travelled into the UK by their own means to then only make their first contact with the trafficker based upon an offer of apparent legal and legitimate employment unaware of the situation that awaits them.
“In Lancashire, we are seen as a best practice force for tackling Child Sex Exploitation.
“However, when it comes to trafficking across adult males and females, we are still on the journey of uncovering the full extent of it.
“We need to raise awareness of all forms of trafficking among the public, partner agencies and the victims themselves.
“Victims of trafficking often do not realise they are victims.” In 2013, there were 1,746 referrals of potential victims of trafficking across the UK. This represents a 47 per cent increase on 2012 referrals.
However, these are just the known victims.
Slavery’s hidden nature means actual numbers are likely to be much higher.
The victims were reported to be from 112 countries of origin – an 18 per cent increase on 2012 country of origin totals.
The potential victims of trafficking were made up of 1,122 females (64 per cent) and 624 males (36 per cent) with 1,295 (74 per cent) referred for adult exploitation categories, 450 (26 per cent) being referred for under 18s and one of unidentified age at time of exploitation.
You can read more on this story in today’s Lancashire Evening Post and tablet apps.