MORE support will be available for victims of human trafficking and modern slavery – thanks to new funding secured by police chiefs.
Further funding of over £22,000 has been successfully offered to the Wiltshire Office of Policing and Crime (OPCC) by the Home Office.
This will mean wider distribution of ‘Go Bags’, as well as recently introduced security cards and victim support materials in a variety of different languages.
Extensions to the existing scheme, which helps Wiltshire Police and the OPCC meet Priority 4 of making Wiltshire safer, will not only support victims, but ensure Wiltshire Police services are accessible to more people.
The bags, which were originally launched by the Police and Crime Commissioner and Wiltshire Police last year, not only provide victims with basic necessities – including toiletries, a change of clothes and basic mobile phones – but they also help build their confidence in the police.
CCP Philip Wilkinson said: “Victims of modern slavery and human trafficking are vulnerable and often overwhelmed when they first encounter the police. They often feel completely dehumanized by those who exploit them.
“While these bags are just a small gesture, they provide much-needed practical support in the first few days of rescuing a victim of exploitation.
“They restore a certain sense of independence and play an important role in demonstrating to victims, especially when English may not be their first language, that the police are there to help them, not to criminalize them. ”
Modern slavery is often hidden in plain sight, and with victims often having all means of independence and outside communication removed, Wiltshire Police continue to urge the public to remain vigilant and report any concerns, too minor though.
Chief Detective Inspector Phil Walker, Wiltshire Police’s Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Officer, said: ‘A victim-centred approach is key when it comes to crime offences. modern slavery and human trafficking.
“It is important that we build relationships with the victims – people who are vulnerable, scared and upset when we first meet them. Often they come from a different country and speak a different language. These support kits can help initiate that important first step in assisting a victim.
“Maybe all they see is a uniform at first, but offering help via ‘Go Bags’, phones and booklets can start to build a very important bond between them and our officers and our staff.”