This piece is written as part of a series of releases for National Safeguarding Week 2017.

Because it’s so hidden and takes place out of sight and outside those areas where normal authorities can traditionally reach, the scale of modern slavery can be difficult to judge.

A Home Office report notes that the current best estimate is that there were between 10,000 and 13,000 potential victims of modern slavery in the UK in 2013.

While national, devolved and local governments are working alongside police forces to try to tackle the problem, it can’t work without input from members of the public.

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This National Safeguarding Week, one of the issues we’re looking at is modern slavery, and what you might be able to do to help.

Modern slavery can take a number of forms, ranging from forced labour to debt bondage, or from people trafficking to child marriage.

The victims of this kind of threat are often already vulnerable people, who might be dealing with addiction to alcohol or drugs, suffer from mental illness or have been brought to the UK by people traffickers.

People living on the streets can also make easy targets for people running slavery operations, as they can sometimes be coaxed into forced labour for the promise of a roof over their heads.

All incidences of modern slavery are very well hidden, and those responsible for it usually know how to keep it covered up.

They’re also usually very savvy in that they target people who don’t engage with normal services – such as local councils or police.

It’s all the more important that if you spot anything suspicious which could be linked to an incidence of slavery, that you report it to the proper authorities.

We know that people don’t like to feel that they could be raising a fuss over nothing, or getting themselves involved with someone else’s business.

They could also feel personally at risk if they report things such as slavery.

But it takes good intelligence from members of the public willing to come forward before agencies such as police can investigate and begin tackling the problem.

Don’t feel bad for coming forward – the information you provide could help victims of slavery get back the lives and dignity they deserve.

If you have anything to report, contact North Wales Police on 101 (or 999 in an emergency), or Wrexham Council Adult Social Care on 01978 292066 or Children’s Social Care on 292039, depending on the incident.

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