PUBLIC sector workers and business leaders are set to be trained by police in how to identify victims of human trafficking and modern slavery.

The sessions, run by anti-slavery charity Hope for Justice, are taking place in Blackburn and Burnley and includes a local case study presented by a police officer.

The force has also launched a new pocket guide to help frontline professionals spot the signs and know what action to take.

Crime Tsar Clive Grunshaw said: “Tackling modern slavery and human trafficking is a key priority for us in Lancashire, with training like this a really important part of the work being done to help those being exploited and bring offenders to justice.

“Building awareness around the county so more people can spot the signs and report anything that concerns them is crucial, helping Lancashire police take necessary action to protect the vulnerable victims we know are out there.

“I am proud that the resources I have put into this fight places us at the forefront of anti-trafficking work, making our communities safer. By working together, sharing information with the authorities and supporting victims we can tackle this serious and often hidden crime.”

Detective Inspector Jane Newton said: “These training sessions facilitated by Hope for Justice, are a valuable step to train professionals from a variety of organisations, to identifying the signs and symptoms of Modern Day Slavery. Providing the awareness in this area of business, will increase the confidence of the individual, in order to approach potential victims of this crime and reach out with trained support.

“Only by acknowledging that this form of criminality is taking place within our communities and appreciating that everyone has a role to play can we make real progress and proactively support the most vulnerable in our society.”

Sara Squires, UK training manager at Hope for Justice, said: “At Hope for Justice, we know that awareness leads to action, and training leads to an improved response. More than half of referrals to Hope for Justice of potential victims of trafficking come from organisations we have trained, and many of those referrals lead to rescues.

“Better understanding among police forces of the indicators of modern slavery and the best ways to respond to victims will change the landscape of anti-slavery efforts in the UK, by increasing prosecutions, deterring traffickers and supporting survivors. It is fantastic to see such strong backing for these efforts from the Police and Crime Commissioner and from Lancashire Constabulary, with whom we work regularly.”