MODERN slavery was branded 'one of the greatest evils of modern life' as a local authority voted to toughen up its policies on combatting its use.

Blackburn with Darwen's neighbourhoods boss Cllr Shaukat Hussain made the claims as he moved a motion at the borough’s full Council Forum.

He said it affected tens of thousands of people in car washes, nail bars and restaurants as well as women sexually trafficked and individuals kept in domestic servitude.

Seconding the motion, his Bastwell and Daisyfield ward Labour colleague Cllr Parwaiz Akhtar said reports of court cases regarding modern slavery in the Lancashire Telegraph showed clearly it was problem locally.

Tory group leader Cllr John Slater said it was hard to believe it was still happening in the modern age and said the motion would send out a 'clear message that Blackburn with Darwen would not tolerate modern slavery'.

The meeting unanimously committed the council to ensuring its contractors do not make use of any form of forced labour.

It authorised special training for its corporate procurement team to understand modern slavery and how to identify tenders which might rely on it to keep costs down.