PEOPLE in Wiltshire are being urged to ‘Spot The Signs’ of slavery in a bid to tackle this growing issue.

Modern day slavery takes a variety of forms, many of which operate openly in public places, says charity Crimestoppers.

Whilse anyone can become a victim of this crime, it predominantly affects vulnerable people and immigrant populations with a bias towards industries such as car washes, nail bars and agriculture.

There are many common signs of slavery that victims of abuse share and it is these that Crimestoppers and the Gangmasters Licensing and Abuse Authority (GLAA) have come together to promote in a bid to highlight this issue and encourage people to report suspicions.

Signs to spot include signs of injury, abuse and malnourishment, looking unkempt, often in the same clothing and having poor hygiene as well as being under the control and influence of others.

One man who helped to run a modern day slavery ring was recently jailed for 10 years and nine months.

Martin Rooney, 57, was among 11 gang members convicted of involvement in offences which included the keeping of one man in “truly shocking” conditions for decades in Lincolnshire.

Crimestoppers’ statistics show a 136% national increase in information received on slavery in the past six months compared to the previous six month period.

It is this rise in slavery figures nationwide which reflects why the GLAA has recently been granted a broader remit and stronger powers to tackle labour exploitation across the economy, introducing the capacity to search and seize evidence and investigate modern slavery where it relates to labour abuse and other offences.

Emily Van der Lely, Crimestoppers regional manager for Wiltshire, said: “It’s so awful to hear that slavery is even an issue in this day and age, but we want to reassure victims that it is an issue that is taken extremely seriously, and make it clear to perpetrators that they will be found and prosecuted.

“By launching this campaign, we will educate the public as to the signs to spot and let them know that they can take action on this horrendous crime, without compromising their anonymity.

"They will never have to give a statement to police, or go to court. No-one will ever know where the information came from.”

The campaign will predominantly spread the message using social media, particularly Facebook and Twitter.

Crimestoppers is also partnering with local councils and other organisations to encourage them to promote the campaign through their social media channels, but also to display posters and leaflets which can be downloaded from the Crimestoppers website at