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Training for war on human trafficking in Sussex
Health workers are being briefed on how to spot victims of human trafficking.
Brighton is to host training for GPs, midwives, youth workers and social workers to help them identify the giveaway signs that people are victims.
The work is starting as police analyse countywide research into the extent of the problem.
Efforts to lift the lid on trafficking in the county have so far yielded few results.
But police have said they are convinced trafficking is going on here, for slavery or forced prostitution.
Funding Nationally the number of victims is said to be rising, with 946 reports in 2011 compared with 710 in 2010.
Brighton and Hove is one of six areas in the country where training will be provided to people in healthcare and other workers.
The Home Office, which is funding the scheme, said the decision to base training in Sussex here was administrative and did not indicate the county had a particular problem.
The training for the workers is being provided by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, Stop the Traffik, women’s charity Eaves, homelessness charity Thames Reach and the Counter Human Trafficking Bureau.
Tell-tale signs of trafficking are said to include whether the victim has given their passport to someone else, whether their transport into the country was paid by someone else, whether they keep the money they earn, whether they are able to contact friends and family and if they seem as if they are speaking according to instructions, rather than their own free will.
The National Crime Agency is expected to take the lead on fighting human trafficking within the next year.
A Sussex Police spokesman said it had looked at what was known locally on the issue and given staff extra advice to look for the signs of trafficking.
He added: “However this is a very complex and often hidden type of criminality which often crosses force borders, spanning several different issues, including potential sex worker exploitation, labour exploitation, and child sex trafficking.”
Human trafficking, which comes under the remit of Assistant Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney in Sussex, is forming part of investigations by the force’s Operation Accent, which aims to tackle organised crime with migrant Eastern Europeans in Bognor and Littlehampton.
Two Sussex trafficking cases are currently going through the courts.
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