A mobile exhibition which highlights the signs of modern day slavery will be in Lancaster on Saturday.
The display, which will take visitors on an interactive journey, telling the story of slavery as they walk through different rooms, will be running between 10am and 4pm at St Thomas’ Church.
It forms part of the Lancaster Health Festival, which will see a variety of talks and health events taking place throughout the city.
The event has been organised by the Pan-Lancashire Anti-Slavery Partnership, which was set up to work collaboratively with public authorities, voluntary and charity sectors and local businesses, in the fight against human trafficking and modern day slavery.
A key part of the work is focused on raising public awareness of what the issues are, the different types of slavery and trafficking and how to spot the signs.
Lancashire Constabulary’s modern slavery and human trafficking coordinator Det Sgt Jill Entwistle said: “Modern day slavery and human trafficking is happening in Lancaster and we want people to be aware of this and help us by spotting the signs.
“We are working to identify victims and tackle this serious and hidden crime – but we do need help from the local community. This event is about raising awareness of the issues so that the public can work with us and be aware of how to report suspicious activity.”
The event will also see stalls at Dalton Square and Market Square during the day, where volunteers from the Lancashire Police Cadets will handing out leaflets. The branded ‘Freedom Bus’ which is covered with anti-slavery messages, will also be travelling around the city, stopping in various locations to provide information to communities.
This will be followed be a short service on the steps of the museum in Market Square on Sunday, where attendees will be asked to observe a minute’s silence in remembrance of all victims of slavery.
Ian Dewar, chaplain, from University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, who is organising the health festival, said: “This is a genuine privilege for the health festival. You cannot have a healthy city if you do not have a safe city and a just city. I am enormously proud of the work that our police and the Pan-Lancashire Anti-Slavery Partnership do to combat trafficking and I hope that the people of our city will be better informed and better able to play their part in challenging this evil trade.”
Clive Grunshaw, Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “Tackling modern slavery and human trafficking is a key priority for us in Lancashire. Events like this help to build awareness around the county so more people can spot the signs and report any concerns to the police, helping officers to take the necessary action to protect the vulnerable victims we know are out there.
“I am proud that the resources I have put into this area place us at the forefront of anti-trafficking work, making our communities safer. By working together, sharing information with authorities and supporting victims we can tackle this serious and often hidden crime.”
Signs that could indicate that someone is a victim of slavery include looking malnourished or unkempt, appearing withdrawn, rarely travelling on their own, appearing to be under the control of others, being unfamiliar with their neighbourhood, living in dirty, cramped or overcrowded accommodation, having few personal possessions, having no identification or travel documents and being hesitant to talk to strangers.
Advice and support for victims is available from the modern slavery helpline on 08000 121 700. Call 999 if you or anyone is in immediate danger. If there is no immediate danger, you can report suspicious activity on 101.