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Anti-Slavery Day 2021

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Statement from Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer

Every year on 18 October we observe Anti-Slavery Day. It reminds us that, sadly, criminals continue to exploit vulnerable people; treating them as no more than commodities to be forced into sexual exploitation, criminal activity or hard labour for the financial benefit of their exploiters.
Anti-Slavery Day was enshrined in legislation with the introduction of the Modern Slavery Act in 2015. In the six years since then, police officers and staff from across the UK have worked tirelessly to combat, not just modern slavery, but all forms of exploitation including child criminal exploitation (so-called county lines), CSE and other forms of criminal, sexual or labour exploitation.
The last 18 months and the COVID 19 pandemic have been particularly challenging; not least because an already hidden crime became even less visible during the numerous lockdowns. In these difficult times, vulnerable victims have been more isolated than ever.
Although we have worked hard tackling this devastating crime since the introduction of the Modern Slavery Act, slavery has not yet been confined to the past. Criminals continue to exploit vulnerable people; treating them as objects and no more than commodities to be exploited for the benefit of their exploiters.
We will continue to work hard, with our partners across Devon, Cornwall and the rest of the UK, until we can truly say that slavery has been consigned to history.


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