60 victims a year rescued by Black Country anti-slavery charity
An anti-slavery charity with an investigative base in the Black Country says it has rescued more than 60 victims in the last year along.
Hope for Justice, which opened the hub in West Bromwich three years ago, claims its work has more than doubled the amount of people saved in the region.
It comes after the National Crime Agency said the issue of modern slavery in the UK is more prevalent than first thought.
The agency says it is assisting on 300 live police operations targeting modern slavery, with alleged victims as young as 12 being sold on.
Yesterday, 11 members of a traveller family were convicted of running a modern slavery ring which kept one its captives in shocking conditions for 26 years.
Hope for Justice trains police officers to better identify and help victims. It says, since 2014 when it opened the West Bromwich base, the number of people saved has gone up 127 per cent.
And in the past 12 months, it has helped around 65 people into safe houses. The process must see the charity and police prove to the Home Office that there are 'reasonable grounds' someone is victim to slavery.
Neil Wain works for the charity. He was formerly Assistant Chief Constable at Greater Manchester Police.
He said: “This news from our partners at the National Crime Agency confirms what Hope for Justice has long argued – that the true scale of modern slavery in the UK is much larger than previous estimates have suggested.
"This tallies with what our frontline investigators at our West Midlands Hub and other UK offices have been finding in recent years."
The charity recognised the Express & Star's investigation which found women were being used in prostitution rings in Wolverhampton and Walsall.
Reporters uncovered women who were moved from city to city, providing services under the work of masseurs.
Mr Wain added: “Fighting this barbaric crime and helping victims depends not just on law enforcement but on all of us working together – being vigilant about other people’s working and living conditions in our communities, pressing the brands we buy from to uphold the highest ethical standards towards their own workers and those in their supply chains, and reporting all suspicions to the police or a charity like Hope for Justice to investigate.”
The charity's work has been replicated in America. People can report a case to the charity by calling it on 0300 008 8000.