Published On: Fri, Jan 16th, 2015 on 12:01 am

Detective team to help fight slavery gangs in West Yorkshire

Human Trafficking

A team of detectives will target organised crime lords seeking to traffic people into West Yorkshire.

Believed to be the third of its kind in the country, a new Human Trafficking Unit (HTU) will work both locally and nationally to investigate and tackle human trafficking related offending.

It is has been set up as part of West Yorkshire’s Serious and Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) and will use a range of tactics and techniques to investigate the most complex criminal cases.

Work by the detectives will be complemented by the start-up of a West Yorkshire Anti Trafficking Network (WYATN) with charity Hope For Justice.

It will train over 3,000 police staff, as well as staff from partner agencies about how to spot the signs of trafficking and how to tackle it.

The training will be funded by cash secured from the Home Office by West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson.

The initiatives follow a conference hosted last year to spread awareness of human trafficking and to lay the groundwork for coordinated efforts to address the issue.

Detective Chief Inspector Warren Stevenson of West Yorkshire Police said: “Human trafficking is a vile crime, and the resources we are dedicating to this new unit makes clear how determined we are to tackle it and bring those responsible to justice.

“Last year the number of human trafficking victims referred by West Yorkshire Police to the national referral mechanism doubled from 2013 from 42 to 84, showing the scale of the problem, but also demonstrating that victims are more willing to come to us.”

Mr Burns-Williamson said: “The creation of this dedicated response unit shows how West Yorkshire Police is leading the way in helping victims of human trafficking.”

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