VICTIMS of trafficking and modern slavery across Somerset and Avon will continue to receive support thanks to further funding.

Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Sue Mountstevens has given further funding to Unseen UK, who provide specialist support services for victims of modern slavery.

The initial funding allowed Unseen’s Resettlement, Integration and Outreach (RIO) team, to expand the services on offer to frontline staff and agencies, to enable them to be able to better support victims of modern slavery.

Unseen’s support will continue to enable police and frontline professionals to spot the signs and indicators of trafficking and slavery, speak with potential victims about their options and support and facilitate entry into the National Referral Mechanism.

PCC Sue Mountstevens said: “It is hard to image that in this day and age slavery still exists, however the sad truth is that it does.

"Anti-Slavery Day reminds us that this crime which destroys lives still exists, and that we need to take every opportunity to speak out and put an end to this terrible crime for good.

“Unseen UK is doing some remarkable work to tackle the very serious issue that is modern slavery and I continue to work closely with partners to explore and invest in ways to bring offenders to justice and support victims.

"It is more important than ever that we must continue the fight to eradicate human trafficking and exploitation.”

The 2015/16 pilot was awarded to Unseen UK following a competitive grant process to meet gaps in provision and has now been extended into 2016/17.

The service works to identify potential victims of human trafficking (PVOTs), after Unseen identified that there were gaps in support for PVOTs before and after engaging in national services.

As part of the pilot, a training package was developed and used to train over 140 individuals from a range of frontline services and the Police and other agencies have been able pro-active visits to sites of potential slavery identifying victims or PVOTs.

Ms Mountstevens added: “Only by working together can we really tackle modern slavery and I’m involved in work both locally and nationally to put an end to this exploitation.

"I support the work of the Avon and Somerset anti-slavery partnership and this week will be attending a National Anti-Trafficking and Modern Slavery Network meeting.”

Thursday, October 18 marks National Anti-Slavery Day which was created to raise awareness of modern slavery and to inspire the government, businesses and individuals to eliminate it -

Modern slavery is the movement and trade of people of any age, often for the purpose of sexual exploitation, forced labour or organ harvesting.

Modern slavery can include victims that have been brought from overseas, and vulnerable people in the UK.

For more information visit,-assault-and-hate-crime/modern-slavery and if you suspect modern slavery is happening you can report it online.

You can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously here or by calling 0800 555 111.