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Woman arrested on immigration offences turns out to be modern slave

A woman arrested for being an illegal immigrant was later discovered to be a modern slave.

Police arrested a 47-year-old woman, who cannot be named, outside an address in Colliers Wood on September 25 following a welfare check.

Police said: “Unfortunately, this type of exploitation is still happening across London and communities have an important role to play in recognising the indicators.”

Police said whilst speaking to the female in custody, officers identified they were a victim of modern slavery and required medical attention.

The female was transported to hospital, de-arrested and safeguarded.

Police said: “Slavery and human trafficking are often hidden in plain sight.

“The Met is entirely committed to tackling these crimes and protecting the most vulnerable of people in our communities.

“We will continue to work closely with our partners as we have during lockdown, to target those involved in this criminality and prevent them from exploiting innocent individuals any further.”

No arrests have been made and an investigation is ongoing for modern slavery offences.

The discovery comes ahead of Anti-Slavery Day on October 18.

Justine Currell, a director at Unseen, a modern slavery charity said: “Unfortunately, modern slavery is still alive and thriving.

“We think the numbers in modern slavery in the U.K. is somewhere in the tens of thousands.

“These include individuals involved in criminal exploitation, domestic servitude, sexual exploitation and labour exploitation.”

Last year Unseen identified over 4,000 U.K. victims through their modern slavery helpline alone.

There are many signs that modern slavery could be taking place.

Currell said: “Victims may be scared to engage, won’t look you in the eye or perhaps somebody else accompanies them to work.

“Appearing malnourished or unkempt, turning up to work in the same clothes every day, houses of multiple occupancy, restricted movements or reporting to have their documents taken are all possible indicators.”

Met Police Contact Centre released a video of how to recognise the signs of Modern Slavery:

If you suspect someone is being used as a modern slave, contact the Modern Slavery & Exploitation Helpline on 08000 121 700 or the police, either online, via 101 or 999 in an emergency.

More information can be found at https://www.unseenuk.org/

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