VIDEO: Bristol residents urged to report suspicions of human trafficking in the city
A NEW campaign has been launched to fight human trafficking.
People in Bristol are being urged to pass on any information to Crimestoppers on forced labour exploitation.
The campaign is being launched by the independent charity with a video where viewers experience the harrowing story of a young victim as she is thrust into a world completely different from the one she and many other trafficked individuals are promised.
Viewers are presented with clickable choices throughout the video as to whether they decide to help her by passing on information anonymously to Crimestoppers.
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Human trafficking is a complex and hidden crime, and the true scale of it, both within the UK and globally, is difficult to determine.
However, the authority's believe it one of the most profitable crimes worldwide, second only to drugs, with an annual trade value of around $32 billion.
It is estimated there are close to 21 million victims of forced labour - including forced sexual exploitation - trapped in jobs into which they were coerced or deceived and they cannot leave.
Crimestoppers is working alongside the UK Human Trafficking Centre (UKHTC) and is also supported by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).
Crimestoppers' director of operations, Roger Critchell, said: "We are serious about tackling this crime as it is not one that is perceived as a problem by some.
"People trafficked for forced labour are often sold a fairy-tale life, when the reality is they are thrown into horrendous conditions and are forced to work in circumstances out of their control."
Liam Vernon, deputy head of the UK Human Trafficking Centre, said: "Human trafficking is an appalling crime that has devastating effects on its victims who are often the most vulnerable people in our society.
"Since 2009, over 1,000 men, women and children have been referred to the centre as potential victims of trafficking for labour exploitation.
"The victims we know about were being forced to work in private houses as well as the hospitality, farming, manufacturing and construction industries. In many cases the traffickers used verbal threats or violence to achieve compliance.
"Investigating this type of exploitation is a challenge to us all as victims are often unseen by society."
If you have any information on human trafficking or forced labour call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 or use the secure on-line form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.
To spread the word through social media, use the hashtag #Readthesigns.