Leeds & West Yorkshire

Slavery victim: 'If I didn't work I got beaten up'

The victim who does not want to be named Image copyright West Yorkshire Police
Image caption The man has spoken of his abuse to raise awareness of the crime

A victim of modern slavery has spoken of the abuse he endured for 15 years as figures reveal a rise in the crime across West Yorkshire.

The man, who did want to be named, said he was forced to go the toilet in woods and was beaten up if he did not work.

West Yorkshire Police said there had been 121 reports of modern day slavery in 2018 compared to 80 in 2017 and 76 in 2016.

The force said it was working hard to eradicate the crime.

The man, who was homeless and vulnerable at the time, said he was made to live in a trailer, which had no windows or doors so every time it rained he got wet.

He said: "There was a site and I didn't know how to get away from it.

"I was forced to dig out driveways ready for block paving and tarmacking, and if I didn't work I got beaten up.

"There wasn't any facilities for people to have a wash and that. Toilet facilities I had to use the woods or somewhere else."

Police said his captors have since been jailed and the victim was being supported by the Palm Cove Society, which provides emergency accommodation for people in his position.

Earlier this year, the National Crime Agency said there had been a 36% rise in the number of trafficking and modern slavery victims reported to authorities.

West Yorkshire Police said the increase locally was due to police and other agencies being more aware of what modern slavery is and how to report it.

Police and crime commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson said: "This is a crime that is often 'hidden in plain sight' and communities must be vigilant."

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