MP Caroline Spelman has spoken out against modern-day slavery after visiting an exhibition on human trafficking at the House of Commons.
The Meriden MP was “appalled” to discover even her own constituency was affected by modern day slavery after attending the exhibition created by the Human Trafficking Foundation and Central St Martin’s College of Art students.
It featured survivors such as Cristina, a Romanian girl sold by her mother into prostitution in Birmingham when she was 16 and who narrowly escaped being snatched from her local authority care home by her traffickers.
There was also a man, who arrived from Hungary after responding to a job advert, to find himself being forced to work without pay, as well as open a credit card account and put in false benefit claims for his masters.
Mrs Spelman said: “I was appalled to learn that even my constituency is affected by modern day slavery and that there will undoubtedly be deeply traumatised people who have been trafficked to the UK and abused living in my area.
“Last time a survey of trafficked prostitutes was undertaken in the West Midlands and 1,400 were found.
“As a result of what I’ve seen today, I want to ensure that everyone in my constituency is more alert to the signs of modern day slavery. I hope students in schools, public service workers, the police, as well as those in private business will join me in this task.
“In Parliament, I want to see the Government put modern day slavery at the top of the political agenda.”
The Serious Organized Crime Agency report around 2,000 trafficking victims every year nationwide, with 10 per cent from the West Midlands.