Crimestoppers has secured £90,000 to fund a campaign to uncover ‘hidden’ crime including human trafficking and modern slavery.
The Hidden Harms Project will run in London and focuses on less-reported offences. The scheme also covers domestic abuse and hate crime.
Campaigners are encouraging members of the public to report early signs of abuse anonymously.
Trafficking and slavery are among the fastest growing crimes worldwide and the second biggest source of illegal income for organised gangs.
The funding for this new initiative to combat hidden crime comes from City Bridge Trust. The scheme has proved successful elsewhere in the UK.
In Yorkshire and the Northwest of England, there was a 150% increase in reports during the first four months of the campaign.
Crimestoppers received one report with details of 20 people who were being held as slaves. The report led to more than a dozen arrests.
Earlier this year The Big Issue reported the shocking reality of modern slavery in the UK. Victims were mentally scarred, terrified and forced into decades of hard labour.
Bill South is the chairman of the London Volunteer Committee for Crimestoppers. He said: “This will enable Crimestoppers to deliver our Hidden Harms Programme in London over the next three years.
“It will bring a number of different abuse-related crimes into the spotlight, encouraging members of the public to be aware and keep an eye open for these types of abuse and then report their concerns or what they know to us whilst staying 100% anonymous.”
There are currently around 1,450 Big Issue sellers working hard on the streets each week.
Alison Gowman is the deputy chairwoman of City Bridge Trust, the charitable funders of the City of London Corporations. She added: “Crimestoppers’ Yorkshire campaign, which shines a light on the importance of reporting these crimes, has already been a success.
“Now this new initiative will uncover the hidden crimes happening throughout London’s communities.”
The Office for National Statistics revealed nearly 15% of court prosecutions for domestic violence relate to abuse from a partner. But many people do not report such cases due to their complex and emotional nature.
Figures from Crimestoppers show a 20% jump in reported levels of hate crime in London in 2017-18 compared to the previous year. This is disproportionately higher than the rest of the UK.