We have just celebrated Easter, a joyous time when Christians believe that 2,000 years ago God raised the crucified Jesus from the dead.

This was a time of torture and institutional slavery.

Sadly, however slavery is not confined to history.

On the approach to Easter we are reminded of man’s inhumanity to man and this is experienced by modern slaves who are forced to work for no pay, under threat of violence and unable to walk away.

There are estimated to be thousands of victims in the UK and up to 45 million worldwide.

In 2018 there were 61 prosecutions for slavery in Gloucestershire.

The 2015 Modern Slavery Act makes it easier to prosecute traffickers, increases sentences and requires big business to ensure there is no slavery in their global supply chains but does not provide much protection or support for victims.

There are some telltale signs of slavery.

Do you notice someone is: unkempt or malnourished; with someone who speaks for them; rarely allowed to travel on their own?

Do they: have untreated injuries; live in dirty, cramped or overcrowded accommodation; have few or no personal possessions; appear withdrawn and neglected and frightened to talk to strangers; avoid eye contact; rarely interact with others; seem under the control or influence of others?

Good Friday is not the end of the story.

Easter Day brings hope for the future, and joyful release from sorrow and suffering.

So, if you are suspicious tell someone.

Seek advice from the Modern Slavery helpline on 08000 121 700, ring the police or report anonymously to Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.

Google ‘Unseen UK’, a charity set up to help victims, to find out more or support them. We can all do our bit.