MODERN slavery crimes are recorded three times every week across Thames Valley, according to latest figures.

Thames Valley Police is launching a new Hidden Harm campaign to tackle abuse after 120 offences were reported over the last two years.

The 18-month campaign focuses on modern slavery and the illegal exploitation of groups for commercial gain.

A focus on abuse will also see a crackdown on child abuse, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, domestic abuse and hate crime.

Detective Superintendent Nick John, head of Protecting Vulnerable People, said: "It is a common misconception that slavery does not exist anymore or that it is a crime that does not affect us here in the UK. This could not be further from the truth.

“Modern slavery is happening in this country and, more specifically, right here in Thames Valley.

“This is why it’s so important that members of the public know how to recognise the signs of modern slavery and who to speak to about their concerns.

“We all have a role to play in keeping people safe from harm, especially the most vulnerable in our communities.

“With offences in every county of the force, it is a stark reminder that this is an offence that could happen anywhere, even in your community.”

The campaign, which launched on October 2, is aimed at raising awareness for crimes involving abuse and exploitation.

In the case of modern slavery, victims are often tricked or threatened into work and many feel unable to leave through fear or intimidation.

The modern slavery phase of this campaign will see ongoing activity for the first three weeks of October to raise awareness of this crime.

Justine Currell, executive director of 'Unseen' - responsible for the Modern Slavery Helpline, said: "We have taken more than 2,500 calls in less than 12 months and made over 1,000 referrals to the police and safeguarding teams across the UK.

"This highlights the important role the helpline plays in giving advice and guidance to those in need, supporting access to services, and preventing more people from becoming victims."