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Open Your Eyes to trafficking in your town

The scourge of human trafficking is happening in all of our neighbourhoods and we must open our eyes to the problem.

That was the message from South East MEP Catherine Bearder after David Siwak was found guilty of trafficking at Portsmouth Crown Court.

But Catherine, who has been leading a campaign to raise awareness of the vile trade, believes it is merely the tip of the iceberg.

She said: "I have said it many times before, and I'll say it again: 'trafficking is happening in all our communities'.

"This conviction shows the police and courts are willing and able to take action. So, let's make sure we help them."

Siwak, 30, from Southsea, offered four men work in the UK, but forced them to live in crowded flats and pocketed most of their wages.

A jury at Portsmouth Crown Court found him guilty on Monday (January 28) of four counts of human trafficking and keeping a person in servitude.

Portsmouth Community Against Trafficking has been working hard to raise awareness of the problem in the area.

The group has organised training with local cab and taxi drivers, so they can spot victims being transported.

Catherine added: "It is vital we report anything suspicious. The message is: Open Your Eyes. It is happening under our noses and we must do more to stop it."

Roza Urbanowic, 34, was cleared of four counts of holding a person in servitude.

- To learn about signs of human trafficking, log on at www.thea21campaign.org

- To find out more about Catherine's trafficking campaign, log on at http://www.bearder.eu/human_trafficking

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