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Coronation Street and Salvation Army partner to tackle human trafficking
The Salvation Army has been working with Coronation Street to address the issue of modern slavery through a new storyline and launch a new campaign to help the British public spot the signs of a potential victim.
Writers of the much loved British soap will be introducing a shocking story-line on Friday evening to help highlight the practice of human trafficking in the UK.
The charity was approached by the show's researchers to assist them in telling the story of a young girl, Alina, who runs a nail salon and is being held against her will.
The Salvation Army has held the UK government contract to support adult victims of modern slavery in England and Wales since 2011.
As experts in the field of human exploitation, it has helped the show to accurately display how victims might find themselves in these situations and the realities facing them.
The Salvation Army's director for anti-trafficking and modern slavery, Cathy Betteridge told Premier more about the new Corrie character: "[Alina] is petrified of her boss, she's anxious to leave the salon for any length of time.
"It's all in relation to the fact that she's tied up and held in this situation where she is free to come and go, but actually is being held by an organised crime group."
When asked why it's important for this story to be told on the popular TV programme, Betteridge said: "Coronation Street are very good at taking up issues that people experience and are living through. And this is one of those issues that is relevant and happening in our society.
"So it's actually going to bring it into the homes of people to highlight to the public that this is happening around you. The terminology that's often used is hidden in plain sight. And that's exactly what it is."
In tandem with the release of the new story line, The Salvation Army is launching a pan European awareness campaign to help find the real life 'Alinas' being forced to work as slaves in the UK and mainland Europe and provide the public will vital tips on how to spot and report suspicions of slavery in their communities.
Cathy said many victims of trafficking come from fraudulent job offers: "On social media there will be job adverts which when you click on them, will take you to the next level.
"For those in countries where victims come from to us, it will explain the situation of looking at a job and understanding what it is they're actually applying for [and the dangers involved].
"For those of us in in the destination countries, these adverts will take them through to what is actually happening and to somebody caught up in that trafficking or slavery situation."
She went on to say that the adverts will prompt people to consider what situations around them may be facilitating human trafficking - for example if a service is being offered at a very low price or if someone seems to be in distress, and to encourage them to pass that information onto the police.
The Salvation Army helpline will also feature at the end of Friday's episode and it is hoped that the combination of the Coronation Street plot and The Salvation Army's own advertising will provoke viewers to look for the common signs of modern slavery and know what to do when they see it.
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