A dedicated human trafficking unit has been set up that will include some of the detectives that put gangmaster Janos Orsos behind bars last year.
The task force, thought to be only the third of its kind, will be lead by specially trained detectives from West Yorkshire Police alongside the West Yorkshire Anti Trafficking Network and charity Hope for Justice.
Detective Chief Insp Warren Stevenson, said: “Human trafficking is a vile crime, and the resources we are dedicating to this new unit makes clear how determined we are to tackle it and bring those responsible to justice.
“Last year the number of human trafficking victims referred by West Yorkshire Police to the national referral mechanism doubled from 2013 from 42-84, showing the scale of the problem, but also demonstrating that victims are more willing to come to us.
“We have been working closely with Hope for Justice to support these victims and also secure evidence against those abusing them.”
Hope for Justice director of operations Allan Doherty said his charity would be able to feed back information from police forces across the country on the most effective tactics for tackling the crime.
He said some of the unit will be officers who worked on the Janos Orsos case last year.
“We can see how different police forces are successful.
“The ‘Kacsa’ case is a good example – important lessons were learned when the trial finished.”
Orsos, who went by the alias Kacsa, and his accomplice, Ferenc Illes, were jailed for human trafficking offences last year.
The impact of Orsos’ crimes resurfaced later in the year when one of their victims, Viktor Fejes, hanged himself from a tree in Dark Lane, Batley.
West Yorkshire’s police and crime commisioner, Mark Burns-Williamson, said the combined effort of the unit and the West Yorkshire Anti Trafficking Network would victims to come forward and help would be offered to get them back on their feet.
He said the unit was part of dedicated response to come down hard on trafficking.
“They need to know they have no place to hide, and victims need to know that in West Yorkshire the resources and support are in place to protect them.”