A SERIES of “simple practical actions” to tackle modern slavery looks set to be approved across a county which has seen the number of potential victims increase.

North Yorkshire County Council’s Conservative executive will consider passing measures to ensure full compliance with a Labour-led motion to prevent the local authority inadvertently fostering slavery and human trafficking.

The move comes just four months after North Yorkshire Police’s vulnerable adults team stated there had been a “significant rise” in potential victims of the “abhorrent crime” over the previous three years in the county.

Detective Inspector John Paul Freer said: “Vulnerable people are treated as mere items or possessions, a commodity to be bought and sold, to do with as they wish, for the benefit of others. And yes, this does happen right here in North Yorkshire.”

Following concerns that the authority could take more proactive steps over modern slavery, Scarborough councillor Liz Colling called on the council to increase awareness of issues with its suppliers, such as abnormally low-cost tenders, and a range of other measures. These included highlighting to the council’s suppliers that contracted workers should be free to join a trade union and are not to be treated unfairly for belonging to one.

The authority is expected to move to require all its contractors to comply fully with the Modern Slavery Act 2015, with contract termination as a potential sanction for non-compliance.

Following the motion being studied by the council’s corporate and partnerships scrutiny committee, it was found the council had already a number of anti-slavery measures in places, such as challenging abnormally low-cost tenders and having a whistleblowing policy.

Nevertheless, the executive has been recommended to approve all of Cllr Colling’s anti-slavery measures, as well as investigate taking additional steps, such as offering training on modern slavery to more staff, particularly those who regularly come into contact with external suppliers.

Cllr Colling said she was delighted that party political differences had been put aside and that the spirit of her notice of motion had been embraced. She said: “It is a bit more than common sense. It is about our humanity and deploring situations where people are degraded.”

She said while the common perception was that many victims of modern slavery came from Europe, she did not believe Brexit would end the threat in North Yorkshire, as the victims could come from anywhere.