Police officers across the U.K. painted their nails on October 18, Anit-Slavery Day, for Let’s Nail It, a campaign to bring awareness to modern slavery and human trafficking in nail salons.
“A recent report from the Anti-Slavery Commissioner into trafficking routes from Vietnam, highlights the problem of human trafficking into nail bars throughout the UK,” stated Unseen, a charity dedicated to dealing with modern day slavery.
— Avon&Somerset Police (@ASPolice) October 18, 2017
“Since launching in October 2016, the Modern Slavery Helpline has received reports of slavery in nail bars from at least 18 cities across the UK, indicating over 70 victims. 11 of which have been children. Crucial to tackling slavery in nail bars is making sure potential customers are aware of the issue. Many customers don’t know the reasons why some salons are so cheap to visit.”
“The Government estimates that there are 13,000 victims of slavery in the UK… but this could be just the tip of the iceberg,” they added.
Justine Currell, the executive director of Unseen told Reuters that “people should trust their gut instinct.”
“If the prices seem too good to be true, or if something is making them feel uneasy they should call the helpline or they can report it to the police.”
The Let’s Nail It campaign was started to bring awareness to human trafficking in nail salons, but the nail polish campaign also brought criticism to the police officers taking part—with citizens saying they should be spending their time catching criminals instead of painting their nails.
— PC Jonathan Gould (@pcjonnygould) October 18, 2017
“Modern slavery must be eradicated but the way to do that is to put priorities into catching gangmasters and traffickers, rather than engaging in odd gimmicks,” said Harry Fletcher, of the Voice 4 Victims charity.
“We were disappointed to read some of the comments on our #AntiSlaveryDay tweets yesterday,” the Avon & Somerset Police department responded. “Our aim was to encourage people to look out for signs of modern slavery and understand how to report it.”
“If anyone found these comments offensive, please report them to Twitter. If you feel you were targeted and the victim of a hate crime, please report this to us. We take this issue extremely seriously.”
Adam Hills, the host of the Channel 4 show, The Last Leg, went after publications like The Sun for criticizing the officers’ campaign.
“The Sun also criticised police officers in Avon and Somerset for wearing blue nail varnish to highlight the plight of underpaid workers in the beauty industry. We’ve got the front page here. Why are the Sun picking on police?” Hill said on his show.
“They’re facing just as many cuts to funding as every other public service, they’re the ones keeping us safe, and whenever there’s a terror attack we always praise the police. And yet the Sun is choosing to attack them for lovely gestures.”
“We should celebrate the police forces, especially after the hashtag #ProtectTheProtectors highlighted the abuse they get on a daily basis.”