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ESSEX Police is currently investigating five cases of slavery involving "degrading and inhumane" treatment in the county.

Police and Crime Commissioner Nick Alton revealed the figure but said that the cases can’t discussed in any more detail at the moment.

He said: “I know that there are five slavery-related investigations being worked on by Essex Police at this time.

“I am also aware that in the last three months the force has received and acted upon several other pieces of intelligence concerning potential victims.

“I can’t talk about these cases in detail because they are on-going, but they concern people subjected to degrading and inhumane treatment and I am pleased that the force is taking them seriously.”

Evidence shows that sexual exploitation and forced labour are the most common types of modern slavery in the UK.

He urged anyone who suspects the practice is going on near them to report their concerns to police or their local council.