MODERN slavery is not a myth and is happening every day in the Black Country, a senior Dudley councillor has claimed.

Gaye Partridge, cabinet member for housing, spoke out as she presented a report to the authority’s cabinet recommending a six-month programme to raise awareness of the problem.  

A report to the committee outlined the main areas where slavery exists such as employers using cheap labour, domestic servitude, sex workers and criminal exploitation.

Cllr Partridge said complacency and a disbelief that it took place allowed it to exist.

She said: “The greatest risk, I think, we have when it comes to modern slavery is that it can easily become normalised.

“Not just in the criminal environment but in mainstream with the casualisation of the workforce and things like the outsourcing of contracts that in turn get subcontracted.

“The challenge for all of us here is to ensure there is no denial of what is happening, right now and right here and we should spare no effort in dealing with this most terrible of modern phenomena.”

Supporting the report she added it would be forwarded to a scrutiny committee to collect information and monitor its recommendations.