POCKET-sized holographic cards are being distributed to young people across Merseyside as part of a campaign to increase awareness of the warning signs of exploitation and trafficking.

The cards have been produced by Merseyside's Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell in partnership with the charity Stop the Traffik to mark National Human Trafficking Awareness Day (January 11) with the aim of encouraging young people to learn how to spot the warning signs of modern slavery and exploitation.

The business-sized cards ask young people to think 'would you know if your friend was in trouble?'

They then shimmer to reveal the answer that 'exploitation can be hidden in plain sight'.

A QR code on the back directs young people directly to the Stop the Traffik website which contains extensive information about modern slavery and human trafficking.

You can access and download all the information at www.stopthetraffik.org

Merseyside's Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell said: "Modern slavery is one of the most abhorrent crimes in society today.

"Vulnerable people are stripped of their liberty and dignity and forced into servitude.

"While it is still very much a hidden crime, we know it is happening right here and now in communities across Merseyside.

"That's why it's vital we do everything possible to raise awareness of the warning signs of exploitation and trafficking and, as we mark National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, I'm pleased to be working with Stop the Traffik again to increase understanding of this horrific crime, particularly among young people.

"Sadly, we know that young people are particularly vulnerable to being exploited by County Lines drugs gangs, so it is crucial we reach their friends and peers so they know how to spot the signs and alert someone if they fear someone is in danger.

"By acting as our eyes and ears, young people can help to spot the warning signs that someone is being enslaved and exploited. They could even save a life."

Stop the Traffik's Annette Maudsley said: "Education shifts culture, so whilst these cards are aimed at teenagers, we want as many as possible to understand what trafficking is, how the grooming starts, and how to reach out for help if needed.

"By recognising the signs of grooming and trafficking face-to-face and online, it may just save someone's life!

"This is a global crime, so we need to fight it globally, work together, encourage and, support each and make sure we are alert to what is going on around us.

"Working with, and having the support of the PCC, has been an incredible blessing and enabled us to do more than what we could have imagined.

"We believe these cards are simple and effective enough to enable people to get the help and information they need."

Any organisation wishing to share the awareness cards should contact info@merseysidepcc.info