A SCULPTURE to highlight crimes of modern slavery has been unveiled and can be seen for the first time in Chandler’s Ford.

The sculpture made up of plastic bottles and punnets was installed at St Francis’ Church, Pilgrims Close, Valley Park on Sunday October 17 and will be visible until November 7. It aims to show people how hidden crimes of modern-day slavery can be.

The sculpture comes after World Slavery Day which took place today (October 18) with the aim of raising awareness of modern-day slavery.

The artwork shows two figures, representing adults and children who are trapped in slavery behind a wall made of transparent punnets. Holes in the wall represent those who manage to escape from their traffickers, and there is a message of hope in the steps that denote how people are supported and rehabilitated after slavery.

An estimated 3,714 people are living in conditions of slavery in Hampshire. The installation has some accompanying information to help people work out what the hands and objects mean to improve the likelihood of identifying possible victims.

Helen Pain of Southampton and Test Valley Stop the Traffik group said: "Our group has commissioned Ruth Fielder to make this sculpture and it will be available to venues across Hampshire on request over the coming 12 months. It will also be part of the ‘Real faces of Modern Slavery: unmasking the truth’ exhibition at some of its venues.

"As more people know what the potential signs of modern slavery are, those being exploited will become more visible to everyone and the traffickers and abusers will be more likely to be caught and prosecuted by the police."

Further venues to see the sculpture will be revealed when they are confirmed.

Stop the Traffik is an international charity working to end modern slavery and their work can be seen at https://www.stopthetraffik.org/

St Francis' Church, Valley Park has supported the Southampton and Test Valley group in its work for several years.