A CAMPAIGNING councillor who exposed Inverclyde's links with human trafficking says it is time for action on modern slavery.

Councillor Colin Jackson spoke out in the Tele last year to highlight that vulnerable women from Inverclyde were being exploited by criminal gangs.

He called out the use of flats in Port Glasgow and Greenock, saying they were being used in the sex industry with eastern European women transported in and out of the properties.

Now as Inverclyde Council launches an investigation into historic links with the slave trade, Cllr Jackson says the contemporary problems on our doorstep should also be confronted and tackled.

Councillor Jackson, pictured, said: "Inverclyde Council considered a request for a report on the area's historic links to the slave trade.

"I requested that this report include the town's current link to modern slavery and human trafficking, as there is a real need to focus on the here and now.

"There is evidence of human trafficking victims held locally being forced into sex work, cannabis farms, construction, agriculture, nail bars, car washes and domestic servitude.

"I asked council officers last year if we could adopt a campaign to raise public awareness around this.

"Unfortunately this hasn't happened yet but I am hopeful that we will do it now."

Mr Jackson's comments followed a request by made by local authority leader Stephen McCabe to look at the area's historic links with the slave trade, in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests which have swept the globe. It was agreed at the meeting that the modern slave trade would be considered in the work on the report.

Local LibDem Holyrood election candidate Dr Jacci Stoyle, inset, has also campaigned on the exploitation of women and says it must not be ignored in the ongoing debates over slavery.

She said: "We need to be asking questions about our goods and services, about supply lines, about political accountability on how modern slavery is hidden and overlooked.

"We need to ask questions on the whole of the sex trade and challenge the inextricable links between trafficking, prostitution and child exploitation.

"We have seen how public anger can affect political action.

"Let's channel that in a way that makes us all abolitionists for the slaves that are amongst us today."