Dozens of delegates attended a seminar which discussed human trafficking.
Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger hosted a session delivered by Hope for Justice.
More than 60 people watched real life case studies and video clips to show the levels traffickers reach to control and deceive victims. More training sessions are scheduled.
Mr Coppinger said frontline professionals needed to be aware of the signs and indicators. He added: “I will continue to raise awareness, and provide training for relevant professionals to ensure those that are potentially coming into contact with victims are equipped to handle the situation appropriately and effectively”.
Hope for Justice chief executive Ben Cooley said: “It’s an unfortunate reality that victims of human trafficking are suffering in isolation in the North-East, just as they are in the rest of the UK.”