Modern slavery and human trafficking 'prevalent in UK'
Modern slavery and human trafficking are much more prevalent in the UK than previously believed, according to data published by the National Crime Agency (NCA).
Following the introduction of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, there has been a greater level of transparency surrounding modern slavery and human trafficking, with many companies required to publish regular modern slavery statements providing an insight into the ethics of their supply chains.
Despite this, the NCA revealed in August 2018 that 1631 potential victims were submitted during the period January to March 2018, which is an 11% increase from the previous quarter, October to December 2017.
Types of modern slavery can include human trafficking, slavery, servitude, forced labour and criminal or sexual exploitation.
The most common exploitation type recorded for potential victims who were first exploited as children is labour exploitation, which includes cannabis cultivation and County Lines drugs supply. Nationals from Albania, the UK and Vietnam remain the most commonly reported, with the United Kingdom being the most referred for the second consecutive quarter.
Will Kerr, director of vulnerabilities at the NCA, commented: ‘Modern slavery has rightly been made a priority across law enforcement, but it is a hidden crime, so the onus is on us to seek it out. The more that we look for modern slavery, the more we find the evidence of the widespread abuse of the vulnerable’.
‘The growing body of evidence we are collecting points to the scale being far larger than anyone had previously thought. The intelligence we are gaining is showing that there are likely to be far more victims out there, and the number of victims in the UK has been underestimated’.
With the illegal exploitation of vulnerable individuals expected to increase, it is vital that professionals in safeguarding positions are able to identify the signs that could indicate someone is a victim of modern slavery or human trafficking.
At Virtual College, this is exactly what our Trafficking, Exploitation and Modern Slavery e-learning course is designed to help with. Click here to find out more.