Human trafficking and modern slavery have risen in the UK, claims the National Crime Agency (NCA). A report published by the NCA on 26 March showed [pdf, p1] that the number of suspected victims of trafficking and slavery increased by 35% in 2017. Of the 5,145 suspected victims from 116 countries, 2,118 were minors. Most cases involved forced labour or sexual exploitation.
“An underestimate of the true scale of slavery in the UK”
NCA director Will Kerr said:
It is our assessment that the increase we are seeing here is driven by an increased awareness and greater reporting of modern slavery and that is to be welcomed.
However, it also adds further evidence to our view that the figures almost certainly represent an underestimate of the true scale of slavery and trafficking in the UK.
For the first time, British citizens were the largest national group [pdf, p7] recorded in the figures, up from 326 in 2016 to 819 in 2017. This includes 676 minors [pdf, p11] and reflects the 66% overall increase [pdf, p1] in the number of minors who are suspected victims of forced labour or sexual exploitation. The next two largest national groups were Vietnamese and Albanian.
Minister for crime, safeguarding and vulnerability responds
This government is leading the world in our response to this horrendous crime – through the Modern Slavery Act 2015 giving law enforcement the powers they need to pursue offenders and working to bring this issue out of the shadows and increase awareness among police, front line workers and the general public.
Read on...Support us and go ad-free
Labour’s shadow home secretary responds
Diane Abbott MP, Labour’s shadow home secretary, said:
The National Crime Agency report shows that recorded modern slavery is clearly rising… But the Tories cut staff at the Border Force, have axed 21,000 police officers and cut other police staff. They are the frontline in the fight against modern slavery… Labour will add hundreds of new border guards and ten thousand new police officers and tackle the scourge of modern slavery head-on.
An evolving threat
The NCA considers slavery to be “an evolving threat”. Criminals have gone online. There are also crossovers between slavery, trafficking migrants, and organised crime outside the UK.
Featured image via publicdomainpictures.net
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?