The National Crime Agency has revealed new figures showing how prevalent Modern Day Slavery truly is in towns and cities across the UK. Not a few hundred as officially identified in 2016, but shockingly 13,000 exploited and hugely vulnerable men, women and children – the population of a large town in itself.
Many of us assume modern day slavery takes place behind closed doors, out of plain sight - worryingly, it’s much more overt than first thought. What the new figures reveal, is that we're likely to cross victims of modern day slavery in our day to day lives, without even realising. At car washes, in fields and on farms, through food processing chains and as domestic workers.
Will Kerr, the NCA Director of Vulnerabilities, commented in The Guardian this weekend:
“As you go about your normal daily life and as you’re engaged in a legitimate economy accessing goods and services, there is a growing and a good chance you will come across a victim who has been exploited in one of those different sectors.
That’s why we are asking the public to try and recognise the signs and to report their concerns and suspicions to us.”
So how do you identify modern slavery? What are the signs? How can you help?
Modern day slavery and human trafficking have been issues of growing concern for many of our partners in local government. Earlier this year we launched a tailored, CPD Accredited e-learning course to help spot the signs of Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery and what you should do if you have concerns.
It’s just over an hour long and can be completed anywhere with internet access.
The NCA report indicates that the majority of the victims are from Eastern Europe, Vietnam and Nigeria. With the police dealing with 300 live operations targeting Modern Day Slavery, they’re going to need our help to banish it for good.