What is Modern Day Slavery?
Across the UK, modern slavery has increased significantly in recent years and is a growing safeguarding concern for all local authorities due to its seriousness and impact in which people are exploited. Today slavery refers to someone being exploited and completely controlled by someone else, without being able to leave. Traffickers and slave masters use whatever means they have at their disposal to coerce, deceive and force individuals into a life of abuse, servitude and inhumane treatment. This can include sexual and criminal exploitation.
Someone is in slavery if they are:
- forced to work – through coercion, or mental or physical threat;
- owned or controlled by an ’employer’, through mental or physical abuse or the threat of abuse;
- dehumanised, treated as a commodity or bought and sold as ‘property’;
- physically constrained or have restrictions placed on their freedom of movement.
Victims may be unwilling to come forward to law enforcement or public protection agencies, indeed, not seeing themselves as victims, or fearing further reprisals from their abusers. Victims may also not always be recognised as such, by others who come into contact with them which is why recognising the signs and reporting concerns is so important.
What is the scale of the problem in the UK?
According to the Government’s UK Annual Report on Modern Slavery published October 2018 the most robust estimate to date of the scale of modern slavery in the UK was produced by the Home Office in 2014. The estimate suggested that there were between 10,000 and 13,000 potential victims of modern slavery in the UK in 2013. The National Crime Agency (NCA) assesses that the actual scale of modern slavery in the UK is gradually increasing and, if drivers remain at their current levels, will continue to do so over the next three years.