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Tens of thousands' of modern slavery victims in UK

Categories: Articles:Social Justice | Published: 10/08/2017 | Views: 811

Modern slavery and human trafficking is far more prevalent than previously thought, with a recent crackdown lifting the lid on the scale of the crime and potentially tens of thousands of victims in the UK, the National Crime Agency has said.

A surge in NCA operations focusing on labour and sexual exploitation suggests the number of victims is much higher than estimated.
Will Kerr, the NCA’s director of vulnerabilities, said the figures were far higher than those identified by the national referral mechanism, which is about 3,800. “It’s likely in the tens of thousands,” he said. “The more we look for modern slavery the more we find 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.”

There has been a wide range of cases uncovered, ranging from a Romanian organised crime gang making €5m (£4.5m) from advertising prostitutes online and laundering the proceeds, to a 12-year-old girl being trafficked into the UK to take children to school.

Victims are predominantly from eastern Europe, Vietnam and Nigeria, with a roughly equal balance between men and women, the NCA said. There were currently more than 300 live policing operations targeting modern slavery in the UK, it added.
The agency has launched a campaign to increase public awareness and encourage people to report suspicions to a modern slavery hotline.

Kerr said examples included those working at car washes and in construction, agriculture and food processing. They receive very little pay and are forced to put up with poor living conditions.  Read the full article here 
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