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Modern Slavery: The not-so-secret story.

Image from the BBC

What is “Modern Slavery”?

The UK Government defines it as the following;

Modern slavery is a human rights violation and has severe consequences for the health and wellbeing of survivors. It is an exploitative crime that impacts on physical and mental health and has public health implications.

Elizabeth Such, Claire Laurent and Sarah Salway from http://www.gov.uk

Slavery has a historic depiction of people being openly sold and worked to death and although this does still happen, Anti-Slavery, a movement for the provention and protection of slaves, suggests that there are six main forms. These include Human Trafficking, Forced Labour, Debt Bondage/Bonded Labour, Descent-Based Slavery, Slavery of Children and Forced and Early Marriage.

Modern Slavery Statistics

Modern slavery has been in and out of Western headlines for decades. The below analysis of the search term “Modern Slavery” on Google Trends shows a steady increase since mid 2014.

Google Trends "Modern Slavery" searches.

In a document titled “Modern slavery in the UK: March 2020”, the Office for National Statistics explain that due to the illegal nature of slavery it is almost impossible to measure the number of people affected accurately. However an educated estimation suggests that in 2014 there were “between 10,000 and 13,000 potential victims”.

Furthermore, the Modern Slavery Helpline aquired an increase of 68% in calls and submissions in 2018, compared to the 2017 statistics. Alongside this the ONS states that the police for England and Wales recorded over 5,000 offences related to modern slavery by teh end of March 2019. This was an increase od 51% from the prior year.

Image rights held by The Sun.co.uk

But as they state, the more awareness, the higher the numbers and without the ability to track every victim involved, it is even harder to predict how much modern slavery is actually happening in the UK.

A Sky News report by Becky Johnson, suggests that the city of Leicester could have up to 10,000 people working in slave-like conditions. The article goes on to quote Justice Secretary Robert Buckland as he summaries that “a light is now being shone on an appalling litany of abuse”. These allegations have also encouraged investigation from the National Crime Agency.

How to notice, act against or prevent modern slavery.

The previously mentioned Anti-Slavery movement have provided a page to help people “Spot the signs”. They suggest the following.

A list of the signs of slavery from Anti-Slavery.org

Alongside this they also provide details on how to contact the correct authorities if you notice someone in these circumstances. In the UK there are a number of organisations to contact. These include the Police, Modern Slavery Helpline (0800 121 700), Labour Abuse Authority (0800 432 0804) or Crimestoppers (0800 555 111).

I advise you that if you do happen to see anyone who looks like they may be involved in such crimes to contact the institutions above, as your help could save lives. It is always important to be aware of your surroundings and as a community we should look out for everyone.

Stay safe, and informed…

Researched and written by Siobhan Lansdowne