Number of slavery victims increases fivefold in four years, says Salvation Army

Almost half of those who make up figures sexually exploited and 42 per cent subject to forced labour

Many victims had been kept in domestic servitude
Many victims had been kept in domestic servitude

The number of slavery victims helped in England and Wales has risen almost fivefold since 2012, according to the Salvation Army.

The charity said more than 1,800 people were given support between April 2015 and March 2016 – up from 378 between July 2011 and June 2012.

In the past five years, the group has helped nearly 4,500 modern slaves, but Home Office figures estimate there are still between 10,000 and 13,000 slaves in the UK.

Almost half had been sexually exploited, 42 per cent had been subject to forced labour and 13 per cent had been held in domestic servitude, the charity said. Sixty two per cent were women and 38 per cent were male, with six transgender people supported.

The highest number of referrals were Albanian, with large numbers from Poland, Nigeria and Vietnam, as well as a “significant proportion” of British citizens. Almost one third of victims were trafficked to London.

Since its first year of running the government “victim care” contract in 2011, the Salvation Army has reported a year-on-year rise in the number of modern slaves being identified.

Anne Read, director of anti-trafficking and modern slavery for the Salvation Army, said: “Perpetrators go to great lengths to hide their crimes so it is always difficult to know the full extent of the problem. It may be that the increases in the numbers of people being supported is because there are more victims. The greater the awareness of this issue, the more difficult it will become for traffickers to ply their evil trade in human beings.”

Prime Minister Theresa May introduced the Modern Slavery Act last year while she was home secretary to put “slave masters behind bars where they belong”, calling it “the great human rights issue of our time”.

She said 289 modern slavery offences were prosecuted in 2015 along with a 40 per cent rise in victims identified by the Government.

Mrs May added that more than £33m would be used to focus on “high-risk countries”, where people were regularly trafficked to the UK and forced into servitude.

Referred victims have a 45-day “reflection and recovery period” to allow them to “recover from their ordeal and reflect on what they want to do next”, according to the National Crime Agency.

Victims from nearly 100 countries were being supported, the charity said.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in