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The Government needs the public to become more aware of the plight facing modern day slaves so they can be freed and the perpetrators brought to justice, a Home Office minister told Good Morning Britain.
Karen Bradley admitted the Government did not "know the scale" of slavery in the UK and urged the public to "learn what to look for" via the Home Office awareness campaign.
A former slave has said she was too terrified to go to the police because the perpetrators told her authorities would only give them "a slap on the wrist".
The anonymous former slave told Good Morning Britain: "When I spoke to the individual and person she said, 'I bought you. I own you now.' If you do go to the authorities all we are going to get is a slap on the wrists and you will be deported."
According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) 20.9 million men, women and children around the world are in slavery.
The most common forms of slavery according to the ILO are:
- Child Slavery affects an estimated 5.5 million children around the world.
- Early and forced marriage predominately affects women and girls who are married without choice, forced into lives of servitude often accompanied by physical violence and have no realistic choice of leaving the marriage.
- Forced labour affects people who are illegally recruited by individuals, businesses or governments and forced to work - usually under the threat of violence or other penalties.
- Descent-based slavery involves people who are either born into a 'slave' class or are from a 'group' that society views can be used for slave labour.
- Trafficking involves the transport of any person from one area to another for the purpose of forcing them into slavery conditions.
The Home Office will launch a campaign to raise awareness of modern slavery, with a TV advert highlighting the complexity of the issue.
The national campaign, which will run until October, is the first of its kind in the UK and aims to encourage the public to identify the signs of modern slavery and report it by calling a new national helpline.
The advert will hit screens at 6:42pm on Channel 4 during the Hollyoaks break, and shows three of the most common types of modern slavery; labour exploitation in agriculture, sexual exploitation in a brothel and domestic servitude in a home.
A website - www.modernslavery.co.uk - will be launched with the aim of educating the signs of 21st century slavery.