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Govt: 'We don't know the scale' of slavery in UK

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.

Former slave: Authorities will give 'slap on the wrist'

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."

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Definitions of Modern Slavery

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.

Home Office launches modern slavery campaign

The Home Office will launch a campaign to raise awareness of modern slavery, with a TV advert highlighting the complexity of the issue.

Trafficked prostitutes were one of the most common forms of modern slaves, according to the campaign. Credit: PA

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.

Two held in 'modern slavery' investigation

A man and a woman have been arrested in south London as part of an investigation into modern slavery.

Police said a 40-year-old British man and a 23-year-old Nigerian woman had been arrested at an address in Lewisham as part of "an ongoing inquiry into allegations involving modern slavery and trafficking".

A Home Office spokesman said the pair were also suspected of involvement in money-laundering and facilitating illegal immigration.

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'Landmark' anti-slavery 'tougher on slave-drivers'

Home Secretary Theresa May said the new anti-slavery laws published today will enable the government to get much tougher on slave-drivers, in both charges and sentencing.

Mrs May said the legislation was "landmark" within Europe, and an important step in creating greater penalties for those who profit from the trafficking of people, but that the government still does not know the full extent of the issue.

Charity: UK needs 'more victim support for slaves'

New anti-slavery measures may not go far enough, a charity which rescues victims of human trafficking has suggested.

Hope for Justice founder Ben Cooley said the The Modern Slavery Bill was "critical" to ending slavery in the UK, more needed to be done for victims so they "don't disappear" underground.

We've learnt from experience that victim welfare is inextricably linked to the prosecution of perpetrators.

When victims are supported from rescue right through to the courtroom, their testimonies make all the difference in seeing justice served.

Sadly, we don't always see that happen in the UK and Hope for Justice exists to stand in those gaps.

This Bill is a critical step towards ending slavery in our country but going forwards we must all ensure that victims are supported so they don't disappear on the other side of initial after-care provision just to be re-trafficked.

– Hope for Justice founder Ben Cooley

MP: 'Do not punish victims for laws broken when slaves'

The Government's "poverty tzar" Frank Field wants to put victim support at the centre of the Coalitions proposals to tackle human trafficking.

Former welfare reform minister Frank Field is leading a review into slavery in modern Britain. Credit: PA

Labour MP Frank Field recommended giving victims of slavery support rather than a conviction for crimes committed under duress.

He also wanted to see protections and entitlements for victims enshrined in law and force the police and Crown Prosecution Service to investigate further if there is evidence to suggest the defendant is a victim of trafficking.

Mr Field said: "It is indisputable that victims of modern slavery suffer from an evil with few equivalents. They are subject to horrors that, thankfully, most people never think about, let alone face."

Mr Field argued that increasing the number of human trafficking prosecutions would only happen if victims felt safer to come forward and give evidence.

His comments come as the home secretary publishes the draft Modern Day Slavery Bill later today.

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