Home Office: 13,000 could be working as slaves in the UK

New analysis from the Home Office on the scale of human trafficking in the UK suggests as many as 13,000 people may be living in a state of slavery.

The most commonly reported form of modern slavery in the UK is sexual exploitation, with women making up the vast majority of victims.

The government has just appointed the UK's first-slavery commissioner has vowed to tackle police failings in uncovering and rescuing people from trafficking, and work to support victims.

Today's strategy is part of the government's Modern Slavery Bill, expected to become law in 2015.

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Two centuries on: 13,000 people living as slaves in UK

Two centuries after slavery was abolished in Britain, it's been revealed that there are up to 13,000 people living as slaves in the UK

Most are forced to work in farms or factories, as domestic servants or trafficked into the sex trade.

ITV News political correspondent Libby Wiener reports:

Modern day slaves hidden from view and trapped in poverty

Slavery was abolished in Britain more than 200 years ago, yet there are up to 13,000 people - men, women and children - living as slaves in the UK. ITV News Political Correspondent Libby Wiener reports.


Domestic labour visa rules 'de facto legalise trafficking'

Proposals to tackle trafficking, outlined by the government ahead of the Modern Slavery Bill have been described as creditable but "modest" by anti-slavery campaigners.

Aiden McQuade, the director of Anti-Slavery International said a lot more work was needed in looking into the issue of domestic servitude - and that the current system of visas for domestic workers "de facto legalises trafficking" for forced domestic servitude.

He said he was not surprised by the estimated numbers released today, and stressed that people are working as slaves in many areas of employment - not just the sex trade.

Foreign Secretary: Slavery numbers difficult to count

The Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond told ITV News the government's new anti-slavery measures show the government is taking the issue seriously, and realise that there is a problem.

One the challenges in tackling the issue is getting a true estimate of the victims, and perpetrators of the crime.

Sexual exploitation 'most commonly reported form of slavery'

The most commonly reported form of modern slavery in the UK is sexual exploitation, with women making up the vast majority of victims, according to new Government figures.

The Modern Slavery Strategy, published by the Home Office today, says victims are "often forced into prostitution, escort work or pornography".

In total, 42% of cases referred to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) - set up to help potential victims of slavery - involve sexual exploitation.

Those whom the NRM helps are only "potential victims" whose status as victims may or may not be confirmed.

Among those who were referred to the NRM, 95% of were female and 20% were children.


Sharp rise in UK human trafficking victims since 2010

The number of victims of human trafficking identified in the UK has more than doubled since 2010, according to a new United Nations report.

Of the 660 victims recorded in the UK in 2013, 135 were children, the figures from the United Nations Office and Drugs and Crime (UNODC) showed.

The overall figure is a sharp increase from 2010, when 297 victims were identified, 80 of whom were children.

The number of people convicted of trafficking offences has also gone up considerably, with 148 people convicted last year compared to 43 in 2010.

UNODC executive director Yury Fedotov said:

Unfortunately, the report shows there is no place in the world where children, women and men are safe from human trafficking. Official data reported to UNODC by national authorities represent only what has been detected. It is very clear that the scale of modern-day slavery is far worse.

– Yury Fedotov
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