More than 13,000 people across the UK are believed to be victims of slavery, a Home Office report has revealed.
In the 72-page Modern slavery strategy report, Theresa May MP, Home Secretary and Minister for Women, said the time had come for ‘concerted, co-ordinated action’.
She said, ‘Working with a wide range of partners, we must step up the fight against modern slavery in this country, and internationally, to put an end to the misery suffered by innocent people around the world’.
Ms May, who has introduced a Modern Slavery Bill that is currently passing through parliament, added: ‘We must do all we can to protect, support and help victims, and ensure that they can be returned to freedom’.
The total number of people in the UK who are still trapped by modern slavery is thought to be four times higher than originally estimated.
The report is based on four recommendations: pursue, prevent, protect, prepare.
Louise Gleich, human trafficking and sexual exploitation policy officer for Christian charity CARE, said, ‘This report highlights the horrible reality of how extensive modern slavery in Britain actually is. Sadly it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of thinking slavery doesn’t really exist in Britain any more, but this new figure shatters that perception and sends a clear signal that action is required’.
She said the proposed Modern Slavery Bill should not been seen as the end of the fight against human trafficking, but just the beginning.
Ms Gleich added: ‘The government needs to be open to the idea of strengthening the Modern Slavery Bill, because currently the legislation simply does not go far enough’.
Picture Louise Gleich