Modern-day slavery is alive and kicking — and rife in Britain, a report from the Centre for Social Justice has claimed.
The 220-page report, called It happens here, was launched in March by the slavery working group, to highlight the unreported crisis of modern slavery and human trafficking in the UK.
Whether it is the plight of girls trapped into the sex trade, domestic servitude or illegal child labour, the Government recognises there is a serious problem.
According to recent assessments, 222 potential victims of domestic servitude were identified in 2011, while nail bars, construction and agriculture have also been hotbeds for slave labour in the UK.
Children are often trafficked and the police, social services and teachers do not know the half of the situation, or seem equipped to help. One respondent to the report said, ‘A number of children have come to work as house servants and then they’ve got older and come to our attention. But they have been there for years before anyone was aware’.
The Ministry of Justice has allocated £2 million a year over an initial two-year period to fund provision for survivors of trafficking in England and Wales. This funding is overseen at present by the Salvation Army, which has been the prime contractor since July 2011.
However, the report’s authors said this is not enough. Christian Guy, managing director of the Centre for Social Justice, said, ‘A once great nation of abolitionists is a shameful shadow of its former self.
‘This report sets out more than 80 recommendations for transformation. We cannot, with integrity, claim our place as a world leader in the fight against modern slavery unless these proposals are taken seriously.
‘This change should begin in government, but our work is a siren to many. It is for police forces, social workers, NGOs and statutory agencies across the country. It is a wake-up call to the business community and the general public. Because ending modern slavery means all must play a part’.