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Politics – Trafficking shows sharp rise

May 2018

Lord McColl
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Human trafficking in the UK has seen a shocking rise in 2017, figures from the National Crime Agency (NCA) has revealed. According to the NCA, 5,145 potential victims of human trafficking were submitted to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) in 2017.

This marked a 35 per cent increase on 2016’s figures, making it a record number in the UK. According to the reports, potential victims of trafficking were from 116 different nationalities during 2017. However, British, Albanian and Vietnamese nationals remain the most commonly reported victims.

The most common type of exploitation recorded was labour exploitation. In one-third of cases (1,744), it was suspected the person had been a victim of sexual exploitation.

Conservative Peer Lord McColl of Dulwich has put forward a Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill. The bill proposes 12 months’ leave to remain in the UK, with the provision of support to help confirmed victims of modern slavery recover from their ordeal. The bill has won supporters from across the political spectrum.

Nola Leach, chief executive of CARE, said: ‘This data may show how prevalent human trafficking is within our society, but it neglects to tell the full story of how many victims of trafficking end up back in the hands of their traffickers, after they have been through the NRM system, because of a lack of adequate victim support’.

Currently, potential victims of trafficking are offered 45 days support while they are in the NRM, which determines whether or not they are a victim of modern slavery.

Those who are confirmed to be genuine victims are then given 14 days support from the point of that decision. The government has announced its intention to increase the 14-day period to another 45 days. However, Ms Leach added, ‘This is still not nearly enough time for a victim to get the specialist support they need to recover from their trauma and begin to rebuild their lives’.