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National

August 12, 2017

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Modern slavery and human trafficking in UK

Modern slavery and human trafficking in UK

LONDON: Although every kind of slavery has been abolished in UK about 200 years ago, but many kind of modern slaveries are existing in modern era despite it is a crime under Modern Slavery Act 2015.

The legislation also increased the maximum jail term for people traffickers from 14 years to life.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) said that more than 300 live police operations are there in every large town and city in UK. It is estimated that there were tens of thousands of victims in the country whereas 10,000 to 13,000 victims were found in UK in last two years.

“The more we look, the more we find,” the NCA's Vulnerabilities Director Will Kerr said. He further told in a statement that he had been shocked by what he had seen during this year’s intensive efforts to break up gangs, with almost every major operation triggering even more investigations.

He warned that trafficking into modern slavery was now so widespread that ordinary
people would be unwittingly coming into contact

The NCA said that signs of abuse included anything that suggested someone was being controlled or coerced into work, such as: the manner of their dress, visible signs of injuries, signs of stress and the way they had come to work in an area.

A parallel society exists in modern Britain in which a “sub-current of vulnerable people” is routinely exploited as modern slaves by ruthless gangs, the National Crime Agency said.

According to the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner Strategic Plan 2015-2017 and Modernslavery.co.uk, modern slaves in the UK, often said to be hiding in plain sight, are working in nail bars, construction sites, brothels, cannabis farms and in agriculture.

Traffickers are using the internet to lure their victims with hollow promises of jobs, education and even love. Albania, Nigeria, Vietnam, Romania and Poland are the most likely countries of origin, but some victims are from the UK itself.

There is no typical victim. They can be men, women or children of all ages, but it is normally more prevalent among the most vulnerable, minorities or socially-excluded groups.

Many believe they are escaping poverty, limited opportunities at home, a lack of education, unstable social and political conditions or war. But their slave masters are usually out to make financial gain.

Sexual exploitation is the most common form of modern slavery reported in the UK, followed by labor exploitation, forced criminal exploitation and domestic servitude.

People from Eastern Europe, Vietnam and Nigeria were the most common victims brought to the UK, Mr Kerr Vulnerabilities Director said, he told that a 12-year-old Roma girl who was stopped at border control and had been bound for a life as a domestic slave, she was being brought in to work for a family in part of the UK, where she had effectively been sold by her father --or it had been facilitated by her father-- and she was being brought in to take this family's children to school and pick them up every day and clean the house in between.

Mr Kerr said criminal charges were pending against those involved in the case, but authorities are facing further complicity by the fact some people do not realise they are a victim of slavery.

Four years ago, the former home secretary, now Prime Minister Theresa May, said it was time for a tougher response. The question remains whether this extraordinary modern crime has grown because too little has been done since then.

Under these circumstances, Home Offices said in a statement that “the government had taken world-leading action to tackle modern slavery, including toughening up sentences and increasing support and protection for victims.

“We continue to support the work of the National Crime Agency to leave criminal networks of traffickers and slavers nowhere to hide.

“Earlier this year, we launched the Joint Slavery and Trafficking Analysis Centre to provide high quality intelligence analysis to assess the threat posed by modern slavery, and to support an increased operational response to this horrendous crime.”

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