30 September 2014
The National Crime Agency has published the third annual Strategic Assessment of the Nature and Scale of Human Trafficking in 2013.
The NCA’s United Kingdom Human Trafficking Centre (UKHTC) estimates that 2,744, people, including 602 children, were potential victims of trafficking for exploitation in 2013, an increase of 22 per cent on 2012.
The report lists the 10 most common countries of origin for victims, which shows Romania as the most prevalent country overall, and Poland as the most likely nation for labour trafficking.
There are also breakdowns across the UK, listing both victims’ countries of origin and type of exploitation by country and region.
In addition, intelligence gathered has highlighted the use of online dating, social media sites and advertising of jobs on the internet to recruit victims.
The UKHTC provides round-the-clock tactical advice and expertise to UK law enforcement partners, identifies and develops intelligence to provide targeted opportunities for the NCA and others to pursue organised crime groups involved in trafficking and manages the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) for trafficked victims.
Liam Vernon, Head of the UKHTC, said:
“Human trafficking for the purposes of exploitation is an insidious and complex crime and much of the exploitation is hidden from view.
“The National Crime Agency is committed to continually disrupting what is a vicious and criminal trade in human misery, which exploits the most vulnerable people, both here and abroad, for financial gain. Victims are being forced to work in private houses and in hospitality, farming, manufacturing and construction industries. In many cases, threats and violence are used to ensure compliance.
“The NCA will continue to work closely with a range of partners to help eradicate this disturbing crime.”
Modern Slavery and Organised Crime Minister, Karen Bradley, said:
“Modern slavery is an appalling crime that has no place in today's society. Yet these figures show it is taking place here – often out of sight – in shops, fields, building sites and behind the curtains of houses on ordinary streets.
“That is why we are taking action on a number of fronts including raising public awareness. The National Crime Agency is leading an enhanced and coordinated response to targeting trafficking gangs, we are working with law enforcement overseas, and we are strengthening legislation.
“The Modern Slavery Bill, the first of its kind in Europe, will make it easier to prosecute the organised criminals behind the majority of modern slavery, ensure slave drivers receive tougher sentences and improve the protection of victims.”
Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer, National policing lead for modern slavery, said:
“I am extremely grateful to the NCA for publishing their strategic assessment on human trafficking. This informative document provides a powerful narrative on the variety and scale of modern slavery and other forms of human trafficking in the UK, both from a national and a regional perspective. The document clearly indicates that no part of the UK is immune from the activities of organised criminals in their exploitation of people.
“As our knowledge and understanding of this abhorrent crime grows it reinforces the need for continued and improving efforts to protect victims and bring offenders to justice. I am committed to working with the NCA, the wider law enforcement family and other key partners to develop our approach and understanding. This document will act as a powerful driver in developing activity both within the UK and internationally.”