Hampshire Police have revealed figures that they were referred almost 200 cases of victims of Modern Slavery last year.
The figure, up from 144 in 2018, is just one of many increases in terms of the national statistics on Modern Slavery, with cases across the UK thought to be more than 10,000. These include trafficking and forced labour.
Modern Slavery has been deemed an offence since 2015, in which the use of forced labour, sex work and further exploitation was included in the legislation. However, the rise in slavery cases indicates that this change in policy has not had the desired affect in driving down the number of people forced into exploitative working conditions in the UK.
Despite a 52% rise in national cases between 2018 and 2019, just 7% of these were conclusively proven to be examples of Modern Slavery. The Home Office has deemed this low number to be down to the length of time it takes to prove allegations of slavery. This has been deemed an inadequate response from Ms Tamara Barnett of the Human Trafficking Foundation.
‘With 80% of all survivors still waiting for a final decision on their case at the end of 2019, it’s clear that many wait over a year, with some waiting several years from well before the Act was even passed’.
The Coronavirus lockdown has seen the government introduce a £76 million fund for those living in exploitative or dangerous conditions within their own household. Safeguarding minister Victoria Atkins maintains that to protect people living in such environments remains a ‘top priority’.