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World Day against Trafficking in Persons

Today is World Day against Trafficking in Persons and so today’s blog will highlight and explore the current issue and how to refer any potential cases.

Globally, there are an estimated 40.3 million people who are victims of forced labour, modern slavery, and human trafficking.

Modern slavery can affect people of any age, gender or race. However, most commonly, slavery affects people and communities who are vulnerable to being taken advantage of.

Modern slavery in numbers

  • 40.3 million people are in modern slavery across the world
  • 10 million children are in slavery across the world
  • 30.4 million people are in slavery in the Asia-Pacific region, mostly in bonded labour
  • 9.1 million people are in slavery in Africa
  • 2.1 million people are in slavery in The Americas
  • 1.5 million people are in slavery in developed economies
  • 16 million slavery victims are exploited in economic activities
  • 4.8 million people are in forced into sexual exploitation
  • 99% of people trafficked for sexual exploitation are women and girls
  • 4.1 million people in slavery are exploited by governments

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The UK is the first country to have dedicated legislation in place to tackle modern slavery with the Government implementing an ambitious Modern Slavery Strategy since 2014.

Since this, a new Modern Slavery Taskforce was introduced in 2016 which now sits at the centre of Government with the aim of driving further progress in tackling slavery and people trafficking.

The new taskforce is backed up by a rise in action being taken against the offence with 239 suspects being charged with modern slavery offences in 2017/18, a 27% rise from the year before. In the same period, referrals to the CPS from the police increased by a third to 355, the highest ever recorded and a total of 185 modern slavery and human trafficking convictions were secured.

The National Referral Mechanism (NRM)

The National Referral Mechanism (NRM) was introduced as a framework for identifying and referring potential victims of modern slavery and ensuring they receive the appropriate support.

First Responder organizations, such as the Police, Local Authorities, New Pathways & The Home Office to name a few, have the following responsibilities;

  • identifying potential victims of modern slavery and recognise the indicators of modern slavery
  • gathering information in order to understand what has happened to them
  • referring victims into the NRM via the NRM form (in England and Wales this includes notifying the Home Office if an adult victim doesn’t consent to being referred)
  • providing a point of contact for the SCA to assist with the Reasonable and Conclusive Grounds decisions and to request a reconsideration where a First Responder believes it is appropriate to do so

How To Refer Cases to the NRM

Modern slavery is a complex crime and may involve multiple forms of exploitation. Victims may not be aware that they are being trafficked or exploited, and may have consented to elements of their exploitation, or accepted their situation. If you think that modern slavery has taken place, the case should be referred to the NRM so that the SCA can fully consider the case.

If you think you have encountered a person who has been a victim of modern slavery in England and Wales, you should complete the NRM referral form and send it to the SCA or contact any of the aforementioned First Responder Organizations to do so on your behalf.

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