Cooperating to combat modern slavery

It is estimated that there are 13,000 victims of modern slavery in the UK, from 102 countries, Jeremy Oppenheim, the Director of Safeguarding at the Home Office told a recent Consular Corps meeting.

Globally there are up to 45.8 million victims of modern slavery, generating $150 billion annually for criminal organisations.

The three types of modern slavery include labour exploitation, sex trafficking and domestic servitude. Victims are brought to the UK under false pretences, their passports are taken away and they are unable to escape.

The Modern Slavery Act 2015 is a world-leading piece of legislation which gives authorities more powers in law enforcement and more protections for victims from prosecution if they have been forced into illegal activities.

The Home Office has been training law enforcement officers to deal with modern slavery more effectively, so that victims are protected which will help with evidence gathering that may eventually lead to a prosecution.

Oppenheim appealed to consuls who suspect any national of being a victim to contact the police. He also said that modern slavery was a global problem, with facilitators in a number countries. Therefore countries needed to work together to share intelligence and disrupt the criminal networks.