Olympic winners and freed slaves

On the day when all our papers will be praising our Olympic successes there’s also a first year report on slavery in this country.

Congratulations are due to Theresa May in her former role as Home Office Secretary for the success of the Modern Slavery Act 2015. On its first anniversary, 289 offences were prosecuted last year. The Salvation Army says that it has had a fivefold rise from looking after 400 victims a year in 2012 to 1800 last year in England and Wales, mostly referrals from the government — which is obviously encouraging more victims to come forward than ever before.

The Home Office reckon that there are between 10,000 and 13,000 victims of modern slavery in the UK, All slaves are held under threats, some against their families back home, and require a great deal of individual courage to make the first step but, without being complacent about it, the Act is obviously working in sensitising the police, social services and even the general public about the matter.

Almost half the number of slaves being brought into the country are sexually exploited, the same for cheap labour on building sites or agriculture with about one in seven brought in by traffickers for domestic servitude. They are fairly evenly scattered around the country except for London, which has twice as many ‘hidden in plain sight’ on a population basis.

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