Modern slavery in the UK is currently a hidden and underreported crime. While the Home Office has estimated that there were between 10,000 - 13,000 potential victims of modern slavery in the UK, in 2014 just 2,340 potential victims were referred to the National Referral Mechanism.
Victims of modern slavery often suffer from an array of serious physical and psychological health issues as a direct result of the exploitation they have been subjected to. Immediate support is paramount in making victims feel safe and secure, and protecting them from harm. Furthermore sustained support is often needed to enable long-term healing, increased resilience, reintegration into society and the rebuilding of lives.
Improving efforts to identify potential victims so that individuals can be removed from situations of exploitation, protected from further harm and referred for appropriate care is essential. Support will be most effective when it is informed and guided by survivors’ experience and expertise.