This week the Global Slavery Index 2016, published by the Walk Free Foundation, estimates that there are 45.8 million people enslaved across the world.

In a letter to The Times newspaper, Kevin Hyland OBE, Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner wrote:

Sir, Richard Ford reports (June 1) that the Global Slavery Index hails Britain as having “led the world” in its anti-slavery strategy. I am pleased that the UK has taken the first steps to becoming a global leader in tackling the horrors of modern slavery. However this status will only be confirmed through immediate on-the-ground improvements that better identify and support victims, and make sure that modern slavery is no longer a low-risk and high-profit crime.

Police across the country must treat this as serious and often organised crime and do more to increase the number of investigations and disruptive operations. Businesses need to make sure they are compliant with the new rules on supply-chain transparency, and consumers need to hold them to account to make sure that none of us are unwittingly contributing to this inhumane trade in human lives. And we must look beyond sticking-plaster solutions to do more to tackle slavery in the countries where it is originating, working with local communities to increase resilience and job opportunities, as well as supporting local rule of law.

Kevin Hyland
Independent anti-slavery commissioner