Modern slavery and human trafficking in the UK is “far more prevalent than previously thought,” the National Crime Agency has said.
The NCA said there were more than 300 live policing operations currently, with cases affecting “every large town and city in the country”.
The agency estimated that there were tens of thousands of victims.
It said previous estimates of 10,000-13,000 victims in the UK were found to be the “tip of the iceberg”.
“The more we look, the more we find,” the NCA’s vulnerabilities director Will Kerr said.
Mr Kerr said he had been shocked by what he had seen during this year’s intensive efforts to break up gangs, with almost every major operation triggering even more investigations.
He warned that trafficking into modern slavery was now so widespread that ordinary people would be unwittingly coming into contact with victims every day.
The NCA said the growth in modern slavery was being driven by international gangs increasingly recognising the amount of money they could make by controlling people within a huge range of economic sectors, rather than just dealing drugs.
It warned that the key sectors for slavery now included food processing, fishing, agriculture, construction, domestic and care workers and car washes.
Mr Kerr said: “We have been shocked by the scale of what we have seen…
“As you go about your normal daily life there is a growing and a good chance that you will come across a victim who has been exploited and that’s why we are asking the public to recognise their concerns and report them.”
The NCA said that signs of abuse included anything that suggested someone was being controlled or coerced into work, such as:
- the manner of their dress
- visible signs of injuries
- signs of stress
- the manner in which they had come to work in a particular area
What is modern slavery?
Modern slaves in the UK, often said to be hiding in plain sight, are working in nail bars, construction sites, brothels, cannabis farms and in agriculture.
Traffickers are using the internet to lure their victims with hollow promises of jobs, education and even love.
Albania, Nigeria, Vietnam, Romania and Poland are the most likely countries of origin, but some victims are from the UK itself.
There is no typical victim. They can be men, women or children of all ages but it is normally more prevalent among the most vulnerable, minorities or socially-excluded groups.
Many believe they are escaping poverty, limited opportunities at home, a lack of education, unstable social and political conditions or war. But their slave masters are usually out to make financial gain.
Sexual exploitation is the most common form of modern slavery reported in the UK, followed by labour exploitation, forced criminal exploitation and domestic servitude.
‘Twelve-year-old domestic slave’
People from Eastern Europe, Vietnam and Nigeria were the most common victims brought to the UK, Mr Kerr said.
He gave one example of a 12-year-old Roma girl who was stopped at border control and had been bound for a life as a domestic slave.
He said: “She was being brought in to work for a family in part of the UK, where she had effectively been sold by her father – or it had been facilitated by her father – and she was being brought in to take this family’s children to school and pick them up every day, and clean the house in between.
“Twelve years old, same age as my youngest son.”
Mr Kerr said criminal charges were pending against those involved in the case.
He added that the problems authorities are facing are further complicated by the fact some people do not realise they are a victim of slavery.
BBC home affairs correspondent Dominic Casciani
This stark assessment of the growing scale of modern slavery is a story of our times: Criminal gangs looking to maximise the profits from globalisation by coercing and controlling people, as they move them around the world like commodities.
It is obviously impossible to fully assess a hidden problem. And while the NCA says it has been shocked by what it has seen over the last six months, there are also criticisms.
On Wednesday the anti-slavery commissioner questioned in an interview with the Evening Standard whether the NCA had previously failed to act quickly enough on its own existing intelligence.
In its defence the agency says there has been a “sea change” in response across the board.
Four years ago the former home secretary, now Prime Minister Theresa May, said it was time for a tougher response.
The question remains whether this extraordinary modern crime has grown because too little has been done since then.
The Modern Slavery Act was introduced into law in 2015.
It states an offence is committed if someone holds another in slavery or servitude or requires them to perform forced or compulsory labour.
The legislation also increased the maximum jail term for people traffickers from 14 years to life.
Cherie Blair, the human rights barrister and anti-slavery campaigner, said the revelations came as “no surprise whatsoever to anyone who’s been working is this area”.
“Modern slavery’s always been a hidden problem and what’s happened since we passed the Modern Slavery Act in 2015 is more and more light is being thrown onto this problem, and rather like child abuse in the past, it’s always been there but people were not aware of it, and as they become more aware of it, we uncover the true extent of the problem.”
Figures released earlier this year by the NCA showed the number of suspected victims of slavery and human trafficking had more than doubled in three years.
It said there were 3,805 people reported as potential victims in 2016 – an increase from 1,745 in 2013.
A Home Office spokesman said the government had taken “world-leading action” to tackle modern slavery, including toughening up sentences and increasing support and protection for victims.
“We continue to support the work of the National Crime Agency to leave criminal networks of traffickers and slavers nowhere to hide.
“Earlier this year we launched the Joint Slavery and Trafficking Analysis Centre to provide high quality intelligence analysis to assess the threat posed by modern slavery, and to support an increased operational response to this horrendous crime.”
More From this publisher : HERE
If you like our content help us with a share… or two …
Also - I have some free stuff for you .......
Nr 1. Top 10 Email Marketing Mistakes. Which of these mistakes do you make?
Nr 2. You can learn about : The hottest social networking site that will send an unlimited stampede of traffic to your site - for FREE! How to quickly locate a swarm of hungry buyers using "information portals"! The fast and easy way to use simple images to siphon targeted traffic, on command! Learn how to get the most possible traffic from Instagram, and make sure that traffic converts! And much more ...
Nr 3. It’s no secret… Facebook is an incredible place to get tons of free, viral traffic. But… most people are going about it all wrong. How many of these mistakes are you making? Download the free report to find out.
Nr 4. Special free report . It's called "Operation Midas Touch" and you can download it here...
The report features a surefire method for generating at least $1000 per week online,without a website or product of your own!
Nr 5. Instagram is still one of the hottest ways to get a LOT of traffic fast. All by sharing images. Sounds easy enough, yeah? Well, yes and no. If you want to really start driving a lot of traffic and making sales using Instagram then you should download this report.
Nr 6. When it comes to creating a product online there are so many ways to approach it. Wouldn’t it be great to just get the meat of it all so you can get started faster? Well, the good news is, today you can download a guide called the Product Creation Formula Quickstart Guide. It’s as the title suggests - a Quickstart guide. You’ll get a list of action steps to take right away. Download your copy today !
Nr 7. Would you like to finally USE all of that dusty PLR you have sitting around on your harddrive? Or maybe find the resources for the best PLR available - at the best prices? What about how to use that PLR to make you money with just a few minutes of work. Well, you’re not going to want to miss this!
Nr 8. Buzzfeed’s top post has more than 21 million views. Think about that for a sec… ONE of their articles has had over 21 million people who have read it! And they have thousands of articles... what would you do with that kind of traffic? A friend of mine hacked their method and was able to use it to get 11,592 targeted new subscribers in 2 weeks on their very first attempt!
Nr 9. Push notifications are one of today's hottest trends in website traffic and conversions, and for good reason. Studies have shown that as many as 40% of people will opt-in for push notifications, which is about TEN TIMES the rate of people who opt-in for emails! That’s huge! Not only that, but they're also highly effective at pulling clicks, as well. Some studies have shown CTR at an average of around 40%, with highs of as much as 80%! Again, that’s huge!
Nr 10. Would you like to know how to get more money from the exact same number of website visitors you’re currently getting? Even if you’re website is getting as few as 1-2 visitors a day, this report will show you how to increase your profits using these few handy hacks.
Nr 11. People have now realised that it's not the size of the list which matters, it's the quality. ... and the only way to create a quality list is by launching your own products. Let it be $7 ebooks, $17 info products, $27 video training product or software's... all of these work. My good friend Kevin Fahey has is revealing how he's launched over 20 products in the past 4 years, many of them top sellers. Needless to say he's banked a handsome amount in this time.
Nr 12. Do you ever feel that the man you like or even love, just doesn't see you or desire you in way you want him to? Or... maybe you're able to get a man's attention though not the right kind of attention? Or... maybe you're still single because you wait and wait for men to approach you first? What you may not know is that the way we flirt will either attract the "wrong" man for us or the "right" man.
Nr 13. When it comes to getting sales and leads online, there is ONE thing that 95% of marketers use... it's called a LIST. My friend Jimmy just released a free book that explains WHY a list is important and how YOU can build your own list. It's available right here (and it won't cost you a penny)
Nr 14. If you have tried everything, and still aren't able to get your Ex back, then you need to pay attention.
Nr 15. What if I told you that you could make ANY woman WANT to do ANYTHING for you? Would you think I'm crazy? Well... what If I told you that you could also make her LOVE every minute of it and come back for more?
Nr 16. I have a special free plugin for you today. It's called "Covert Hover Mini"
This plugin will triple your blog traffic by compelling your visitors to share your images on social media. This is some really clever stuff and it works like a charm. After you grab your free plugin, don't forget to read the free bonus report as it will show exactly how and why this strategy works like crazy.
Nr 17. The days of being able to get away with a basic WP theme and a pic or two are gone, your site needs to look good. Even Google are looking for you to have engaging graphics on your site. But getting good quality graphics made for your site is a pain, AND it will cost you both time and money (if you outsource it). But I have a special free download for you today. A virtual treasure chest of over 21K profit pulling graphics you can start sing today to generate more traffic & sales!
Nr 18. 20 professional full HD background videos. These background videos are perfect for giving your videos that extra kick they need to stand out from the crowd Oh yeah they are in full 1080p HD too, I hope you'll enjoy them.
Nr 20. No doubt, you've seen all of the video launches lately! There is a reason for it... Video marketing is a GREAT way to make money, and with the recent creation tools making it super accessable for anyone to get started... It's no surprise that more people are making videos. However... there is a missing element to most video marketing products...
Nr 21. For the first time ever... You can get the straight scoop on how someone is selling over $1,000,000/year of t-shirts on Facebook!Use them .... and have fun !