To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to ensure that victims of (a) modern slavery and (b) human trafficking are supported by her Department; and what steps she is taking to enhance police engagement with those victims to help dismantle those criminal networks.
15 September 2020
The Government is committed to tackling the heinous crime of modern slavery; ensuring that victims are provided with the support they need to begin rebuilding their lives and that those responsible are prosecuted. In 2019, potential victims referred to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) in the UK came from 168 different nationalities. British nationals were the most common. The majority of potential victims, 5,866 (55%) reported that they were exploited as an adult, while 4,550 (43%) were referred for exploitation that occurred as a child. The number of NRM referrals has increased every year since the NRM was introduced in 2009. The reasons for an increase in NRM referrals are likely to include: greater awareness of the NRM; improved law enforcement activity; and an increase in the recorded NRM referrals related to the county lines criminal business model.
The Home Office continues to work with a range of partners to identify and deliver effective prevention activity. This includes successful awareness raising initiatives such as the Government’s ‘Hidden in Plain Sight’ campaign and the #SlaveryonYourDoorstep campaign led by CrimeStoppers. We also have a dedicated GOV.UK https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/modern-slavery-training-resource-page/modern-slavery-training-resource-pageresources page that provides up-to-date information on how to spot the signs of modern slavery and report concerns.
In March we published statutory guidance under section 49 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015. This guidance covers modern slavery indicators and how potential victims can be referred to the NRM and clarifies the roles and responsibilities of frontline staff and local stakeholders. The guidance also sets out the support victims are entitled to, providing a clear framework of support for some of the most vulnerable people in our society. This support is accessed through the NRM and applies equally to victims of modern slavery and trafficking and may include accommodation, financial assistance, medical care, counselling and access to legal aid.
Local authorities are responsible for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all children in their area. In addition, the Government is continuing the roll out of Independent Child Trafficking Guardians (ICTGs) as part of the NRM Transformation Programme, focused on areas of highest need. ICTGs are currently available in one third of local authorities across England and Wales.
In July, we launched an online modern slavery module for all First Responders. This training will enable them to effectively identify and refer, where appropriate, potential victims of modern slavery to the National Referral Mechanism.
We have also allocated a further £2millon to continue funding the police this year under the new Modern Slavery and Organised Immigration Crime Programme. This funding will enable us to support the police to drive forward work to enhance their engagement with victims and increase modern slavery prosecutions. It also includes a new focus to build police capability to respond to organised immigration crime.