40.3 million people are estimated to be trapped in some form of modern slavery in the world today.
11,700 victims estimated in the UK.
5,145 potential victims found in 2017 (UK).
Modern slavery is an umbrella term for all forms of slavery, trafficking and exploitation.
At the core of this crime is deception. Survivors of modern slavery tell stories of being sold a better life. They are often vulnerable, coming from areas where there is little possibility of work. They are offered a job, a chance to make money and to build a new life for themselves. Those who offer these opportunities may even organise their travel to a different country, controlling every aspect of their trip.
The job they are offered turns out to be a lie and instead they are forced to work in difficult and degrading conditions, with little or no pay. The threat of violence, to themselves or their families, hangs over them and traps them in their situation. Even if their trafficker does not physically control them, a mistrust of authority may stop them from going to the police.
This is the reality for at least 11,700 men, women and children in the UK. Modern slavery knows no borders, and people of all ages and races can be victims. The 5,145 potential victims referred to the National Crime Agency in 2017 came from 116 different countries, the most common of which were Albania, Vietnam and the UK.
According to the International Labour Organisation, there are over 10 million children trapped in modern slavery around the world. That’s one in four of the overall total of 40.3 million people.
Children are enslaved in many different industries. Some may be trafficked for sex, while others are forced to work in manual labour for long hours with no pay. Others may be forced into marriage, or made to work as domestic servants in someone’s home.
Often the children who are being exploited will come from under-privileged backgrounds, perhaps growing up in poverty with little opportunity to escape. Those that traffick and exploit these children will prey on that insecurity, telling the children and their parents that they can get a good job for their child, perhaps even with access to education thrown in. By the time their victims realise it was all a lie, it is too late, and they are not able to escape.
In the UK, one in three of the victims found in 2017 were minors. Young people in the UK are at particular risk of child sexual exploitation, where children are forced to have sex for money, and child criminal exploitation, where children are forced to commit crimes such as selling drugs. Both crimes typically involve the grooming of the victim, often with gifts such as expensive trainers and phones, before being raped or forced to commit a crime to ‘pay back’ their exploiter.
Both The Clewer Initiative and Just Enough Group are committed to preventing this crime against humanity, through their individual work, and through their collaboration on this project.