A recent Guardian article has reported a very steep rise in child labour, slavery and exploitation.
In 2017, more than 5,000 potential victims of slavery and exploitation were reported to the UK authorities. This was the highest number ever reported in a single year in the UK.
Of these 5,000 potential victims, a staggering 41% of those reported were children under the age of 18. Most of these reports were connected to suspected drug trafficking or child sexual exploitation. Other reports included suspected forced labour and even suspected organ harvesting.
Victoria Atkins, the minister for crime, safeguarding and vulnerability, said, “We know there is more to do, and we are working to improve the system for identifying victims and supporting them to leave situations of exploitation and begin to recover and rebuild their lives.”
It is believed that the NCA’s wide reaching campaign against modern slavery and an increased public awareness of the signs of modern slavery have resulted in more people coming forward to the authorities with their suspicions.
Anyone who suspects that a child is a potential victim of child labour, exploitation or modern slavery is encouraged to make a report to http://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/.