Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking (MSHT) in the United Kingdom is much more pervasive than was thought, the UK National Crime Agency (NCA) said in a statement released Thursday.
“MSHT in the UK is far more prevalent than previously thought.
“A growing body of evidence resulting from an increase in law enforcement activity points to the numbers of victims being much higher than estimated, and the threat continuing to expand,” NCA said in a statement.
According to the NCA, there are over 300 policing operations aimed at fighting human trafficking in the United Kingdom at the moment.
Between May and June 2017, 111 individuals were arrested and 130 victims were detected in NCA operations against labor and sexual exploitation.
The NCA plans to address the issue by starting a campaign on sexual and labor exploitation, explaining how the public can help stop it.
Diane Abbott, the shadow home secretary from the Labour Party, commenting on the report issued by the NCA, stated that the criticism of the agency’s inability to tackle human trafficking raised serious concerns.
“The claim that modern slavery offences are just lying dormant on the NCA database because these crimes are not taken seriously is deeply troubling.
“The NCA is accountable for its performance to the Home Secretary, so Amber Rudd has serious questions to answer,” Abbott indicated in a statement published on the Labour Party’s website.
According to the NCA statistics, 3,805 potential victims of human trafficking were submitted to the National Referral Mechanism, a process aimed at identifying the victims of human trafficking in the United Kingdom and their support, in 2016.
Of those potential victims, 150 were from Scotland, 123 from Wales and 33 from Northern Ireland.
The others were referred from England.