The Salvation Army asserts that between 2012 and March 2016, there has been an increase of roughly 4100 slavery victims helped by the organization, resulting in an overall of approximately 4500 victims who were given support by March 2016.

The organization has not specified what this support entails.

This number represents a 5 times increase from its corresponding value in 2012. The reasons for this increase are several. They include both an actual increase in the number of slave victims in England and Wales, as well as a bettered ability by both the government and the organization to identify and support slavery victims.

The Home Office stipulated that this rise shows that efforts to highlight the issue are efficient, which means that the Home Office believes that this rise signals an increased number of identified victims rather than an increase number of actual victims. Minister of countering extremism and vulnerability, Sarah Newton, said “Slavery has long been hidden in plain sight, and our policy is designed to encourage more victims to come forward and ask for help.”

Prime Minister Theresa May asserts that in 2015, there has been an increase of 40% in the number of slavery victims identified by the government. She also added that 33 million Euros would be invested in initiatives overseas aiming at reducing the figures on modern slavery. The specific initiatives the prime minister referred to are yet to be known. According to the Salvation Army, about half of them are victims of sexual exploitation, while the remaining half was also subjected to forced labour and domestic servitude. The vastest majority of them originates from Albania, Poland, Nigeria and Vietnam. The women to men slaves ratio, according to the organization, was roughly 3 to 2, meaning that there are 50% more women than men slaves.

The Salvation Army hopes that through increasing awareness of the issue, it will be harder to traffic slaves into England. Additionally, a significant decrease should be observed as the new Brexit regulations are being implemented.

The National Crime Agency adds that slavery victims have a 45 days period to “recover” and “reflect on what they want to do next”. The National Crime Agency explained that the Competent Authority, who are defined as trained decision makers, must first consider whether the person referred to them is a victim of human trafficking or not and that is according to the Council of European Convention. If the decision is affirmative, the victim is allocated a government funded safe house and a 45 days reflection period. At this point, and according to the National Crime Agency, the victim can either co-operate with the police, in which case the victim will be granted discretionary leave to remain in the UK for one year or receive monetary assistance to go back home. However, it was stated that the Home Office might consider a discretionary leave to remain in the UK, depending on the victim’s personal circumstances, even if the victim is not involved in the criminal justice process.

In 2016, the estimate of the amount of people subjected to modern slavery is 46 million and across 167 countries, the Global Slavery Index reports.

Salma Aouf, Correspondent (Our World)