Modern slavery is a brutal form of serious and organised crime that exploits the most vulnerable, desperate people of our society.

Ruthless criminals target men, women, children of all nationalities and backgrounds coercing them into sexual exploitation, criminal and fraudulent activity, forced labour and domestic servitude with the sole purpose of receiving an illicit financial gain.

In 2013 the Home Office estimated that there could be as many as 13,000 potential victims in the UK. Global Slavery Index 2018 estimated that there could be as many as 136,000 victims in the UK. The official statistics show that there were 7,284 adults and children identified as potential victims of modern slavery in the first nine months of 2019, which is more than for the whole of 2018 – 6,895 potential victims. The true scale of this crime remains unknown.

In 2013 the Centre for Social Justice published its ground-breaking report on modern slavery – ‘It Happens Here: Equipping the United Kingdom to fight modern slavery’. The headline recommendation, a new Modern Slavery Act, was taken up by the Government and the Act came into law in 2015. Since then Britain has made important progress against modern slavery, but we are losing the fight.

The Modern Slavery Policy Unit, co-led by Justice and Care UK and the Centre for Social Justice has been created with the core mission – to keep modern slavery at the top of the British political agenda to ensure we fight the crime appropriately. This means better understanding of the nature and scale of modern slavery, increased investment and sophisticated national response to fight it appropriately.

Utilising frontline practitioners, hard-hitting evidence-based ideas, a new understanding about the scale of the abuse and listening to the survivor voices, our Unit will catalyse the political leadership we need and achieve the systemic change to make the difference. We will work on a cross-party basis, bringing together and equipping strong caucus of parliamentarians to lead. Our task is to set Britain’s fight against modern slavery on course for the next 5-10 years.

Top Stats for Modern Slavery

  1. Nobody knows the true scale and cost of the crime but based on a new police data analysis tool we believe there could be at least 100,000 victims in the UK, with the actual number likely to be even greater.
  2. According to a 2017 Government study, the economic and social cost of modern slavery was £3.3 billion – £4.3 billion, but this was based on their estimated prevalence of only 10,000 – 13,000 suspected victims.
  3. 63% of the British public now say they are more aware of modern slavery than they were 5 years ago.

Modern Slavery Team:

Latest published reports on Modern Slavery

New Plan for Immigration consultation response: Identifying and supporting victims of modern slavery and human trafficking
Parallel societies: slavery, exploitation and criminal subculture in Leicester
It still happens here: Fighting UK Slavery in the 2020s
A Modern Response to Modern Slavery
See all reports

Sign up to the CSJ Leader Column