According to recent figures from the Modern Slavery Organised Immigration Crime unit (MSOIC) there are currently at least 2,026 live modern slavery police investigations being undertaken across the UK. These involve 2,700 potential victims and 2,200 suspects.
More than half of investigations (51%) tackle criminal exploitation (county lines, cannabis cultivation, fraud and theft); a quarter (23%) tackle sexual exploitation and 17 per cent labour exploitation - most frequently affected sectors are car washes, the food industry, construction, manual labour, factories and health & beauty.
The most frequently identified suspect nationalities are:
- Lithuanian, and
Victims come from many of the same countries – The most frequently identified nationalities of victims are:
- Nigerian, and
This is just a small snapshot but it enables us to understand common themes and see the key role that UK Policing is playing in tackling exploitation and apprehending suspects.
Anecdotally, cases of labour exploitation - particularly in the food supply chain - are increasingly being perpetrated by a close contact of the victim in the community, as opposed to by the employer or employment provider. This highlights the importance of public awareness of the warning signs and knowing what to do.