The National Referral Mechanism (NRM) is a framework for identifying and referring potential victims of modern slavery and ensuring they receive the appropriate support.
The annual data gives us a snapshot into the current modern slavery landscape and helps us understand which way the trends are moving in.
This is our summary:
- The number of potential victims referred to the Home Office in 2022 increased by 33% compared to the preceding year
- This was the highest annual number since the NRM began in 2009 but this is only the tip of the iceberg as most victims never come forward for support
- Of the 16,938 potential victims referred in 2022, 78% were male and 21% were female
Forms of slavery
- The most common form of exploitation amongst all potential victims was labour exploitation, which accounted for 30% of all referrals
- For adult potential victims, labour exploitation was most commonly reported (39%), whereas child potential victims were most often referred for criminal exploitation e.g. county lines (43%)
- In 2021 and 2022, cases flagged as county lines remained at a high level, averaging more than 550 referrals a quarter in 2022. However, in 2022 they rose at a lower rate compared to the previous year
- In 2022, 2,281 county lines referrals were flagged, accounting for 13% of all referrals received. The majority (75%) of these referrals were for male children
- Albanian nationals overtook UK nationals as the most commonly referred nationality in 2022, with Eritrean nationals being the third most referred