FOI- Modern slavery

Following a request made under the Freedom of Information Act by The Times, only 6% of crimes recorded by police forces under the Modern Slavery Act have led to charges since the legislation was introduced in 2015. Of the 5,145 suspected slaves referred to the national safeguarding programme last year, 2,118 or (41%) were under 18. Exploitation of children and teenagers increased 66% on the previous year, with total referrals up from 3,804. Questions have been raised about police forces’ ability to adequately investigate modern slavery, with examples such as West Midlands police who recorded 295 offences in 2 years, but only 4 charges, and Thames Valley police who recorded 118 offences with only 2 charges. Children are routinely duped by slave gangs to come to the UK on the promise of holidays, modelling contracts and football trials. In reality the children are exploited, being used as child prostitutes, forced into domestic servitude / labour or in the drug industry. The UK Anti-slavery Commissioner, Kevin Hyland, stated that he had: ‘met children brought from Nigeria, for example, expecting to play for some of the best football teams in the country. But they were just lured on that promise and then when they arrived were exploited in many ways, whether that be sexual exploitation or forced labour.’