Home secretary Amber Rudd has called for a systemic “shake up” to ensure current and potential victims of modern slavery are not falling into the hands of exploiters.
Rudd was speaking as the new Joint Slavery Trafficking Analysis Centre began operations last Wednesday (12).
The £1 million government funded unit comprises analysts from the National Crime Agency, police, border force, immigration enforcement, HMRC and the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority.
The unit will create assessments and analysis in order to inform policymakers and law enforcement agencies, using a model based on existing counter-terrorism groups.
Rudd pledged to transform the National Referral Mechanism system, which provides support to those suspected to be victims of slavery.
She said that the results of an 18-month study on how the system could be improved, including how more victims could be identified and the outreach process streamlined, would be released later this year.
“being proud of what we have done so far isn’t the same as being complacent about it.”
A recent National Crime Agency report revealed that 3,800 potential victims were referred for help in the UK in 2016, a rise of 17 per cent. Those referred included nationals from 108 different countries, with the UK representing the third most common country of origin.
Referring to that report, Rudd said: “In this country alone, there are thousands of poor souls being exploited and abused. Many of them have come here on the promise of a better life – those hopes will have been crushed.
“As a country, I think we are rightly proud of what we have achieved. That’s more potential victims than ever being helped. But being proud of what we have done so far isn’t the same as being complacent about it.”