A British Home Office report suggests the number of victims of modern slavery is higher than previously thought. The U.K. is home to an estimated 10,000 to 13,000 victims of modern slavery, including women forced into prostitution and “imprisoned” domestic workers and laborers.
The BBC reported the Home Office hopes to curb the number of victims of domestic slavery, which is related to human trafficking that brings in people from countries like Albania, Nigeria, Vietnam and Romania. The Modern Slavery Bill currently making its way through Parliament would provide courts in England and Wales the ability to better protect people who are trafficked into the country against their will.
“The time has come for concerted, coordinated action. … We must step up the fight against modern slavery in this country, and internationally, to put an end to the misery suffered by innocent people around the world,” Home Secretary Theresa May said. Modern slavery minister, Karen Bradley called slavery a “hidden crime” that persists in cities and towns across the globe.
Border forces are also part of the concerted effort, with the Home Office rolling out specialized teams to target and monitor major airport hubs and ports of entry to spot potential victims upon entry. In addition, British embassies abroad will work with liaisons from the National Crime Agency to strengthen preventative measures before trafficked humans leave their home country.