Reports of human trafficking and modern slavery in Britain are not being investigated properly, the UK’s anti-slavery commissioner has said.
Kevin Hyland expressed concern at the level of potential slavery incidents being investigated and prosecuted, claiming the official record of victims outnumbers the instances of crime recorded.
“What’s alarming about it is that we do have people reporting to the authorities but then the [incidents] are not being properly investigated,” he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.
“The real concern that I have is that in 2015 we had 986 cases involving minors, yet the official figures show … only 928 actual crime recorded incidents. That means … potentially the cases involving minors are not being investigated properly.
“The fact that the number of crimes recorded hasn’t even reached the number of minors tells me that all these cases … are not being investigated properly because until they are recorded properly … we can’t be satisfied that it is, or it isn’t, a crime of modern slavery.”
The number of potential slavery victims being brought to the UK has risen from under 1,000 in 2011 to more than 3,200 last year, but Hyland said government estimates suggest the real figure could be as high as 13,000.
The commissioner insisted progress was being made in achieving convictions.
“There is some good news. Last year, there were far more convictions and this year, we have already passed the amount of convictions for the whole of last year. So it is going in the right direction,” he said.
QotD: “Slavery and human trafficking claims ‘not investigated properly'”