Ministers, the police and social workers have been accused of a “shocking” failure to prevent the spread of modern slavery in the UK, leading to sexual exploitation, forced labour and the domestic servitude of adults and children from across the world.
“Our research has uncovered a shocking underworld in which children and adults, many of them UK citizens, have been forced into lives of utter degradation. Yet the authorities are either failing to understand the nature of this abuse or turning a blind eye to its existence.”
The post of anti-slavery commissioner should be established to develop independent monitoring and reporting on the UK’s response to the issue.
The UK Border Agency should be removed as a “competent authority” in charge of the government’s system for identifying and protecting suspected trafficking victims.
Responsibility in government for human trafficking and modern slavery should be transferred from the immigration minister to the policing and criminal justice minister in the Home Office.
A new Modern Slavery Act should outline the obligation to investigate indicators of slavery.
All police officers should receive training on how to identify victims of human trafficking.
Trainee social workers should be taught about the risks of child trafficking.
Police should be tasked to proactively investigate the links between missing children and child trafficking.