There could be more than 10 times the number of victims of modern slavery than estimated – and the pandemic threatens to fuel a further increase.
According to the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) and Justice and Care, there are at least 100,000 victims, which dwarfs the 10,000 working figure estimated by a government study in 2017.
The economic and social cost of modern slavery is believed to be between £3.3 billion and £4.3 billion – but this sum is based on up to 13,000 victims, meaning the true cost could be far greater.
“Nobody knows the true scale and cost of the crime, but based on a new police data analysis tool we believe there could be at least 100,000 victims in the UK, with the actual number likely to be even greater,” a report published by the centre on Monday stated.
It also warned of a “serious risk” that coronavirus could “lead to a rise in modern slavery and human trafficking.
“The main drivers of modern slavery – poverty, lack of opportunity and other vulnerabilities – will intensify, resulting in an increased risk of exploitation and abuse.”
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