Hestia’s response to the National Crime Agency Annual Report 2017

The huge increase in victims of modern slavery referred to the National Referral Mechanism is amplified in London, with the Metropolitan Police reporting a 70% rise, compared to the 35% in the National Crime Agency.

National Crime Agency

Hestia is the largest provider of support to victims of modern slavery in London. Currently, the National Crime Agency does not provide a breakdown of data for the capital. We have used data from 870 clients we supported in 2017 in our ‘Underground Lives: The Reality of Modern Slavery’ updated report. Our data suggests that the profile of modern slavery in London is likely to be very different to the rest of the UK. In 2017, 3 out of 4 potential victims of modern slavery we supported were women. In the UK, the numbers of men and women referred to the NRM are roughly equal. The difference may be because London is a hub for trafficking for sexual exploitation, a crime which disproportionately affects women.

One in four of the women we support are pregnant when they are referred to us. Their needs are captured in our ‘Underground Lives: Pregnancy & Modern Slavery’ report. Alongside the shocking stories, we also know that many of these women only regained their freedom because of the kindness and help of a stranger. These are ordinary people who facilitated rescues by providing a distraction for traffickers, called the police, or transferred victims to police stations and hospitals.

It is critical that awareness continues to be raised so that everyone is able to spot the signs of modern slavery here on our doorstep.

If you need advice

Call The Salvation Army’s confidential Referral Helpline on 0300 3038151. It is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for anyone who considers they might be a victim of modern slavery and in need of assistance or if you come into contact with someone you suspect may be a victim of modern slavery and in need of assistance.