The modern slave trade is now the second largest criminal enterprise in the world, estimated to be worth more than £87 billion. There are more victims of slavery today than in the complete history of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. In the UK alone, the number of victims of slavery identified in 2013 rose 47 percent from 2012. The government’s continued focus on the prevention of human trafficking at home adds considerably to the weight of UK articles tracked this month in the LexisNexis® Human Trafficking Awareness Index™. Here is an overview of some of the key articles highlighted by the Index.
As reported in many publications, including guardian.com, a hard-hitting television advert focusing on the human cost of slavery premiered this month as part of a major new Home Office campaign to raise awareness of modern slavery in the UK. The national campaign, which will run in the UK until October, is the first of its kind in the UK and aims to encourage the public to identify the signs of modern slavery and report it by calling a new national helpline.
You can read more on this in our post: ‘Landmark campaign launched to stamp out slavery’.
View the video on Youtube.
The Derby Telegraph reports on a county council trial scheme designed to help victims of child trafficking. Ian Thomas, strategic director for children and younger adults notes that “Because of the circumstances they have encountered, unaccompanied and trafficked children often have complex needs in addition to those faced by other looked after children. A new scheme will be trialled by the Home Office, and Derbyshire County Council has been approached to participate in this trial. Under the trial arrangements, each child victim will be allocated a person with specialist training and expertise in trafficking who will provide dedicated support and guidance and ensure the child's voice is heard."
The article goes on to highlight previous reporting that has revealed “19 organised crime groups were operating in Derby and were behind child exploitation, drug dealing, money laundering and modern-day slavery. Businesses such as nail bars, car washes, pubs and takeaways are “legitimate business fronts for money launderers”.
You can read more on this in our post where, following a BBC Radio 5 Live broadcast, we looked at how UK car wash services could be employing slave labour: ‘Is your car wash supporting modern slavery?’
Bristol East MP Kerry McCarthy is urging Home Secretary Theresa May to include an amendment making businesses responsible for ensuring there is no slavery in their supply chain. The Bristol Post reports Ms McCarthy noting “I am worried that the Home Office will say that it does not want to place an additional burden on business with more red tape, as a way of wriggling around this. Businesses ought to care about whether there is slavery in their supply chain. If that creates an additional burden or onus on them to investigate their supply chain, well that is something they have a moral obligation to do.”
You can read more on this in our post: Companies not asked to report slavery in supply chains under new laws.
The Bristol Post article also reports on the case of a woman convicted of human trafficking and forced labour. Jarate Grigelyte, a 53-year old Lithuanian had lured 11 victims from her home country to work for a pittance. Some were alcoholics and felt totally dependent on Grigelyte for accommodation, work and food, and had no idea how to interact with UK authorities.
Ms McCarthy noted “Although many people in Bristol may be aware of the city’s slavery legacy, many would be unaware of the extent to which slavery still exists in this country.”
The Labour MP said they were working with Bristol-based national charity, Unseen UK, in helping victims and bringing perpetrators to justice.
The July 2014 Human Trafficking Awareness Index for the UK stood at 102% which reflects 342 trafficking-related articles published by the British and Irish media during July 2014 compared to 390 the previous month.
The LexisNexis Human Trafficking Awareness Index™ data model highlights emerging trends and patterns of awareness within and across national borders. The Index uses the respected Nexis® service to track and analyse the volume of articles related to human trafficking. Using a licensed collection of almost 6,000 of the most influential news sources from more than 120 countries, the HTA Index highlights emerging trends and patterns of awareness within and across national borders. Activists working to combat human trafficking can use this information to highlight and raise awareness to inform their efforts and gain greater understanding of the news.