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Growing Concerns Of Modern Slavery In Care Sector

Calls to the UK’s Modern Slavery and Exploitation Helpline are at a record high, marking the fourth consecutive year of increases, according to a survey by charity Unseen.

Calls by care workers reported by the Modern Slavery & Exploitation Helpline rose to 918 in 2023 up from 708 in 2022, an increase of 30%.

Justine Carter, director of Unseen and co-author of the report, said: “Modern slavery and exploitation are heinous crimes that have no place in a modern, progressive UK that cares about human rights.

“It is encouraging that we are continuing to see rising numbers of calls and contacts to the Helpline, indicating that we are succeeding in raising awareness of the issue and mobilising more people to act.”

The Helpline data exposes the global reach of modern slavery. In 2023, potential victims came from 106 countries, up from 99 the previous year. The most common nationalities reported were Indian, Romanian, Albanian, Vietnamese, and Chinese.

India became the most prevalent potential victim nationality for the first time, predominantly due to labour exploitation within the care sector. This shift marks a change from past years, where Romanian nationals had been the most common nationality reported every year since the Helpline was founded in 2016.

Decline in number of potential victims and modern slavery cases

The rise in calls and contacts to the Helpline comes despite an overall fall in the number of potential victims and modern slavery cases reported.

In 2023:

  • The number of potential victims indicated at the Helpline was 5,876, down 10% on 2022 (6,516).
  • The number of modern slavery cases raised was 2,185, down 16% on 2022 (2,588).

Justine Carter says: “We remain concerned that the ever-increasing hostile environment in the UK towards migrants and foreign workers means that fewer people feel able to raise concerns and seek the help and support that they desperately need.

“More needs to be done to encourage victims to come forward and to properly resource efforts to stamp out modern slavery and exploitation for good.”

 

 
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