UK to stem Modern Slavery


The British government is launching the first nationwide campaign aimed at raising awareness of modern slavery in the UK, BBC reported. It intends to encourage the public to identify signs of slavery and report them to a new national helpline.
The Human Trafficking Foundation charity estimates 20,000 people are working in slavery in the UK, and says that number is rising.
The Home Office hopes Parliament will pass an anti-slavery bill before the general election. It is spending £2.3m on the TV, online and poster awareness campaign, which will run until October.
The TV advert shows three of the most common types of modern slavery: Agricultural labour;  sexual exploitation in a brothel;  domestic servitude in a home.
It concludes with the caption, “Slavery is closer than you think”.
The national helpline, which is supported by children’s charity the NSPCC, will offer information and advice to child and adult victims of slavery, as well as to professionals and members of the public.
Home Secretary Theresa May said the campaign aimed to “bring this hidden crime out into the open”.
“It is difficult to accept that modern Britain is home to slavery, but this appalling crime is taking place here – often out of sight – in shops, fields, building sites and behind the curtains of houses on ordinary streets,” she said.
There is no official figure for the number of victims trafficked into the country each year. However, in 2013 the official body that identifies and looks after those caught up in trafficking, the National Referral Mechanism (NRM), received 1,746 referrals of potential victims of trafficking – a 47% increase on the previous year.
The Modern Slavery Bill, featured in the last Queen’s Speech, would grant courts in England and Wales new powers to protect people trafficked into the UK, held against their will and forced to work.
It would ensure compensation was paid to victims and change the maximum jail sentence for those convicted of slavery-related offences from 14 years to life.