• Monday, May 20, 2024

UK News

Indians most likely victims of modern slavery, finds report

Among the most frequently reported nationalities were Indian, Romanian, Albanian, Vietnamese, and Chinese

By: Pramod Thomas

FOR the first time, India emerged as the most common nationality among potential victims of modern slavery, primarily due to labour exploitation in the care sector, a report revealed this week.

The modern slavery and exploitation helpline data from anti-slavery charity Unseen also highlighted the widespread extent of modern slavery, with victims originating from 106 countries in 2023, an increase from 99 in the previous year.

Among the most frequently reported nationalities were Indian, Romanian, Albanian, Vietnamese, and Chinese. This shift represents a departure from previous years, during which Romanian nationals consistently topped the list since the helpline’s inception in 2016.

The helpline saw a record number of calls in 2023, marking an increase for the fourth consecutive year.

This surge coincides with a 30 per cent increase in potential victims identified within the UK adult social care sector.

There was a significant uptick of more than 19 per cent, with calls soaring from 9,779 in 2022 to 11,700 last year, the charity’s latest annual assessment said.

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.”

Carter expressed ongoing concerns about the increasingly hostile environment towards migrants and foreign workers, which may deter victims from seeking assistance.

She stressed the urgent need for enhanced efforts to combat modern slavery and provide support to victims.

According to the report, labour abuse emerged as the predominant form of exploitation, witnessing an 11 per cent increase from 464 cases in 2022 to 516 cases in 2023.

Particularly alarming was the spike in potential victims within the care sector, which rose by a staggering 30 per cent, jumping from 708 in 2022 to 918 in 2023.

Additionally, there was a notable 21 per cent rise in potential victims of criminal exploitation, reaching 385 cases in 2023.

The report said that there was a total of 339 (23 per cent) female potential exploiters, 1,187 (77 per cent) male and 1 transgender exploiters.

The report also highlighted alarming new trends, including the first reported cases of forced surrogacy and four instances of organ harvesting.

The number of forced scamming cases and
potential victims reported in such situations also doubled last year.

Forced scamming cases often involve groups of individuals forced into participating in online scams to fraudulently gain funds from unsuspecting members of the public.

“Modern slavery is a barbaric crime and we are committed to ensuring that needs-based support is available to victims to help them rebuild their lives, and to working with first responders to ensure victims understand the support and protection available,” a government spokesperson was quoted as saying.

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