A UK government report revealed that there are an estimated 13,000 people in modern slavery in the country.
The report says that those in the country considered modern slaves include people who are forced into prostitution, domestic servants, and labourers who are forced to work in factories, farms and fishing boats.
Data indicates that many of the victims of slavery are brought into the country by human traffickers, and that the most common countries of origin are Albania, Nigeria, Poland and Romania.
“The first step to eradicating the scourge of modern slavery is acknowledging and confronting its existence,” Home Secretary Theresa May was quoted as saying by The Associated Press. “The estimated scale of the problem in modern Britain is shocking and these new figures starkly reinforce the case for urgent action.”
The number of estimated slaves has shot up dramatically from estimates calculated in 2013, as the National Crime Agency’s Human Trafficking Centre had estimated the number of victims to be 2,744. The Home Office said that it had underestimated the scale of the problem.
“Modern slavery is very often deeply hidden and so it is a great challenge to assess its scale,” said Professor Bernard Silverman, the Home Office chief scientific advisor on whose statistical analysis the estimates are based on.
“The data collected is inevitably incomplete and, in addition, has to be very carefully handled because of its sensitivity.”