UK has seen an increase in the number of Indian nationals who are potential victims of modern day slavery. In 2016, the number was just 100 but 2017 saw the numbers jump to 140, UK government statistics show.
Of the total figure, 25 were victims of domestic servitude, 90 of labour exploitation, 18 of sexual exploitation, and the others fell under the category of unknown exploitation, reported PTI, adding that India was among the top 10 most vulnerable nations.
UK topped with 819 victims in 2017, followed by Albania (777) and Vietnam (739).
“It is our assessment that the increase we are seeing here is driven by an increased awareness and greater reporting of modern slavery and that is to be welcomed,” National Crime Agency director Will Kerr was quoted as saying by PTI. “However, it also adds further evidence to our view that the figures almost certainly represent an underestimate of the true scale of slavery and trafficking in the UK,” he added.
The British government has put in place several measures to tackle modern day slavery. In 2016, British Prime Minister Theresa May launched the Modern Slavery Task Force to bring perpetrators to court under the country’s Modern Slavery Act.
“We owe it to the innocent men, women and children who are being tricked into a life of hard labour and abuse to rid our world of this evil,” she said.
However, there are many challenges to tackle modern slavery in the UK.
According to a report on Antislavery.org, there’s increased awareness among law enforcement officials regarding modern slavery. However, there are still cases where people are turned away from police stations and not believed, and those forced into crime treated as criminals. There are also instances where people from outside the EU are not “recognised as victims of trafficking and are often ordered to be deported rather than protected. Visa rules also prevent overseas domestic workers from leaving abusive employers and seeking out new ones. This often leads them to suffer abuse in silence,” the site pointed out.