Met Police

More must be done to tackle Modern Slavery

30 January 2020

The challenge London faces with modern slavery and human trafficking is unique and considerably greater than in any other region of the UK.  

The Home Office’s 2018 Annual Report on modern slavery shows that of the 5,143 people referred to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) in 2017, more than 30 per cent of cases were in London alone – almost three times that of any other region or country in the UK.  

Data from the Met shows that in 2013, 187 referrals for modern slavery and human trafficking were made in London. By 2018 that figure rose to 2,346 – a 1,155 per cent increase over five years.

The London Assembly Police & Crime Committee wrote to the Mayor with recommendations on what he can do to tackle modern slavery in the capital. 

The letter makes a number of recommendations, including: 

  • The Mayor should task the London Modern Slavery Partnership Board with developing a coherent strategy for modern slavery, specific to London, to give it clarity of purpose and help drive forward partnership work. 
  • The Met should ensure that more detectives are assigned to the Specialist Crimes and Vulnerabilities Unit to improve its response to, and investigation of, human trafficking and modern slavery.
  • The Mayor should contact other metropolitan Mayors and the London Victims Commissioner to build a coherent case to lobby the Home Secretary on a number of issues, including to review the current visa system for domestic servants that ‘ties’ them to individual employers when they are identified as victims/potential victims of trafficking.

Chair of the London Assembly Police & Crime Committee, Unmesh Desai AM, said:

“It’s clear that London needs to have a more coherent strategy to tackle modern slavery and human trafficking.  The rise of modern slavery cases in London over the last five years shows that action is needed now.  

“That’s why we’re calling on the Mayor to urgently task the London Modern Slavery Partnership Board with developing a coherent strategy for modern slavery in the capital.  But this cannot be done in isolation.  The Mayor must also work with the Met and the Home Office to ensure that organisations are working together to tackle modern slavery.” 

Notes to editors

  1. The letter is attached.
  2. Unmesh Desai AM, Chairman of the Police & Crime Committee is available for interview. 
  3. Find out more about the work of the Police & Crime Committee.
  4. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.

For media enquiries, please contact Aoife Nolan on 020 7983 4067.  For out of hours media enquiries, call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the London Assembly duty press officer. Non-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.

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