In the past six years there has been a 300% increase in the number of victims of modern slavery referred for support in the UK, according to new figures published by the Salvation Army. This reflects a growth in the total number of slaves but also the significant progress made in identifying victims.
The challenge posed by modern slavery is not unique to the UK. New global estimates produced by International Labor Organization and Walk Free Foundation reveal that more than 40 million people are currently living in slavery around the world, whilst 89 million people have experienced some form of slavery in the last five years. Though the causes for this crime are numerous, statistics show that people in transit — whether economic migrants, refugees or those seeking asylum — are particularly vulnerable to slavery and human trafficking.
These figures should serve as a call to action for us all. Theresa May’s strong global leadership on modern slavery provides an opportunity to build an informed and coordinated response to tackling slavery on a local, national and international level. At the Legatum Institute, the data-led research and recommendations of our Global People Movements programme will enable us to make our contribution to confronting the scourge of modern slavery.
We believe that all people, regardless of whether they feature in a migration, refugee or trafficking statistic, should have the opportunity to build a prosperous life. By shining a light on the global trends which lie behind modern slavery, we hope to identify opportunities to create safe pathways from poverty to prosperity for victims around the world, ensuring every individual is free to flourish.
October 18 is Anti-Slavery Day. It was created by an Act of Parliament to raise awareness about modern slavery and encourage government, local authorities, public institutions, companies and individuals to tackle this atrocity.