‘Modern slavery is far more prevalent in UK than thought’

A pedestrian stands in a puddle of water as rain falls in central London on Aug 9. (AFP)

LONDON, Aug 10, (RTRS): Modern slavery and human trafficking are more prevalent across Britain than previously thought as more international gangs realise they can make significant sums from it, the National Crime Agency (NCA) said on Thursday. The NCA said there were 300 live police operations into forced labour, sexual exploitation and domestic servitude, problems which it said affected every large town and city across the country.

“We’ve been shocked by the extent of it,” Will Kerr, the NCA’s officer in charge of tacking such criminality, told reporters. “This is a growing problem. This is 2017, this is not acceptable in any way, shape or form.” Previous estimates suggested there were up to 13,000 victims of these types of crimes in Britain, but Kerr said that figure was the tip of the iceberg. “The more we go looking for this, the more we are finding it,” he said, adding an operation by British police in May and June had led to 111 arrests with 130 possible victims identified.

Kerr said the crime was becoming more attractive to gangs who could make up to 600 pounds ($780) per day from each woman exploited for prostitution, saying one Romanian gang was making 5 million euros a month by trafficking women in the sex trade. Globally it was estimated there were 46 million victims generating half a trillion dollars a year for organised crime gangs, he said.

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