News / 24th April 2019

Modern Slavery Helpline releases 2018 Report

The Modern Slavery Helpline has published its second Annual Assessment, for 2018, showing a 46% increase in the number of potential victims indicated through reports to the Helpline, from 4,886 in 2017 to 7,121 in 2018. Similar to the previous year, labour exploitation, with 54% of modern slavery cases, was the most common type of exploitation reported.

There was also a 68% increase in the number of calls and webforms being received by the confidential, UK-wide Helpline, with the Unseen App also introduced in July 2018 as another simple method of reporting concerns and contacting the Helpline for advice and support.

The rising figures in the Helpline’s 2018 Annual Assessment are likely to indicate an increase in awareness of modern slavery and the Helpline, rather than an increase in modern slavery itself.

Andrew Wallis, CEO of Unseen, which runs the Modern Slavery Helpline, said: “The Helpline is receiving an ever-increasing volume of contacts via calls, web and Unseen App submissions - a testament to the scale of the problem of modern slavery in the UK today. The numbers of potential victims indicated are just the tip of the iceberg. But growing public awareness of the signs of slavery, and of the Helpline as a resource, mean that we are able to help more people to freedom than ever before, working in collaboration with the police, businesses and other partners, while the data coming out of the Helpline is being used to further understand this crime and how to combat it.”

As well as demographic information on potential victims per exploitation type, for the first time the 2018 Annual Assessment also included data on potential exploiters. There were 2,171 potential exploiters indicated through reports to the Helpline, comprising 70 different nationalities. In 63% of cases where nationality of both the victim and the exploiter were reported, at least one potential exploiter and one potential victim shared the same nationality.

The 2018 Annual Assessment also includes information on recruitment tactics and methods of control, as well as relationships between potential victims and exploiters. And, in addition to providing a full review of data surrounding various types of exploitation, the Annual Assessment also provides an overview of new trends identified.

Read the 2018 Annual Assessment here, and read the Executive Summary here.