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Newspaper articles quote official government statistics suggesting that there are between 10 and 13,000 modern slaves in the UK, a quarter of whom are UK nationals. Most are women and children groomed by their abusers who convince them they are valued before they are manipulated into debt or dependency. Many are then forced into prostitution, drug dealing and drug running, as well as low skilled jobs such as work in nail bars, car washes or domestic labour.

Sangita Myska in a recent BBC Radio 4 programme added that the annual incidents of slavery are increasing even though the UK has strong legislation. She points out that to date there has only been a 2% conviction rate allowing gang masters, and enslavers to escape the long prison sentences that are possible.

She described this as ‘a crime hidden in plain sight’. Cases are usually complex requiring work from multi agency panels including the police, local authorities, social services, child care and immigration authorities and so suspicious activity is not always scutinised as effectively as it might be.