The Centre for Social Justice accused ministers, police and social workers of failing to tackle a ‘shocking underworld’
More than 1,000 victims were found last year, including a significant number of British children.
CSJ managing director Christian Guy said, ‘The authorities are either failing to understand the nature of this abuse or turning a blind eye to its existence.’
Christian anti-trafficking charity Hope for Justice welcomed the report. Spokeswoman Rebecca Clarke told Christianity magazine, ‘The UK already has anti-trafficking legislation and a national system of victim aftercare, but not nearly enough front line public servants are aware of these. There must be a greater level of collaboration between government services and specialist non-governmental organisations, like Hope for Justice, if we are to join up the dots and liberate more victims from devastating situations of exploitation.
‘The need for a third party in anti-trafficking efforts remains distinct and urgent. Too many victims come from source countries with disreputable policing and others are wilfully instilled with a fear of UK police by their traffickers. This means that many victims would never self-disclose to the authorities.’
The Centre for Social Justice says the problem in the UK is barely understood and is often a low priority for police. It wants an anti-slavery commissioner established and the UK Border Agency to be stripped of powers to decide whether a person has been a trafficking victim.
Researchers found from construction sites to brothels, large numbers of trafficked people were being exploited, but their fate never appeared in official statistics. Find out more at hopeforjustice.org.uk