Modern slavery victims found in Dorset

Modern slavery victims found in Dorset

Published by Maria Greenwood at 11:22am 19th September 2019.

Dozens of potential modern slavery victims have been identified in Dorset in the last year.

Home Office figures show 41 potential victims were recorded by Dorset Police in the 12 months to June.

Modern slavery was introduced as an offence in 2015 and can involve domestic servitude, forced sex work, or labour exploitation.

Suspected victims can be flagged to the Home Office via the National Referral Mechanism by government agencies, police forces, councils and other organisations.

They are then assessed and can receive support including accommodation, legal aid and counselling.

police knocking at door

An individual police force records the referrals where the exploitation is suspected to have happened in its area, or if it identified a potential victim in the first place.

It also records cases if the alleged victim was exploited abroad, and their address or that of the referring organisation was in the force area.

The rise in referrals to Dorset Police reflects the trend across England and Wales, where around 7,800 were made in the 12 months to June, a 34% increase on the previous 12 months.

The Human Trafficking Foundation has welcomed an increase in the identification of potential victims nationally, but claims some are dropping off the radar after government support schemes come to an end.

The Home Office says that a small number of cases may be duplicated if a potential victim is referred into the NRM more than once.