The Home Office (the Department) introduced an ambitious Modern Slavery Strategy in 2014, but it has taken too long to learn what works in the system, to understand the complexities of the crime and to turn the strategy and the Modern Slavery Act into an effective and co-ordinated approach across government. Government does not yet have the data or systems to understand the crime, the demographics and circumstances of the victims and the perpetrators, making the digitisation of the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) a priority. Nor does it know how much money it spends tackling modern slavery or what success looks like, meaning it cannot establish whether its strategy is working or how it should prioritise its actions. Potential victims are waiting far too long for a decision on whether they will be treated as a victim of modern slavery, causing further distress and anxiety to vulnerable people. The Department has not put in place minimum care standards and it does not inspect the level of care provided to potential victims, so it does not know whether or not victims are receiving adequate care. The Department also does not know what happens to victims after they have gone through the system and whether, for example, they have been trafficked again.
Published: 2 May 2018