122,000 victims of modern slavery in Britain, says human rights organization
The number of people living in modern slavery in the UK has fallen in recent years, according to a new report, but “a more hostile and discriminatory environment towards migration” has made it harder for victims to access support, it says in a new report.
It is estimated that around 122,000 people live as modern slaves across the UK, up from 136,000 in 2018, human rights organization Walk Free said.
In the most recent Global Slavery Index, the UK was ranked 38th – unchanged since the last survey – out of 47 countries in Europe and Central Asia.
It ranks 145th out of 160 countries worldwide.
The UK’s shift towards a more anti-immigrant and discriminatory environment has made it increasingly difficult for vulnerable people, including victims of modern slavery, to access basic support and services
The report states that the countries estimated to be most prevalent in modern slavery tend to be conflict-ridden, have government-mandated forced labor and weak governance.
North Korea tops the rankings, followed by Eritrea, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
It is estimated that modern slavery is least common in Switzerland, Norway and Germany.
Ireland is also among the countries with the lowest prevalence.
It ranks 153rd in the world and it is estimated that 5,000 people live there in modern slavery.
Ireland ranked 40th out of 47 countries in the Europe and Central Asia region, compared to 2018 where it ranked 46th out of 50 countries.
It is estimated that the UK imports US$26.1 billion (£21 billion) worth of products annually that are at risk of being manufactured using forced labour.
The five most valuable products imported into the UK that are at risk of being manufactured under conditions of modern slavery are clothing, electronics, fish, textiles and timber.
Walk Free said the UK has had the strongest response to modern slavery, both regionally and globally, which “reflects some strong efforts to address risk factors, establish criminal justice mechanisms and tackle forced labor in supply chains.”
However, it warned that “significant gaps remain, including the need to step up measures to support survivors, while recent and proposed changes in UK immigration policy have increased vulnerabilities”.
It states that “the UK’s transition to a more hostile and discriminatory environment towards migration has made it increasingly difficult for vulnerable people, including victims of modern slavery, to access basic support and services.”
Noting that severe labor shortages post-Brexit and post-pandemic have led to increased reliance on migrant workers, the organization added: “Nevertheless, the UK government has failed to respond effectively to the heightened vulnerability of migrant and seasonal workers , and some measures have reinforced these. Risks of Modern Slavery.
It also pointed to the controversial illegal immigration law, which it says “violates several human rights conventions that the government has ratified and will prevent victims of modern slavery from finding safety and assistance.”
50 million people are trapped in forced labour, sex trafficking and child exploitation. It’s a number that should put us all to shame
Walk Free also added that “the increasing restriction of clear and accessible routes to safe and legal migration poses a serious threat to the security of vulnerable people and puts them at risk of modern slavery”.
Former British Prime Minister Theresa May said: “I applaud the work of Walk Free, which has done so much to highlight the truly shocking spread of modern slavery around the world.” This year’s Global Slavery Index shows that today 50 million people are in living in slavery, an increase of 10 million in the last five years.
“That means 50 million people who cannot call their lives their own. 50 million people are trapped in forced labour, sex trafficking and child exploitation. It’s a number that should shame us all and why there is an urgent need to strengthen international cooperation to put an end to this horrible crime.
“Walk Free’s work, as well as research commissioned by Theresa May’s office, has highlighted the need for a global commission on modern slavery and human trafficking so that we can bring much-needed political momentum to this issue.
“The UK Government has recently announced its support for the Commission – and has called on other governments to support it – and we are working together to bring the Commission into being in the coming months.”
https://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/europe-theresa-may-uk-government-eritrea-north-korea-b1083415.html 122,000 victims of modern slavery in Britain, says human rights organization