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Region sees biggest rise in people identified as modern slavery victims

More than 100 adults victims of modern slavery were referred to the Salvation Army for specialist support  Photo: GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO

More than 100 adults victims of modern slavery were referred to the Salvation Army for specialist support Photo: GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO

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The number of people identified as victims of modern slavery has more than doubled in the region over the course of a year.

Across the East of England, 101 people were referred to The Salvation Army’s specialist support service, a report revealed.

The number increased by 130% from the previous year, when 44 people were referred the biggest regional increase in the UK.

The charity has managed the delivery of specialist support to adult victims of modern slavery since July 2011.

Across the country, 1,856 people were referred to the service – up 19%.

The number of British victims almost doubled, with 86 referred between July 2017 and June 2018.

Three British victims were referred from the East of England and many were drug addicts, forced into dealing by traffickers.

The majority of victims were female (1,064) mainly trafficked from Albania (308) and Nigeria (111), while the highest number of men were trafficked from Vietnam (130), followed by Romania (123), where there was a 173% increase on the previous year.

Most were trafficked for labour exploitation (45%) or sexual exploitation (42%), with the rest trafficked for domestic servitude.

Director of anti-trafficking and modern slavery for The Salvation Army, Kathy Betteridge said: “The increase in the number of British victims referred in the past year is significant. Many are being forced into criminality and exploited because of their vulnerabilities.

“We have supported people from 86 different countries and every story is different.

“What is important, is that anyone in this situation right now needs to know we are here to help, and support is available to keep them safe and help them move on with their lives.

“Our dedicated referral line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and we strongly urge anyone who sees something which doesn’t look right; a person who seems to be in a situation against their will or without autonomy, to please report it.

“This is a crime that is happening right across the country and we all need to play a part in supporting victims and bringing it to an end.”

Victims trafficked to or within England and Wales are referred to The Salvation Army’s support service through a dedicated referral line, 0300 303 8151, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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