Modern slavery and victim support, House of Commons, 27 March 2019

The latest statistics from the National Crime Agency show that the number of council referrals of suspected victims of modern slavery to the National Referral Mechanism has risen from 153 in 2013 to 1342 in 2018.


Key messages

  • Modern slavery affects both rural and urban areas. It can happen on the streets we live in, in the communities we are part of, and in the businesses we use.
  • Councils have a responsibility to tackle modern slavery in their communities both as first responders to instances of modern slavery, providing services to victims, and as part of their procurement processes.
  • The latest statistics from the National Crime Agency (NCA) show that the number of council referrals of suspected victims of modern slavery to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) has risen from 153 in 2013 to 1342 in 2018.
  • The increase in council referrals suggests both an increasing awareness of modern slavery and the growing issue of county lines drug trafficking, many cases of which are included in the NRM figures.
  • The LGA and councils are engaging with the Home Office on reforms to the NRM, some of which are currently being piloted. Supporting these changes and growing numbers of victims over the longer term will require increased funding for key councils services victims may need, including housing, children’s services and social care.
  • Without increased funding, resources could become a significant barrier to being able to take forward further work on modern slavery and support victims appropriately. We estimate local authorities will face a funding gap of £8 billion by 2024/25.
  • It is vital that the Government uses the 2019 Spending Review to deliver truly sustainable funding for local government. Investing in local services is good for the overall health, wellbeing and safety of our communities.

Download the full briefing
Modern slavery and victim support, House of Commons, 27 March 2019