The number of modern slavery offences recorded by police has increased by more than 50% in a year, figures reveal, as the UK government published a plan to tackle the crime in its own supply chains.
Police recorded 5,144 modern slavery offences in the year ending March 2019, data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows, a 51% rise over the previous 12 months, when 3,412 were recorded.
There were 6,985 potential victims of modern slavery referred through the UK’s national referral mechanism (NRM) in the year ending December 2018, a rise of 36% in a year, the figures show.
This coincided with a 68% increase in calls and submissions to the modern slavery helpline over the same time period.
Modern slavery can take many forms including people trafficking, forced labour, servitude and sexual exploitation.
The ONS analysed figures from the police, the Crown Prosecution Service, the modern slavery helpline, the NRM, the Salvation Army and others.