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Cases of modern day slavery will increase, Home Office minister warns

Friday, 22 November 2013 08:00 // 1311
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Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme Mr Brokenshire said: "Slavery is one of those issues which people felt had been consigned to the history books. The sad reality is that it is still there.

We have seen increases year on year in the number of cases reported, and I expect that will continue to increase.

Mr Brokenshire, the MP for Old Bexley and Sidcup, said that the increase in cases did not necessarily mean that there were more slaves in the UK but instead that more of the cases were being reported and “coming to light”.

He said: “I think that's a good thing, so that we are able to really confront this appalling trade in human misery, hold those responsible to account and make sure victims are properly safeguarded."

Mr Brokenshire is taking a Slavery Bill through Parliament, which will introduce a maximum life sentence for modern-day slave-owners and create a new commissioner to drive action against the problem.

Chief Constable Sawyer said: “A slave, is a slave, is a slave, so whether it’s someone trafficked for sexual exploitation forced labour, domestic servitude it is very much the control of a human being as commodity and there is a growth in this area within the UK. That is just simply unacceptable. That’s at the heart of this.

“People who are trafficked feel very vulnerable, very untrusting and so this is not just a complex investigation but a highly complex issue.”

He added that it was up to police to be “very ruthless and clear” to offenders and traffickers that the “UK is not the place to operate.”

Detectives from the human trafficking unit said yesterday that the case of this was the worst case of modern slavery they had ever come across in Britain.

The youngest of the alleged victims, who is now 30, is thought to have spent her entire life in servitude and is thought to have been born in captivity.

The woman, who police said had no normal contact with the outside world, was rescued alongside a 57-year-old Irish woman and a 69-year-old from Malaysia. Their alleged captors are not British, the police confirmed, but provided no further details about their nationality.

The three women were never allowed outside unaccompanied and spent most of their lives confined to the property in Lambeth, south London, described by police as an “ordinary house in an ordinary street”.

The three women were discovered after the 57-year-old contacted a charity after watching a television programme about domestic slavery.

Last modified on Friday, 22 November 2013 08:00
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