The British anti-slavery commissioner has expressed concerns over the country’s failure to adequately probe reports of human trafficking and modern slavery across the UK.
“What’s alarming about it is that we do have people reporting to the authorities but then the [incidents] are not being properly investigated,” said Kevin Hyland during the BBC Radio 4 Today show on Saturday, underlining that the official record of victims outnumbers the instances of recorded crimes.
“The real concern that I have is that in 2015 we had 986 cases involving minors, yet the official figures show … only 928 actual crime recorded incidents. That means … potentially the cases involving minors are not being investigated properly,” Hyland emphasized.
He further added, “The fact that the number of crimes recorded hasn’t even reached the number of minors tells me that all these cases … are not being investigated properly because until they are recorded properly … we can’t be satisfied that it is, or it isn’t, a crime of modern slavery.”
The development comes as the number of potential slavery victims transferred to Britain has surged from under 1,000 cases in 2011 to more than 3,200 last year.
According to Hyland, however, government estimates suggest that the actual figure could be as high as 13,000.
The commissioner also pointed out that progress was being made in achieving convictions saying, “Last year, there were far more convictions, and this year we have already passed the amount of convictions for the whole of last year. So it is going in the right direction.”