Police care for victims of slavery can be excellent, but there isn’t always the same focus on disrupting human supply chains, according to a new report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services.
The report, “Stolen freedom: the policing response to modern slavery and human trafficking”, which analyses how police in England and Wales are tackling modern slavery and human trafficking crimes, found that there were also significant failings in the ability of the police identify victims of modern slavery and human trafficking, or to take appropriate steps in relation to those who were, or should have been, identified as victims.
The report said: “We also found some evidence that those forces which respond to modern slavery and human trafficking through their serious organised crime structures and partnership arrangements often dealt better with this type of offence.
“They used a wide range of investigative tools and techniques (such as covert surveillance) to dismantle the criminal networks which were facilitating modern slavery and human trafficking, as well as ensuring victims are safeguarded. When forces responded through their protecting vulnerable people structures, care for victims could be excellent, but there was not always the same focus on disrupting human supply chains and preventing the creation of future victims by dismantling the networks.”
Responding to the findings of the report, Michael Harris, director of financial crime compliance at LexisNexis Risk Solutions said: “Catching slavers is not just a job for law enforcement. Fundamentally, modern slavery and human trafficking are becoming private sector challenges. Slavers operate in the hidden corners of the corporate world, camouflaged in the supply chain. Shining a light on these bad actors requires controls to be robust and effective – not just reported on annually.”