Traffickers Seen Targeting Homeless People In Britain

by Clementine Ovenstone

Homeless people were involved in 276 cases of modern slavery reported to the Modern Slavery Helpline since the dedicated hotline was set up in October 2016 by Unseen

Homeless people are among the victims in 7% of all reported modern slavery cases in Britain, according to research by the anti-slavery charity Unseen released on Friday.

Unseen said traffickers were “purposefully targeting homeless people for exploitation”, including making them commit crimes, most commonly through forced begging.

Syrian refugee and education activist Muzoon Almellehan visits a classroom at a school in Bol, Lake Region, Chad. There are 500 displaced children attending the school of 800 students and only eight teachers, causing strain on an already weak education system in Chad. Photo: UNICEF/Sokhin
Photo: UNICEF/Sokhin

Homeless people were involved in 276 cases of modern slavery reported to the Modern Slavery Helpline since the dedicated hotline was set up in October 2016 by Unseen, the charity found.

Labour abuse was the main form of exploitation, accounting for 54 percent of cases and three-quarters of victims recorded by the hotline, which receives calls from the public, police, activists, healthcare professionals and modern slaves directly.

“Traffickers often gain people’s trust at soup kitchens and drop ins and trick them into slavery through false stories of success and money,” said Andrew Smith, chief executive of the charity Hull Homelessness.

Britain is home to at least 136,000 modern slaves, according to the Global Slavery Index by rights group Walk Free Foundation – a figure 10 times higher than a government estimate from 2013.

The manager of the Modern Slavery Helpline Rachel Harper said common recruitment tactics included targeting various vulnerabilities such as poverty, substance dependencies and language barriers.

The study also showed a high number of people escape from modern slavery only to find themselves homeless.

More than 350 of the potential victims in cases reported to the hotline between October 2016 and April 2019 were homeless either before, during or after they escaped captivity, it found.

Source: news.trust.org

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