The Struggle Against Slavery in 21st-Century Walese

Slavery, including child slavery, exists across Wales. The Welsh Government Anti-Slavery Co-ordinator, Stephen Chapman, explains how we have an important role to play in making Wales hostile to this heinous crime.

Slavery is a serious crime, and until recently in Wales was a ‘hidden’ one which was under-reported. However, the high-profile media reporting of slavery cases in Wales has focused the attention of the public, and recorded incidents of slavery to the UK-wide National Referral Mechanism (NRM) continue to increase each year. In 2015 NRM referrals from Wales increased to 134, this represents a 91.4% increase on 2014. The referrals were made up of 108 adults and 26 children. These referrals involved cases of exploitation having taken place in both our cities and rural areas.

In Wales, labour exploitation is currently the most prevalent type of slavery reported, with incidents of other forms of exploitation also being reported. The categories of slavery include the following:

  • labour exploitation
  • domestic servitude
  • sexual exploitation
  • criminal exploitation
  • human tissue/organ harvesting.

Cases of labour exploitation include where people have been forced to work on farms, in factories, nail bars, fast food outlets, restaurants and car washers. In 2015 the 26 referrals of children included cases of labour exploitation, domestic servitude and sexual exploitation. The cost of slavery is high, for individuals involved and for public services.

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