Victims of modern slavery are finally receiving the help they desperately need. The Salvation Army revealed that an alarming number of people trafficked into the UK for sexual exploitation, domestic servitude and forced labor, have been referred to them for support. Cannabis grow slaves are one of the most common types of forced laborers in the UK.
Modern Slavery in the UK
According to the Salvation Army, 5,868 clients have received their support in the last six years. That represents a 300 percent increase in the number of modern slavery victims being referred.
In the last year alone 1,554 people have entered the Adult Victims of Modern Slavery Care and Co-ordination Services. Counting the clients already receiving support, there are 2,589 victims receiving aid since the start of the year.
During the program’s sixth year, two-third of victims being supported by the Salvation Army are women. One-third are men, and there have been three transgender clients in the past year. Forty-eight percent of victims have been trafficked for prostitution or sexual exploitation. Thirty-nine percent are trafficked for labor exploitation, and 13 percent are brought for domestic servitude.
Cannabis Grow Slaves
For the first time, the highest number of male clients seeking support are from Vietnam. Many of them were forced to work on cannabis farms across the UK.
One victim was trafficked at the age of 16. After his mother sold their home in Vietnam, she paid £10,000 for him to be smuggled into the UK to join his father.
The victim is known as T. His first stop was a cannabis farm that was set up in an apartment above a shop in England.
According to the Salvation Army, T was “made to work long hours in unbearable heat with no pay and only occasional food brought every couple of days by a man who would leave again and lock the door behind him after just a few minutes.”
After a police raid, T was referred but ran back to his traffickers in hopes of being reunited with his father. Instead, he was put back to work setting up cannabis farms across the UK for several more years.
T was later forced into prostitution because his traffickers claimed his debts surpassed £100,000. He was beaten and told his parents would be harmed when he tried to run away.
“T was forced to go from one small hotel to another, sleeping with both men and women and receiving no more than £100 a month,” the Salvation Army stated.
T was brought to the Salvation Army again, after being arrested at another cannabis farm, where they sent him to an immigration detention center.
The information we have is only on victims that have been referred. There are still cannabis grow slaves and many other modern slavery victims receiving no help. Fortunately, the UK is doubling the amount of spending on modern slavery to £150m.