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FLEX calls on the Mayor of London to prioritise the fight against labour exploitation

March 14, 2017

In December the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime produced its Draft Police and Crime Plan seeking input from stakeholders across London. The plan explains how the police, community safety partners and other criminal justice agencies will work together to reduce crime across London over the next four years. FLEX has worked to improve the London response to labour exploitation for some time and sees the plan as a real opportunity to ensure that the London policing response to trafficking for labour exploitation is brought into line with other modern slavery responses. While the current draft highlights the growing problem of human trafficking, it fails to make a firm commitment to improve labour exploitation identification and response rates.

At FLEX we know from discussions with frontline organisations that the police in London often fail to recognise victims of trafficking for labour exploitation. We also know that there are limited resources to house and support victims, leaving some victims to return to their exploiters through lack of alternative options. Therefore, the new Police and Crime Plan for London must recognise and reference modern slavery alongside other high-harm crimes, and improve specialist services for victims.

FLEX’s submission recommends the following additions to the new Police and Crime Plan:

  • Recognise modern slavery as high-harm crime.
  • Make a commitment to increase identification of cases of human trafficking and modern slavery, for all exploitation types.
  • Provide detail on how the Metropolitan Police Service will tackle human trafficking and modern slavery as an emerging issue.
  • Address the shortage of emergency housing for victims of human trafficking and modern slavery in London, in particular for adult males.
  • Ensure all Police officers are equipped to identify modern slavery, through training, on-going support and mentoring.
  • develop a pan-London strategy on modern slavery.

You can read the full FLEX submission to the Police and Crime plan here.