Modern slavery is a big problem – it affects 40.3 million people globally and an estimated 136,000 people in the UK, according to the Global Slavery Index.
Those numbers may be shocking – but that is nothing compared to the ease with which homeless people living on British streets can fall into it.
In this week’s Big Issue magazine, we find out just that as well as what is being in done to tackle it and how Big Issue vendors are crucial “eyes and ears” of the police.
People feel that they are trapped in these circumstances and find it very difficult to leave because pay day becomes about hope. They are living in hope of that
National Crime Agency Tactical Advisor Sian Turner lifted the lid on how homeless people are approached and, before they know it, can find themselves trapped in a murky world of hard labour, pain and living in squalor and fear.
“What happens is that the men in the family go to places where vulnerable people gather, such as a homeless shelter or hostel, and they will turn up in their white vans and offer employment, typically £50 a day, as well as accommodation,” says Turner.
“It is as simple as that. From there, they are driven in the back of the van to a site and it is from there that the grooming process begins.