Worrying report by Salavation Army
A new report says the coronavirus pandemic could lead to a rise in people trafficking.
The Salvation Army has released a report for Anti Slavery Day 2021 which says the number of people rescued from modern slavery after being forced into crime rose by 62% in the last 12 months.
The rise saw 90 more beds open in safe houses in the first six months of 2021.
One woman in a safe house said she was rescued with the help of a bus driver.
Kathy Betteridge, director of anti-trafficking and modern slavery for The Salvation Army, said: "The perpetrators often target the most vulnerable in our society: those in poverty, people who are homeless, those with mental health problems and those with addictions.
"And we fear that the economic fallout from the pandemic will put even more people at risk of falling prey to modern slavery."
She added that despite the number rescued this year, "many more" are "still trapped in slavery, unable to escape".
The charity manages the government's specialist support service for survivors of modern slavery. It runs a referral line for those needing somewhere to stay immediately having escaped from where they were being held.
A Home Office spokesperson said: "Human trafficking has absolutely no place in our society and we are committed to stamping out this abhorrent crime whilst ensuring victims are protected and offenders prosecuted.
"The UK has led the world in protecting victims of modern slavery and through the Modern Slavery Victim Care Contract, delivered by the Salvation Army, we provide specialist support to help people rebuild their lives."