Home Office statistics for the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) for the Quarter 1 of 2021 saw 2,945 potential victims of modern slavery referred to the Home Office, which is a 3% decrease compared to the preceding quarter (3,041) and but a 3% increase from Quarter 1 in 2020 (2,862). The most common nationalities referred this quarter were UK, Albanian and Vietnamese 

During the Quarter, the Single Competent Authority (SCA) made 2,922 reasonable grounds and 406 conclusive grounds decisions in this quarter. Of these, 91% of reasonable grounds and 84% of conclusive grounds decisions were positive.  

49% (1,431) of referrals were for potential victims who claimed exploitation as adults, with labour exploitation being most commonly reported (27%; 383); whereas 45% (1,330) claimed exploitation as children for which criminal exploitation (52%; 690) as most commonly reports.  

Despite the ongoing restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and a decrease in adult referrals since the previous quarter, Quarter 1 2021 saw the third-highest number of quarterly referrals to the NRM since it began. However, Covid-19 continues to impact NRM referrals as there is a sharp drop in referrals for overseas exploitation.  64% (1,897) of potential victims claimed exploitation in the UK only, compared to 57% in the last quarter, whilst 23% (691) claimed exploitation overseas only.