The Home Office has released its National Referral Mechanism (‘NRM’) and Duty to Notify (‘DtN’) statistics for October to December 2023 (quarter 4) and a year end summary for 2023. The NRM identifies and refers potential victims of modern slavery to receive support. DtN referrals refer to instances where adults do not consent to enter the NRM.

In quarter 4 of 2023, 4,142 potential victims of modern slavery were referred to the Home Office, a similar number to the previous quarter (4,131) and a 6% decrease from the same quarter in 2022 (4,413).

The most common nationality referred in the quarter were UK nationals (27%; 1,139). Albanian nationals were the second most commonly referred with 802 referrals (19%), with Vietnamese nationals third with 268 referrals (6%).

Of the 4,142 potential victims referred, 48% (1978) were potential victims who claimed to have been exploited when they were adults, whilst 47% (1,945) claimed to have been exploited when they were children. Of these, 75% (3,097) were male and 25% (1,041) were female.

Regarding the type of exploitation most commonly seen amongst referrals, the highest proportion of referrals were for criminal exploitation only (28%; 1,172). For adult potential victims, labour exploitation was most commonly reported (34%; 680), whereas child potential victims were more commonly referred for criminal exploitation (43%; 844). Though referrals flagged as county lines partly drove the increase in referrals for children within the criminal exploitation category between 2020 to 2022 (average of over 550 referrals each quarter), in 2023, the number of referrals flagged fell to an average of around 390 each quarter.

Overall in 2023, 15,247 reasonable grounds and 9,825 conclusive grounds decision were made. Of these, 55% of RG decisions and 66% of CG decisions were positive. The number of CG decisions was the highest annual number made since the NRM began.

Southwell and Partners specialises in advice on Modern Slavery law, and representing victims and potential victims of modern slavery.

You can access the full report detailing the statistics referred to above by visiting here.