Symposium: Measuring Modern Slavery in the UK, Office for National Statistics Centre for Crime and Justice

4 December 2019
Research Innovation

To contribute towards achieving Target 8.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Centre for Crime and Justice is currently exploring ways of collating and producing data relevant to the measurement of modern slavery in the United Kingdom.

The hidden nature of this relatively small-scale crime in the United Kingdom makes producing an accurate prevalence measure difficult. ONS does not intend to use methods such as Multiple Systems Estimation or survey sampling to estimate prevalence directly as neither will reflect the actual extent of modern slavery in the United Kingdom. Instead, the emphasis will be on measuring or quantifying indicators and factors known to be linked to modern slavery.

These indicators will include data sources from a wide variety of organizations, such as government bodies, service providers and charities. For example, data relating to criminal proceedings of modern slavery cases in the United Kingdom will give an indication of how the criminal justice system is responding to modern slavery victims and perpetrators. Additionally, data sources showing public awareness and willingness to report modern slavery will also be important.

Monitoring known factors will help the United Kingdom measure its progress towards combating modern slavery. This approach may also be particularly relevant in other countries where the prevalence of modern slavery is low. ONS welcomes thoughts on this approach and would like to receive information about methods used in other countries with similar circumstances.

ONS plans to publish a report in Spring 2020 discussing the approach in detail and bringing together indicators to quantify modern slavery.

This article has been prepared by the Office for National Statistics’s Centre for Crime and Justice as a contributor to Delta 8.7. As provided for in the Terms and Conditions of Use of Delta 8.7, the opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of UNU or its partners.

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