Over Christmas, we supported Maria* as she travelled home to Romania to give evidence against the traffickers who had taken her to the UK and forced her into sexual exploitation. With help from our UK Victim Navigators and our new office in Romania, Maria bravely testified against her exploiters. Her vital evidence has now led to charges against those suspected of enslaving her, with one arrested and two others under judicial supervision.
Our award-winning Navigator Programme, launched in 2018, has proven critical in bridging the gap between victims of slavery and the criminal justice system. This year, the programme will double in size.
The Justice and Care specialist team of Navigators, embedded in police and border forces across the UK, is at the heart of our strategic plan for breaking the grip of slavery. Due to its continuing success, we are currently growing our team of Navigators and plan to roll out similar programmes in other countries where we work.
“This bridge is giving survivors the best possible pathway to recovery and finding their independence again.”
–Victim Navigator, Surrey Police
To date, the impact of the Navigator Programme in the UK includes 1,923 potential modern slavery cases analysed, 106 victims cared for with full support plans, 64 suspected exploiters arrested in cases supported by Navigators and 1,731 frontline professionals trained in best practice in victim identification and care.
At the start of 2021, we recruited four new Navigators, with more in the pipeline. With these additional Navigators, Justice and Care is now embedded in police and border forces spanning the country, including our newest partnership with the Met Police and the appointment of a specialist Child Victim Navigator for Essex Police.
“It is a privilege to be able to support victims to rebuild their lives.”
– Victim Navigator, Metropolitan Police
Once all the team are in place, we expect that between them they will help review more than 7,500 potential slavery cases a year, support 335 victims and help arrest more than 200 traffickers.
The challenges we face are huge. Last year, using a new police data analysis tool, we estimated that there could be at least 100,000 victims of slavery in the UK, with the actual number likely to be even greater. Our vision is for the UK Government to roll out the Navigator Programme to every UK police force, to transform the national response to modern slavery and see an end to this appalling crime.
We are determined to remain hopeful and are relentless in our work to break the grip of slavery and help bring freedom to victims.