Almost 50 victims of human trafficking are discovered in the UK each week, Government figures have shown, as police continue to investigate two separate cases of people smuggling.
Figures recorded by the National Crime Agency (NCA) show that 566 potential cases of trafficking were identified by police forces, local authorities, charities and Home Office officials across the UK in the first three months of this year.
According to a NCA report the most common reason for an adult being trafficked was sexual exploitation but there were also many cases of people being transported as cheap labour or into domestic servitude.
One case of a person being trafficked for organ harvesting was also detected during that period.
Recent cases - including the death of a man and discovery of 34 other immigrants in a shipping container at Tilbury Docks, Essex, and the rescue of 15 immigrants in Somerset - have highlighted the issue of trafficking. Two men have been arrested over the Tilbury death.
Last year 1,746 potential trafficking victims were found in the UK - an increase of 47 per cent on the previous 12 months.
A Home Office spokesman would not comment on the figures because of the ongoing high-profile investigations.
But Nick Alston, police and crime commissioner for Essex, said the Tilbury case had highlighted the “evil of the abuse and exploitation of vulnerable people”.
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