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Pursuing and Preventing Modern Slavery

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This Tuesday the 18th October is Anti Modern Slavery Day. It's an opportunity to draw attention to the fact that modern slavery is prevalent, and that Law Enforcement and the Home Office need support in tackling the problem.

Around 21 million men, women and children exist in a form of slavery today around the world. In the UK, it is hard to measure, but estimates have been made around the 13,000 mark. This would include people who are being held as slaves in the form of forced labour, sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, and forced criminal activity.

The government recently passed the Modern Slavery Act, and announced a £33m budget to aid the prevention of Modern Slavery. 

We see six key challenges for law enforcement:

  1. Tracking modern slavery intelligence
  2. Identify the victims
  3. Identify the perpetrators
  4. Prevent modern slavery
  5. Analyse intelligence from multiple, disparate sources
  6. Reduce the cost of Modern Slavery interventions

As technology experts, we see an opportunity for technology to hold a key role in pursuing the perpetrators and preventing Modern Slavery. It's ambitious, but our work on the Troubled Families project taught us that bringing together disparate data sources into one intelligence hub can shine a light on the darkest corners. Technology can make connections that instigate intervention.

This Modern Problem

Today, Modern Slavery intelligence is collected from a variety of sources. These could be whistleblowers, local authorities, police, etc. but equally there are other sources that can be used: DWP (Department for Work & Pensions) data, Revenue & Benefits, Charities, Landlord data, etc.

Most of this information is held on spreadsheets. Spreadsheets are then amalgamated into one spreadsheet, which is obviously not ideal as it's hard to cross-check across different tabs and make connections, especially if the data formatting differs slightly from source to source.

A centralised 'hub' of intelligence

To cut out this work, our Modern Slavery solution uses IBM iBase as the central intelligence hub, with IBM Analyst's Notebook the solution that sits on top, allowing analysts to dive into the data and make educated decisions from integrated data.

The tools used to deliver the Modern Slavery Hub are actually already available to every law enforcement agency in the UK. The solution promotes the standardisation of intelligence capture and reporting.

More than that, it helps track and understand complex networks relating to slavery, reporting with dashboards so that users can plan strategic assessments. Seemingly unrelated pieces of evidence can be brought together to help law enforcement join up the dots.

Within the solution, analysts can pinpoint critical 'nodes' within networks, and the roles they play. This bringing together of different data sources brings to life real-world interactions and can help officers intervene more quickly and efficiently.


Delivering in the real world

Modern Slavery is real, and is far more prevalent than many think. That's why we fully support Anti Modern Slavery Day this Tuesday the 18th October.

We believe that our system can contribute to the Pursue and Prevent policies of law enforcement agencies by using existing technology to bring different data sources together, and therefore cut the amount of time spent administrating.

By saving that time, and by automating much to the tedious data work, officers can focus their time and efforts in more valuable areas - helping more people.


Ali Bahzad