A ground-breaking new report commissioned by Oxford City Council reveals that modern slavery in Oxford may be 200 per cent higher than the level of cases reported to the police.

Modern slavery includes the crimes of sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, forced labour, forced criminality and organ harvesting.

The report brought together data from partners across the public and voluntary sector.

The nature of the coercive control means victims are often themselves unaware of the true nature of their exploitation and victims can also be too scared of consequences to report their abuse to police.

READ ALSO: Tributes paid to Keith Green after man found dead in Banbury

The council has recently appointed Nicola Bell as its first Anti-Slavery Coordinator to manage ‘disruption’ activities in Oxford and across the county, coordinating campaigns, victim support, multi-agency operations and taking forward the recommendations from the report in partnership.

She will co-chair the Oxfordshire Anti-Slavery Network alongside Tom Hayes, chief executive of Elmore Community Services, which delivered the report.

Many different organisations may come into contact with a potential victim of modern slavery.

The city council and police have set up Hotel Watch, which trains hoteliers in how to spot the signs of exploitation and taxi drivers are all provided with safeguarding training to help them identify people who are vulnerable and take appropriate action.

Councillor Louise Upton, Cabinet Member for a Safer, Healthier Oxford, said: “It may come as a surprise to people, but many of the victims of modern slavery and exploitation in Oxford, and across the UK, are British nationals.

“These are complex and brutal crimes that completely take away a person’s sense of self and leave them with lifelong trauma. The chains put on people are often psychological rather than physical and that can make it hard for other people to understand why an enslaved person doesn’t just leave.

“Oxford City Council is committed to tackling modern slavery in the city by raising awareness of the issue and helping people to spot the signs. It’s very likely people have come in to contact with victims but have not recognised them as being enslaved. We need that to change. We need everyone to recognise it when they see it, and report it.”

Tom Hayes added: “Slavery isn’t something that happens in some faraway country, it’s happening right here. Slavery doesn't belong to some distant past, it’s happening right now.

READ ALSO: People living in Oxford angry Paul Robson was free from prison

"As this ground-breaking new research by Elmore Community Services shows, slavery may be happening in far greater numbers than we thought. Indeed, previous figures may just have been the tip of the iceberg. Modern slavery has many faces, and they can all be seen in this report commissioned by Oxford City Council."

“As a co-chair of the Oxfordshire Anti-Slavery Network, Elmore is passionate about playing our role in the multi-agency response, building on our years of innovating and delivering an Independent Trauma Advisory Service to support survivors of exploitation and modern slavery across Oxfordshire. Together, we can implement the recommendations of this report and spot the signs of modern slavery, stop it, and drive it from Oxford.”

An Action Plan will be now be implemented to ensure the report’s recommendations are brought into effect.

The Oxfordshire Anti-Slavery Network, in partnership with the council, is hosting a Modern Slavery Summit on Friday February 18 at Oxford Town Hall to discuss the context of modern slavery in Oxfordshire.