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Forced labour and human trafficking: media coverage in 2012

Emily Dugan

27 June 2013

Does media reporting of forced labour reflect reality?

The press identified significantly fewer victims of forced labour than the official figures.

This analysis of media coverage of forced labour in 2012 gives insight into how many victims of forced labour there are in the UK and shows trends in human trafficking and forced labour.

  • Analysis of 2,770 media articles captured by LexisNexis in 2012 found 263 victims of forced labour and human trafficking were identified by the UK media in Britain last year.
  • The press identified significantly fewer victims than the official figures. The United Kingdom Human Trafficking Centre (UKHTC) found 1,186 potential victims of forced labour and trafficking in 2012.
  • Gaps in newspaper reporting often reflect gaps in law enforcement; the sources of articles are often court cases or tip-offs from the police or other officials.

This paper analyses 2,770 articles captured by LexisNexis in 2012 (Excel, 2.5MB )

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