There are an estimated 11,700 people living in modern slavery in the United Kingdom. It remains a destination for men, women and children from countries across the world including Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe, often seeking opportunities for a better livelihood. The latest government statistics derived from the UK National Referral Mechanism in 2014 reveal 2,340 potential victims of trafficking from 96 countries of origin, of whom 61 percent were female and 29 percent were children. Of those identified through the NRM, the majority were adults classified as victims of sexual exploitation followed by adults exploited in the domestic service sector and other types of labour exploitation. The largest proportion of victims was from Albania, followed by Nigeria, Vietnam, Romania and Slovakia. In 2005 Ope met a man offering to help her leave her life in Nigeria and find employment and a better life abroad. Promised work as a nanny or in a factory, Ope was taken by boat to Tenerife and then flown to mainland Spain where her trafficker was waiting for her at the airport. It was then that she found out she had been trafficked in to prostitution. After being physically and sexually abused in Spain, Ope was later trafficked again to the UK where the abuse continued. Ope was finally able to escape one day when she used money and ID from a wallet found at a market to get a bus to Kings Cross station in London.
The fall of communism in 1991 led to a rise in organized crime in Albania: in 2001 it was estimated 100,000 Albanian women and girls had been trafficked to Western European and other Balkan countries in the preceding ten years. More than 65 percent of Albanian sex-trafficking victims are minors at the time they are trafficked, and at least 50 percent of victims leave home under the false impression that they will be married or engaged to an Albanian or foreigner and live abroad. Another ten percent are kidnapped or forced into prostitution. The women and girls receive little or no pay for their work, and are commonly tortured if they do not comply.Born in Albania, Miranda was trafficked into Belgium, where by some estimates Albanian girls aged 14 and 15 make up nearly half of the foreign women forced into prostitution. Many women are trafficked into richer Western European countries from the poorer Eastern countries, including Albania.