Raising awareness of the 'horrific' crime of slavery
The Minister for Local Government, Lesley Griffiths, told the Communities Committee on 13 March that she is determined to raise awareness of the "horrific" crime of slavery.
She said that she recognised that there is a "paucity" of evidence, and that the need for a robust evidence base has been recognised and prioritised in Wales.
The current figure of 50 referrals recorded in 2013 by the UK Human Trafficking Centre National Referral Mechanism (NRM) data is thought to significantly underestimate the scale of the problem in Wales.
However, she explained that the 2013 data represents a 47% increase from 34 referrals in 2012 which is "likely to be attributed to better awareness raising and the police becoming more pro-active in their investigations into slavery".
The minister said that the Welsh Government‟s anti-slavery webpage has been reviewed and updated and received 2.000 "hits" in February.
The Labour member Mike Hedges welcomed the change in the terminology from 'human trafficking', which he described as 'mildly cuddly', to 'slavery' as he agreed with the minister that it is better understood by the public.
Those who traffic are referred to, quite simply, as criminals.
Earlier in the committee, during a discussion on public libraries, the Minister for Culture John Griffiths said that he expects local authorities to consult fully with their communities and conduct impact assessments of any changes to current provision.
According to Mr Griffiths, "the people of Wales fought hard to establish a free library service, and we must ensure that those values continue to underpin the library service of the future".