National Referral Mechanism

National Referral Mechanism


The Council of Europe Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings (2005) saw the UK Government set up the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) in 2009.


The NRM is a framework for identifying victims of modern slavery and ensuring they receive appropriate support.


NRM Process


First Responder referral to a UK competent authority
Potential victims of trafficking must be referred by a first responder, to one of the two Competent Authorities (UKHTC UK Human Trafficking Centre or UKVI Home Office Immigration and Visas).


First Responders include:


Police Forces

UK Border Force

Home Office Immigration and Visas

Local Authorities


Salvation Army

Poppy Project

Migrant Help

Medaille Trust






New Pathways

Refugee Council

Specified NGO’s (see link below)


Stage one – 5 working days

The CA has 5 working days to decide whether there is reasonable grounds to believe the individual is a potential victim of modern slavery.


Stage two – 45 day period

During a 45 day period, information is gathered to ascertain whether the individual is a potential victim of modern slavery, From this a Conclusive Grounds decision will be made. The first responder and individual will be notified of the decision. What happens after depends on the individual’s wishes.


Duty to Notify


From November 2015 specific public authorities have a statutory duty to notify the secretary of State of any individual suspected as a victim of slavery in England and Wales. This duty is set out in Section 52 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015.


For more info on duty to notify see: Duty to Notify

For more detailed information on the NRM process please see: NRM

For the most recent NRM figures (April – June 2016) please see: Quarter 2 2016