A major clampdown on people trafficking was launched today, following a police raid which found 19 women from ten different countries working in a Birmingham massage parlour.
Ministers pledged to wipe out what they called a modern-day slave trade.
Home Office Minister Paul Goggins said: "Human trafficking, often for the purpose of sexual exploitation or forced labour, is an appalling crime and amounts to modern-day slavery."
The initiative was prompted partly by a police raid on Cuddles massage parlour in Birmingham last September, which found women from countries including Moldova, Kosovo, Latvia and Albania, the Home Office said.
Two court cases relating to the raid are currently ongoing.
The Government is concerned about the rise in the number of people bought to Britain on false pretences or against their will.
Victims tend to be women or children, and are often forced to work in the sex industry.
Most come from Eastern Europe, the Balkans or Far East countries such as China or Thailand, the Government believes.
Planned measures include running publicity campaigns in the countries where traffickers operate to highlight successful prosecutions in British courts.
There will also be tougher laws aimed at British firms which employ illegal workers.
The new Serious Organised Crime Agency, Britain's version of the FBI, will lead the campaign. It is due to begin work on April 1.
There will also be more support for the victims of trafficking once they have been identified by police.
But Britain may refuse to sign up to a European convention which gives the victims of people trafficking the automatic right to stay in this country.
Instead, they will be encouraged to return home.
Tim Brain, spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers and Chief Constable of Gloucestershire Constabulary, said: "Much remains to be done in respect of scoping the size of the problem, insuring effective preventative measures are put in place, tackling demand and, most important-ly, providing the necessary support and protection for victims." The Government is also planning to introduce measures to reduce demand for prostitution generally, by targeting men who use their services.
In a consultation paper published yesterday, the Home Office admitted it did not know how many people were victims of people trafficking each year.
It said: "Currently most of our knowledge is based around the trafficking of women for sexual exploitation where there has already been some research work.
"One of the aims of developing an action plan is to increase our knowledge and understanding of other forms of trafficking, in particular trafficking for the purposes of labour exploitation."