Quick Exit

Modern slavery

Modern slavery includes: 

  • slavery
  • human trafficking and sexual exploitation
  • forced labour and domestic servitude.

Traffickers and slave masters use whatever means they have at their disposal to coerce, deceive and force individuals into a life of abuse, servitude and inhumane treatment.

What is Slavery? +

Modern Slavery is a largely covert crime and victims tend to be controlled and hidden away.

Slavery is when someone is: 

  • Forced to work through mental or physical threat
  • Owned or controlled by an ’employer’, usually through mental, physical or sexual abuse, or the threat of abuse
  • Dehumanised, treated as a commodity, or bought and sold as property or for the purposes of sexual exploitation
  • Physically constrained or has restrictions on his or her freedom of movement.

Slavery is not confined to history or a problem that only exists in certain countries – it is something that is happening today in the UK.  It is a growing issue, affecting men, women and children.

What is Human Trafficking? +

Human trafficking involves recruiting, transporting, transferring, harbouring or receiving a person through a use of force, coercion or other means, for the purpose of exploiting them. A common misconception is that victims are transported from another country into the UK, however people can still be trafficked from one Town to another within the UK even room to room.

It takes various forms and affects people of all ages, gender and races, with many victims targeted because of existing vulnerabilities including, learning disability, mental health problems and homelessness.

Poverty, limited opportunities, lack of education, unstable social and political conditions, economic imbalances and war are key driving forces that contribute to the trafficking of victims into, through and across the UK.

What is Sex Trafficking? +

Sex trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons who are under threat through force, coercion, fraud, deception or abuse of power and are sexually exploited for the financial gain of another.

What is Forced Labour? +

Forced labour is any work or service which people are forced to do against their will, under threat of punishment.

It is most often found in industries with a lot of workers and little regulation such as: 

  • Agriculture and fishing
  • Domestic work
  • Construction, mining, quarrying and brick kilns
  • Manufacturing, processing and packaging
  • Prostitution and sexual exploitation
  • Market trading and illegal activities

What is Domestic Servitude? +

Domestic Servitude is a specific type of forced labour and takes place in a private establishment. People may be promised employment and instead find themselves trapped in someone’s home with little or no money and coerced into staying for fear of punishment to themselves or their family.

Signs of abuse +

  • Physical appearance – victims may show signs of physical or psychological abuse, look malnourished or unkempt, or appear withdrawn, scared or frightened.
  • Isolation – victims may rarely be allowed to travel on their own, rarely interact or appear unfamiliar with their neighbourhood or where they work.
  • An unknown person may appear to be monitoring the movements of a worker or appears to be controlling them in some way. This may include the worker being collected and dropped off at work each day.
  • Poor living conditions – victims may be living in a dirty, cramped or overcrowded accommodation, and/or living and working at the same address.
  • Few or no personal effects – victims may have no identification documents (including access to their passport, which may be being held by someone else), have few personal possessions and always wear the same clothes day in, day out. What clothes they do wear may not be suitable for the work they are doing and may not be appropriate for the season/weather.
  • The person may not have been provided with the appropriate personal protective equipment linked to the work they are doing, for example, safety gloves, goggles or boots.
  • Reluctance to seek help – victims may avoid eye contact, appear frightened or hesitant to talk to strangers and fear law enforcers for many reasons, such as not knowing who to trust or where to get help, fear of deportment, fear of violence to them or their family.
  • The adult has old or serious untreated injuries, and they are vague, reluctant or inconsistent in explaining how the injury occurred.
  • they are inconsistent in the information they provide, including basic facts such as the address where they live
  • They rarely interact or appear unfamiliar with their neighbourhood or where they work. Many victims will not be able to speak English
  • The adult perceives themselves to be in debt to someone else or in a situation of dependence
  • Outside the property- there are bars covering the windows of the property or they are permanently covered on the inside. Curtains are always drawn.  Windows have reflective film or coatings applied to them.  The entrance to the property has CCTV cameras installed.  The letterbox is sealed to prevent use.  There are signs the electricity may have been tacked on from neighbouring properties or directly from power lines.
  • Inside the property- access to the back rooms of the property is restricted or doors are locked. The property is overcrowded and in poor repair

Reporting Concerns +

If a professional becomes concerned that an individual is being exploited or is at risk of exploitation, then they should act immediately. Raise the issue with your line manager and they will be able to provide you with some advice regarding your own agency’s/service’s procedures in this area.

If you believe the alleged victim to be a child, you should make an immediate safeguarding referral to Children’s Social Care Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH). If in any doubt about age you should always treat the victim as a child if there is any reason to think the victim might be under 18 years of age.

If the alleged victim is an adult with care and support needs, you should report the abuse to the First response Team or to the Police– they will make a referral through the National Referral Mechanism (NRM).

There is a duty on public authorities to notify the Home Office where modern slavery is encountered

Report modern slavery

Support +

If you think you are a victim of Modern slavery you can call the modern slavery helpline on 0800 0121 700 and talk through your concerns or visit: http://www.modernslaveryhelpline.org/

If you think you’ve identified a trafficker or illegal gangmaster call the police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.

The Salvation Army provides specialist support for adult victims of Modern Slavery. Their confidential referral helpline 0800 808 3733 is available 24/7.

You can also download the Unseen App to report slavery:

Modern Slavery Unseen              

Resources and further information

The Home Office Modern Slavery documents and promotional material related to the government’s work to end modern slavery and can be accessed on their website at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/modern-slavery 

Modern Slavery Strategy 2014 HM Government – Outlines Government Response to Modern Slavery 

Victims of Modern Slavery – Frontline staff Guidance from the Home Office 

Caring for Trafficked Persons: Guidance for Health providers – Useful document for all agencies to understand health impacts of trafficking and how to work with trafficked and traumatised individuals. 

Care of unaccompanied migrant children and child victims of modern slavery -Statutory guidance for local authorities 

Stronger Together - Provides free of charge toolkits for employers in relation to tackling modern slavery, video clips that organisations can use in induction training. 

Modern Slavery Youtube 2      Modern Slavery Youtube 3

Modern Slavery Closer than you think - free briefings, infographics and posters for the environment in a range of languages

Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) has produced a range of videos on how to spot the signs of modern slavery, methods used by traffickers to exploit their victims, and victims accounts

The Independent Anti Slavery Commissioner (IASC) has produced a range of videos by sector on spotting the signs of modern slavery, which may be informative for any public sector worker

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/modern-slavery-industry-factsheets - factsheets and posters that are industry specific 

Modern Slavery - An overview from the Salvation Army  

The Modern Slavery Police Transformation Unit (MSPTU) have produced 3 informative posters: 

There is no one type of Modern Slavery
There is no one type of Modern Slavery Offender
There is no one type of Modern Slavery Victim

Legislation +

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2015/30/contents/enacted  - UK legislation, allows you to see individual sections of the Modern Slavery Act 2015

Strategy +

Partners in Cheshire have worked together to develop a Pan Cheshire Modern Slavery Strategy which will underpin the collaborative approach to addressing this growing crime over the next two years. The strategy is a joint initiative between partners from the Local Safeguarding Children partnerships and Local Safeguarding Adult Boards in Cheshire.

Cheshire Anti-Slavery Network Pledge

Training opportunities +

Government resources provide basic awareness raising materials at www.gov.uk/modern-slavery-training-resource-page

E-learning: +

ECPAT UK has produced a 2 to 3 hour in depth e-learning package that covers both adult and child trafficking, and is suitable for any public sector organisation. The package can be accessed for a fee at www.virtual-college.co.uk

If you are an Independent Advocate for children and young people, or a Border Force Safeguarding and Modern Slavery Officer, you can access this training for free. Please contact childtrafficking@homeoffice.gov.uk to access this training free of charge.

Please note: Warrington Safeguarding Partnership/Warrington Safeguarding Adults Board is not responsible for the content of external websites or training courses