Modern day slavery

Find out information about what modern day slavery is, how to spot it, and see our modern day slavery statement.

What is modern day slavery?

Modern slavery crimes are being committed across the UK, taking place in factories, fields, brothels and even in homes. There is no typical victim of slavery – victims can be men, women or children of all ages and nationalities.

Someone is in slavery if they are forced to work; owned or controlled by an 'employer'; dehumanised; treated as a commodity or property; or have restrictions placed on their freedom of movement.

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

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 states that:

"No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms"

If you suspect someone is a victim of modern slavery, there are a number of agencies you can call:

In addition, there are a number of apps which can be downloaded onto a smart phone to collate information about suspected modern day slavery:

The Safe Car Wash app  is designed to be used by someone going to get their car washed. Download the free app onto your smartphone. When you are using a hand car wash, simply open the app and complete a short survey about the working conditions of the car wash. The app will then ask a series of questions and use the answers to assess the likelihood of the modern slavery being present. The user is then provided with information about how to log their concerns and the data gathered is collated centrally to be assessed by law enforcement investigating modern slavery.

Unseen app  provides information about the possible signs of modern day slavery and includes a contact form for reporting yours suspicions or to get support. The app can be found by searching ‘unseen’ in your app store.

Possible signs of modern day slavery

Below are some signs you should look out for:

Isolation and restricted movements

Victims are not free to leave their houses or workplaces as they please and others may speak for them. They may be transported to and from work or be unsure of their own address. They may also be transported at unusual times and have other people purchase travel tickets for them.

Poor physical appearance

Victims may show signs of physical or psychological abuse, look malnourished or unkempt, or appear withdrawn and neglected. They may have untreated injuries. They may wear the same clothes for a number of days and workers may wear inappropriate clothing for their job.

Avoiding eye contact and wary of talking to strangers or the authorities

Victims are controlled and this can include through threats of violence to themselves or family members and they may, therefore, be reluctant to seek help and appear anxious and afraid. If they do speak, they may be inconsistent in the information they provide, including basic facts such as the address where they live. Children may not always demonstrate outward signs of distress and may have a 'bond' with those exploiting them and have been groomed to not disclose their abuse – however, they are likely to be very scared and traumatised.

A lack of personal belongings

Victims may have no identification documents, such as passport and driving licence and they may have few personal possessions and always wear the same clothes day in, day out. They may also not have appropriate clothing or equipment for the job they do, for example, lack or warm clothing or protective equipment.

Poor accommodation

Victims may be housed in over-crowded and badly cared for properties. There may be large numbers of people visiting the address and an increase in anti-social behaviour.

You can find more information about modern slavery, the signs and how to report it on these websites:

Modern day slavery statement

Modern slavery takes many different forms but in the UK these fall into four main categories:

  • Sexual exploitation
  • Labour exploitation
  • Domestic servitude
  • Criminal exploitation

Slavery is not an issue confined to history or happening elsewhere. It is something which happens today and is happening in Staffordshire.

Modern slavery is a crime that can happen anywhere but it is often hidden. You could come into contact with a victim of slavery without even realising it. We can all play a role in ending this terrible crime by being vigilant, particularly when goods or services appear to be very cheap. Those cheap prices might be an indicator of slave labour.

Modern slavery is where one person uses control to force another into a service against their will - usually forced work or prostitution. The control can be physical, financial or psychological. Human trafficking is a form of slavery where victims are transported with the aim of exploiting them.

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. Some cases involve UK-born people being trafficked within the UK from one town to another.

It can affect anyone, however slavery most commonly targets people and communities who are vulnerable and within minority or socially excluded groups. Approximately two-thirds of victims are women, and a third are men. Every fourth victim of modern slavery is a child.

There are an estimated 13,000 people in slavery in the UK today. Slavery’s hidden nature means actual numbers are likely to be much higher.

The Modern Slavery Act 2015 consolidated existing slavery and trafficking offences, and introduced other measures aimed at tackling slavery and ensuring perpetrators receive suitable severe punishment and victims are better protected and supported.

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