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Modern slavery

Modern slavery can include people trafficking and forced labour as well as:

  • child trafficking – under 18s moved into and around the UK to exploit them for work, prostitution or sexual abuse
  • domestic servitude – forcing people to work, usually in private households, doing chores and childcare duties, often working long hours for little or no pay while having their freedom restricted
  • criminal exploitation – making people commit crimes, such as pick-pocketing, shoplifting, growing cannabis and drug trafficking

Other forms of modern slavery include organ removal, forced begging, early and forced marriage and illegal adoption.

Signs of slavery and exploitation are often hidden. Victims can be any age, gender, ethnicity or nationality.

It’s estimated there are more than 10,000 potential victims of modern slavery in the UK, and many of these are children.  Public organisations such as police forces and councils now have a duty to inform the Home Office if they think someone is a victim of modern slavery.

Spotting modern slavery

Modern slavery can often be spotted because the people involved can:

  • include unrelated adults living at a single address
  • be seen being collected very early in the morning or returning late at night
  • show signs of injury, malnourishment and a general untidy appearance
  • be isolated from the rest of the community
  • live and work at the same address in poor conditions
  • be kept in houses where there are large numbers of male visitors
  • often not know their own address
  • often not produce documents, like a passport
  • often seem anxious and fearful, especially in the presence of a someone they refer to as a friend or interpreter who appears to control their answers

You should report anything that looks suspicious.

Reporting modern slavery

If you see something suspicious, no matter how small, you can:

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