Modern slavery

Help free the UK from Modern slavery, report it. If it's an emergency call 999. Or, for help and advice call any time on 0800 0121 700  (free from landlines and most mobile phones). Or, you can visit the Modern Slavery website and complete the online form.

If you think slavery is happening, do not attempt to let the victim know that you have reported it or confront the traffickers. You need to ensure their safety and yours.


Modern day slavery and Devon and Cornwall Police

Modern slavery is closer than you think

What is modern slavery?

There are different kinds of modern slavery

Human trafficking: is the illegal movement of people through force, fraud or deception, with the intention of exploiting them.

Sexual exploitation: includes but is not limited to sexual exploitation and sexual abuse, forced prostitution and the abuse of children for the production of child abuse images/videos.

Domestic servitude: involves a victim being forced to work in usually private households, usually performing domestic and childcare duties. Their freedom may be restricted and they may work long hours often for little or no pay, often sleeping where they work.

Forced labour/child labour: victims may be forced to work long hours for little or no pay in poor conditions under verbal or physical threats of violence to them or their families. It can happen in various industries, including construction, manufacturing, hospitality, food packaging, agriculture, maritime and beauty (nail bars). Often victims are housed together in one dwelling.

Debt bondage: A person becomes a bonded labourer when their labour is demanded as a means of repayment for a loan. They are trapped into working for very little or no pay to repay "debts" to their employer. They are not allowed to work for anyone else. Low wages and increased debts mean they cannot ever hope to pay off the loan and the debt may be passed to their children.

Criminal exploitation: is the exploitation of a person to commit a crime, such as pick-pocketing, shop-lifting, cannabis cultivation, drug trafficking and other similar activities. Some modern slavery victims are also involved in fraud or financial crime where they are forced to claim benefits on arrival but the money is withheld, or the victim is forced to take out loans or credit cards.

Descent-based slavery: is where people are born into a 'slave class', caste or a group viewed as being in slavery by other members of their society.  If one’s mother is in slavery, one is born into slavery. They are treated as property by their ‘masters’. They can be inherited, sold or given away as gifts or wedding presents.

Other forms of exploitation – Organ removal, forced/early marriage and illegal adoption

Who are the victims of modern slavery?

A modern slavery victim is someone who is:

Exploited: victims may have a scruffy appearance, constantly wear the same clothes and look dishevelled, malnourished or unwell. They may have unsuitable clothing or equipment

Coerced and controlled: victims are organised by others under coercion, duress or threat. Accommodation and transport are provided for them. Victims do not handle money but they may have a mobile phone

Denied normal freedom: victims are not able to make their own decisions and are not free to come and go as they please. They have no access or limited access to money. ID, passports and other documents may be held by someone else

Living in fear: they are often anxious, afraid, unable to make eye contact, nervous and suspicious. They may hide or be hidden away. They may be suspicious of police or other agencies.

Remember - victims can be any age, any gender, any nationality or any ethnicity. They are often vulnerable people; they could have learning disabilities for example, or they could be homeless.

How do I spot a victim?

Signs that someone might be a victim of modern slavery are:

Physical appearance: Victims may show signs of physical or psychological abuse, look malnourished or unkempt, or appear withdrawn

Isolation: Victims may rarely be allowed to travel on their own, seem under the control/influence of others, rarely interact or appear unfamiliar with their neighbourhood or where they work

Poor living conditions: Victims may be living in 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, have few personal possessions and always wear the same clothes day in day out. What clothes they do wear may not be suitable for their work

Restricted freedom of movement: Victims have little opportunity to move freely and may have had their travel documents retained, e.g. passports

Unusual travel times: They may be dropped off/collected for work on a regular basis, either very early or late at night

Reluctant 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 deportation, fear of violence to them or their family

What do I do if I have seen something which looks like modern slavery?

You can call the national Modern Slavery helpline anonymously on 0800 0121 700 or you can download the Unseen app.

You can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111

You can report the matter to us using our online form, webchat, text/SMS 67101, or non-emergency email.

For people who are Deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired  Minicom/Textphone 18001 101 

If someone is in immediate danger – call 999.

Remember: Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility

Please visit the Modern Slavery helpline website for more information. 

One to watch: Lured by a job, trapped in forced labour

Published on 11 Feb 2014

In search of a job to support his family, a man accepts an offer from a recruiter and signs a contract for what looks like a good job with decent wages. Once at destination, the reality is very different.

Source: ILO's activities to end forced labour

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