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

The Chief Constable, Shaun Sawyer, is the national policing lead for modern slavery. Below is some information about what Modern Slavery is and what the police forces are doing to combat it.

The police service across the UK is committed to combating modern slavery, which is a global problem with an estimated 20-30 million victims worldwide.  Contrary to common belief modern slavery is prevalent even here in our own country.  It is has recently been estimated that there are currently between 10-13,000 victims of slavery in the UK.

Modern slavery is now estimated to be the second largest illicit trade worldwide. The International Labour Organisation recently estimated that labour exploitation alone was worth $150bn worldwide per annum. 

As the national policing lead for modern slavery, Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer, has been working with the government, police forces, other law enforcement agencies and wider partnerships in order to improve the response to modern slavery. For the police, the overriding focus is to improve its ability to identify, rescue and support victims and in doing so ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice. 

The Home Office has improved legislation through the introduction of the Modern Slavery Bill. This provides law enforcement agencies in the UK with a greater opportunity and stronger framework to protect victims, bring offenders to justice and recover illicit assets.  The recent appointment of an Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner will assist in ensuring all agencies work efficiently and effectively in the fight against slavery.

The national modern slavery portfolio has developed a national action plan, with a view to improving operational and strategic responses to this type of crime.  The plan covers the full process - from preventative measures to prosecution.  This has been presented to ACPO Crime Business Area and Chief Constable’s Council.

Over the next 12 months a number of key objectives have been identified which will form the bedrock upon which we develop the means by which we deliver the wider action plan. 

  • Training, awareness and guidance:
    Working with the College of Policing – the professional body which looks after training and standards in policing - with a focus on developing awareness, knowledge and expertise aimed at improving the quality of victim identification, victim care, investigations and prosecutions.  This work has concentrated on delivering a variety of options - from basic awareness packages through to bespoke training programmes for investigators.  To ensure these programmes are properly supported, we are developing an operational guidance manual and online resources providing a library of related documents, case study examples and the opportunity for online discussion. 
  • The College of Policing Authorised Professional Practice (APP) on modern slavery has been written in response to the yearly increase in the number of modern slavery victims, and the launch of the Modern Slavery Act 2015. The APP has been developed by the College to fulfil the requirement to set standards for policing. The National Operational Lead for Modern Slavery has been closely involved, as has the Office of the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, Modern Slavery Human Trafficking Unit (MSHTU), Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA), Home Office, European Multidisciplinary Platform against Criminal Threats (EMPACT) and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). The APP on modern slavery includes information on:

    • key responsibilities
    • risk and identification
    • reporting and referring into the national referral mechanism
    • investigative strategy
    • intelligence gathering
    • prevention and disruption
    • challenges and solutions
    • victim and witness care
    • key partner agencies
    • legislation.
  • Improved data:
    Through improvements in the way in which we gather and manage data and intelligence we will develop a greater strategic understanding both nationally and at a more localised level, which in turn will lead to improvements in our tactical response.  It is vital that we develop the best possible picture of how modern slavery manifests itself across the country.  New national processes will be developed which will not only focus on the hard data but will also introduce de-briefing measures to gather more information around the context of this type of crime, and thus enrich our understanding. 
  • Partnership working:
    Policing cannot tackle this problem alone and the importance of developing partnership approaches cannot be over emphasized.  The police are experts at catching criminals and bringing perpetrators to justice, but this is a small part of the fight against modern slavery.  We must recognise that Modern Slavery is not an issue we can prosecute our way out of. The Anti-Slavery Partnership is just one example of how we work closely with our partners in this area.

The police service is fully committed to this endeavour. Over 200 years after the abolition of slavery, it is unacceptable that people are still being subjected to it.  With a mixture of good intelligence, better understanding of the crime type and an enhanced legislative framework,  the police can play its fullest role in keeping victims safe and bringing traffickers to justice. Help from the public is also key.

Please visit the Home Office modern slavery website. Study how to spot the signs of modern slavery and, if you have the slightest suspicion that there is a crime happening in your area, contact:

  • the national modern slavery helpline on 0800 0121 700
  • Non-emergency 101, 67101 sms/text number for the deaf/hard hearing/speech impaired 18001 101 Minicom/Textphone
  • Non-emergency email:  (or 999 if someone is in imminent danger)
  • or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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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