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Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking

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Human trafficking happens here in the UK. It can be the trafficking of people into the UK, or the movement of people around the UK. Human trafficking is a gross violation of a person’s human rights. It is modern day slavery.

People are bought and sold, and forced to work in a variety of different industries. Some may be sexually exploited, or forced to work at car washes, nail salons and in factories. Others will be kept as domestic slaves, some will be forced into marriages and others will be trafficked for organ harvesting.

Victims can suffer from physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, and rarely have access to an education or to health care.

Although human trafficking often involves an international cross-border element, it is also possible to be a victim of modern slavery within your own country. It is possible to be a victim even if consent has been given to be moved.

Types of human trafficking

There are several broad categories of exploitation linked to human trafficking, including:

  • Sexual exploitation
  • Forced labour
  • Domestic servitude
  • Organ harvesting
  • Child related crimes such as child sexual exploitation, forced begging, illegal drug cultivation, organised theft, related benefit frauds etc
  • Forced marriage and illegal adoption (if other constituent elements are present)

What are the signs?

  • Physical appearance

Victims may show signs of physical or psychological abuse, look malnourished, unkempt, or appear withdrawn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 possessions and always wear the same clothes. 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, such as their 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

Report crimes of modern slavery

If you have information about modern slavery crimes – those who are committing such crimes or where victims are at risk that requires an immediate response dial 999.

If you hold information that could lead to the identification, discovery and recovery of victims in the UK, you can contact the Modern Slavery Helpline 08000 121 700 or call us on 101.

Alternatively you can make calls anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

You can find out more about Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking here.


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