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We take our safeguarding responsibilities very seriously - If you have any concerns, please contact us






Modern Slavery is a serious issue across the globe and is known to be present in the UK, although figures are difficult to establish as it’s often a hidden crime.

Home Office figures from 2014, when the Modern Slavery Bill was introduced in the House of Commons, estimated that there were 10,000 to 13,000 potential victims in the UK.


There are several activities that come under the umbrella of Modern Slavery, including:

  • Human trafficking – when people are moved within a country or across borders in order to be exploited.

  • Slavery – where ‘employers’ use physical or mental abuse or threats to force someone to work. The individual is usually considered a commodity to be bought or sold and can have restrictions placed on their freedom and physical movements.

  • Servitude – where someone is forced to provide a service, but without the ownership element of slavery. This is usually domestic servitude in a private household and the victims are often made to work long hours with low or no pay.

  • Forced labour – when someone is forced to work without having volunteered and with threat of penalty if they don’t comply, including threats to themselves or their families. It can occur in a range of industries, such as agriculture, construction, fishing, hospitality, manufacturing and nail bars, and can involve children. Certain industries have a legal responsibility to publish an annual statement showing what they do to prevent Modern Slavery in their own business and those supplying the business.

  • Sexual exploitation – includes sexual abuse, forced prostitution, child abuse used for image or video production.

  • Criminal exploitation – using an individual to carry out activities that are against the law, such as theft or trafficking drugs. It also covers financial crime, where money is taken from a person who has been made to beg, claim it in benefits or take out credit cards or loans.

Other abuses can include forced or sham marriage, illegal adoption and organ removal.


Anyone can be at risk – adults or children of any gender, ethnicity or nationality. Apparent consent is not considered relevant if someone has been coerced, deceived or offered payment or another benefit. Anyone under 18 who has been recruited, transported, received or harboured for exploitation is treated as a victim of trafficking whether or not they have been coerced, deceived or given payment.


The police work alongside immigration officers, social workers and support organisations. They can use the National Referral Mechanism to identify and assist potential victims and protect their rights.

Child victims are protected under child abuse legislation (including the Children Act 1989) and child protection procedures, which should be followed by the police and the relevant local authority’s children’s service.


There are several potential signs, including but not limited to the following:

  • Underfed or unkempt appearance

  • Withdrawn or frightened behaviour; fear of authorities; accompanied by someone who always speaks for them

  • Fake documents or legal documents being held by another person

  • Physical injuries especially those that are untreated or for which no clear explanation is given; delays to seeing a medical professional

  • Inconsistent answers to basic questions

  • Always wearing the same clothes or garments unsuitable for the work they do

  • Ordinary homes or businesses with particularly high security, such as covered or barred windows and a number of security cameras

For children signs can include:

  • The absence of a parent or legal guardian

  • The child not attending school and/or not being registered with a GP

  • Moving frequently or being housed with multiple other children

  • Having missing, altered or false documents

  • Appearing frightened or traumatised


Those responsible for safeguarding children or reporting possible Modern Slavery often find that cases are identified when dealing with another issue, for example a public order matter, and it’s important to look beyond the immediate situation for clues.

As individuals and gangs involved in Modern Slavery are likely to be violent and dangerous, any concerns should be reported to the police to avoid putting yourself and victims at risk. This can be done by calling 999 or 0800 0121 700.

Victims trafficked into the UK may be able to apply for leave to remain or asylum, or may be helped to return to their country of origin if desired.

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