Modern Slavery

Modern Slavery

Encompasses slavery, human trafficking, forced labour and domestic servitude. Traffickers and slave masters use whatever means they have at their disposal to force individuals into a life of abuse and inhumane treatment.

In 2016 3,805 victims were identified, which is a 17% increase on 2015, but these are just the victims that are known about. Modern Slavery is a largely covert crime: victims tend to be controlled and hidden away.

Potential victims who entered the National Referral Mechanism were reported to be from 108 nationalities in 2016, with the three most prevalent being Albanian, Vietnamese and the United Kingdom.

Poverty, limited opportunities, lack of education, unstable social and political conditions, economic imbalances and war are the key driving forces that contribute to the trafficking of victims into, through and across the UK.

Modern Slavery Bill

The Modern Slavery Bill (March 2015) was amongst the first Acts in the world specifically tackling modern slavery and reflects the Government’s determination that the UK lead the global fight against this crime:

  • Consolidates and simplifies modern slavery offences into one Act to provide clarity and focus
  • Increases the maximum sentence available for offenders to life
  • Provides statutory guidance on how victims of modern slavery can be identified and supported effectively.

Home Office: Modern Slavery July 2014

What you can do

Keep your eyes and ears open. If you suspect that someone is being controlled or forced by someone else to work or provide services, tell someone.

If an unknown person appears to be monitoring the movements of a worker or appears to be controlling them in some way, tell someone. This may include the worker being collected and dropped off at work each day.

If a colleague tells you something that might indicate that they are being exploited or ill-treated seek further advice.Talking to someone may stop someone else from being exploited or abused.

Often victims are physically abused. Does the person you are concerned about have any injuries which appear consistent with abuse or maltreatment? Do they appear scared or frightened?

People may try to use business premises to traffick people. Be alert and report any suspicious activity.

Seek advice from your manager, and challenge corporate behaviour if you think that your employer is not doing enough to prevent people from being exploited.

If you think that a situation is not right, ask questions and report any concerns or suspicions you have.

Home Office: Human Trafficking Practical Guidance 2013

National Crime Agency: National Referral Mechanism


If you think you’ve identified a trafficker or illegal gangmaster call the police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.

If you think you work with or employ someone who may be a victim of modern slavery or forced labour you can call a helpline on 0800 0121 700 and talk through your concerns or visit:

For information on how you can avoid employing victims of trafficking and how you can help ensure your supply chain is slave free visit:

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