Modern slavery is the movement and trade of people of any age, often for the purpose of sexual exploitation, forced labour or organ harvesting. Modern slavery can include victims that have been brought from overseas, and vulnerable people in the UK.
Human traffickers can use a variety of means to recruit, transport, receive and hide their victims such as threats or force, abduction, deception or false promises.
Signs of slavery are often hidden, making it even harder to recognise victims around us. Here are some common signs to be aware of:
Victims may show signs of physical or psychological abuse, look malnourished or unkempt, or appear withdrawn and neglected. They may have untreated injuries.
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.
Victims may be living in dirty, cramped or overcrowded accommodation, or living and working at the same address.
Victims may have no identification documents, have few personal possessions and always wear the same clothes day in day out.
Victims may have little opportunity to move freely and may have had their travel documents retained, such as passports.
They may be dropped off or collected for work on a regular basis either very early or late at night.
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.
They may be accompanied by someone else who speaks for them.
Children may not always demonstrate outward signs of distress and may have a "bond" with those exploiting them and have been groomed to not disclose their abuse - however, they are likely to be very scared and traumatised.
If you believe a person is being trafficked and is in immediate danger, you should call 999 straight away.
Communities have an important role to play in recognising abuse. If you recognise any of the above signs and suspect someone may be a victim of modern slavery, tell someone. You will always be taken seriously and protection and support is available.
You can report suspected modern slavery:
For further advice and support there are a number of agencies who can help