How To Recognise Modern Day Slavery

How To Recognise Modern Day Slavery

Modern slavery is commonplace in today’s society, as of 2016, it was estimated 40.3 million people in the world were exposed to modern slavery, of which, 70% were women and girls. There are a multitude of ways that you can look out for the signs of slavery.

Someone is subjected to slavery if they are forced to work, controlled by an ‘employer’, dehumanised or treated as ‘property’ and physically constrained or have restrictions placed on their freedom, collectively all controlled by physical or mental threats.


Slavery – is where ownership is exercised over a person.

Servitude – involves the obligation to provide services imposed by coercion.

Forced or Compulsive Labour – involves work or service extracted from any person under the menace of a penalty and for which the person has not offered himself voluntarily.

Human Trafficking – concerns arranging or facilitating the travel of another with a view to exploiting them.

The General Indicators

Physical Appearance – May display signs of physical or psychological abuse, may be malnourished, unclean, anxious, and neglected. They may also have injuries that are unexplained or untreated.

Isolation – They may not be able to travel on their own, and may seem controlled by others and seem unfamiliar with their neighbourhood or working location.

Poor Living Conditions – May live in crowded, dirty and cramped housing conditions, and may be living in the same place as they work.

Restricted Freedom of Movement – May not have any official documents of identification, have a lack of personal possessions and may wear the same clothes. The clothes they do wear may not seem appropriate for the work role.

Unusual Travel Times – May be dropped and/or collected for work frequently, and this may be at unusually early or late times of the day. Children may be picked up and/or dropped off in taxis and it may be unclear as to why they would be there.

Reluctance To Seek Help – May avoid eye contact, be frightened and may be hesitant to talk to people they do not know for a number of reasons. They may not know where to go to get help, fear deportation and violence.

If you need help, or you think someone may be a victim of slavery or exploitation, call the confidential UK Modern Slavery Helpline 24 hours a day, 365 days a year – 08000 121 700.

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