Tackling modern slavery

What is modern slavery?

It is thought to be one of the most widespread crimes in the world. It can come in many different forms, including:

  • sexual exploitation
  • domestic servitude
  • forced labour
  • forced criminality
  • organ harvesting
  • forced or sham marriage.

Victims can be any age, gender or race, but are often taken advantage of due to their vulnerability. This is a serious crime which directly violates the human rights of its victims.

In the UK the number of people estimated to be in slavery varies widely from 13,000 people (UK government estimation) to 136,000 people (global slavery index estimation), with potentially even more. This is because it’s a type of criminal activity that is hidden, often going on behind closed doors.

That’s why it’s important to recognise the indicators of modern slavery and to know how to respond if you suspect someone is a victim. With its wide reach into our local communities, our officers are often well placed to identify and respond to suspected cases of modern slavery.

How do I recognise a potential victim of modern slavery?

By knowing the signs of modern slavery, you can help stop it. Here’s what to look out for in a potential victim:

  • fearful, anxious or distrustful of authorities
  • appears malnourished
  • shows signs of trauma (physical or psychological)
  • suffers injuries that may be the result of controlling measures or that have been left untreated
  • unfamiliar with local language or context
  • does not know their home or work address
  • has a story that sounds rehearsed
  • dependency and presence of a controller – allows others to speak for them when addressed directly
  • believes they have a debt to pay off
  • separated from their ID documents
  • do not have any days off, or unable to leave their work environment
  • has limited or no social interaction
  • reveals threats have been made against them or their family.

How do I report modern slavery?

If you, or someone else, is at immediate risk call 999 and ask for the police.

If you feel you are a victim of modern slavery, or being exploited, help is available. The Salvation Army can provide support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call 0300 303 8151 for confidential support.

If you suspect someone is a victim of modern slavery, it is essential that you report it to the relevant authorities. Please do not confront the controller as it is may put both yourself and the victim at harm.

To report your suspicions, or receive advice, call the Modern Slavery Helpline on 0800 0121 700 (available 24/7), or use their form to report it online.

If you are with a victim of modern slavery who’s requesting support, please use these contacts:

  • During office hours (9am-5pm, Monday-Friday)
    Please contact the social services line on 020 8753 4198 (option 3) and mention modern slavery - they will complete the next steps.
  • Out of office hours (5pm-9am, Monday-Friday, and 24 hours weekends and bank holidays)
    Please contact the social services emergency duty team on 020 8753 8588.
  • If there is an immediate risk at any point in the process, please call 999.

What further contacts are there?

Remember, if you or someone else is at immediate risk call 999 and ask for the police.

Information on services available to H&F residents can be found on the Angelou Partnership website.

For more information on the forms, indicators and referral pathways of modern slavery please visit the STOP THE TRAFFIK website.

Where can I find multi-lingual support?

The following publications provide information on your rights and where to find support for those who think they may be a victim of modern slavery in the UK:

Modern slavery and human trafficking statement

Read our Modern slavery and human trafficking statement 2020-21

We have signed the Charter Against Modern Slavery. The charter makes a clear statement that modern slavery has no place in our supply chains. Signing the statement is our pledge to proactively vet supply chains to ensure modern slavery is not taking place within them.

Find out more about the Charter Against Modern Slavery, why it was important to commit to it, and read a detailed outline of our commitments.