Modern Slavery: spot the signs

Modern Slavery is an international crime that affects an estimated 29.8 million slaves around the world. It is estimated there are 13,000 people held in slavery in the UK today. In 2015 there were 3,266 potential victims identified and referred to the National Crime Agency.

Modern Slavery takes a number of forms including sexual exploitation and forced labour. Often the person is forced or compelled to work and they are often controlled by an 'employer', usually through mental or physical abuse or the threat of abuse. Signs that someone might be a victim of modern slavery include:

• Show signs of injury, abuse and malnourishment

• Look unkempt, often in the same clothing and have poor hygiene

• Be under the control and influence of others

• Live in cramped, dirty, overcrowded accommodation

• Have no access or control of their passport or identity documents

• Appear scared, avoid eye contact, and be untrusting

• Be collected very early and/or returned late at night on a regular basis

• May have inappropriate clothing for the work they are performing, and/or a lack of safety equipment

• May be isolated from the local community and their family

It can include victims that have been brought from overseas, and vulnerable people in the UK, being forced to illegally work against their will in many different sectors, including brothels, nail bars, factories, construction, hospitality, car washes and agriculture.

The UK Modern Slavery Helpline is available 24/7 to offer confidential, advice and support for any victim, statutory agency, business, or member of the public regarding modern slavery suspicions or concerns. Trained Helpline Advisers are available to discuss potential signs of modern slavery and discuss options for callers or victims in need.

You may call free at 08000 121 700 or contact them online at

Download the Crimestoppers flyer Modern Slavery: spot the signs