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Modern Slavery

Category: General

Slavery is still widely prevalent in our society today and could be happening right under your nose, in your street or neighbourhood.  It’s a hidden crime happening in plain sight across the UK. The Global Slavery Index estimates that Britain is home to around 136,000 victims of modern slavery, far surpassing the government’s own statistics.

Modern Slavery has many forms, from being forced to carry out manual tasks such as domestic work or labouring for little or no money to criminal and sexual exploitation. Many victims are often trafficked and are forced to live in fear in squalid conditions under the constant threat of violence and intimidation.

Would your colleagues know what to look out for? Signs of slavery in the UK and elsewhere are often hidden, making it even harder to recognise victims around us;

  • Appearance: Signs of physical or psychological abuse, look malnourished or unkempt, or appear withdrawn
  • Isolation: 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
  • Poor living conditions: Victims may be living in dirty, cramped or overcrowded accommodation, and / or living and working at the same address
  • Few or no personal belongings: Victims may have no identification documents, have few personal possessions and always wear the same clothes day in day out. What clothes they do wear may not be suitable for their work
  • Restricted freedom of movement: Victims may have no identification documents (e.g. Passport), have few personal possessions and always wear the same clothes day in day out. What clothes they do wear may not be suitable for their work
  • Unusual travel times: They may be dropped off / collected for work on a regular basis either very early or late at night
  • Reluctant to seek help: 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.

Particular forms of exploitation, such as child exploitation or domestic servitude can also have other indicators. Common signs can be found here

What to do if you have concerns.

  • if you are concerned about a child, call the First Response Team on 01296 383 962
  • if you are concerned about an adult, call the Safeguarding Adults Team on 0800 137915
  • to report concerns outside of office hours, call the emergency duty team on 0800 999 7677
  • if there is an immediate danger to the suspected victim call 999 as a matter of urgency.

The Modern Slavery Helpline is a national helpline for victims or anyone who wishes to report a suspected case. The number is free and all calls are treated confidentially: 08000 121 700.

In Buckinghamshire we are fortunate to have a number of services that support and help those who are vulnerable to exploitation including;

Missing and Exploitation Hub – The Missing and Exploitation Hub is a multi-agency team made up of partners from Childrens Social Care, Thames Valley Police, Barnardo’s, Health and Education, as well as a Parent worker, currently provided by Buckinghamshire Safeguarding Children Partnership. The team supports victims of all forms of exploitation and can work with and sign post those in need of support (up to the age of 25). You can contact them by calling the First Response Team on 01296 383 962.

Victims’ Service – Victims First provides free emotional and practical support to all victims and witnesses of exploitation, as well as family members of victims. It is available across Buckinghamshire and can provide help regardless of whether or not the crime has been reported to the police. The support offered is on both a practical and emotional level, from help with housing, benefits, education and employment, assistance through court processes, advocating at meetings, to hospital visits and arranging food and clothes parcels etc. You can contact Victims First by calling 0300 1234 148 or by visiting their website.