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;
Particular forms of exploitation, such as child exploitation or domestic servitude can also have other indicators. Common signs can be found here https://www.modernslaveryhelpline.org/about/spot-the-signs
What to do if you have concerns.
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.