Modern slavery

Are your eyes open to modern slavery? Would you recognise it if you saw it? Not many people would.

There are 30 million slaves today, more than at any other time in history. Men, women and children around the world are forced to work without pay, and the number of those living at risk is growing.

After the international drug trade, trafficking of humans is tied with arms dealing as the second largest criminal industry in the world. Human trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of people, by means of;

  • the threat or use of force
  • forms of coercion, fraud and deception
  • abduction
  • the abuse of power or a position of vulnerability
  • the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to get the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation

The most common forms of modern slavery are sexual exploitation, enforced labour, domestic servitude, organ harvesting and criminal exploitation. To find out more about each one click on the 'types of modern slavery' tab under the left hand menu.

Some individuals enter into work agreements willingly but accrue enormous debt to the trafficker in the form of food, shelter, documentation and travel fees. The traffickers inflate these costs and tack on enormous interest rates that condemn their new hires to a life of underpaid labour or slavery.

Traffickers can be strangers or acquaintances, family members or friends. The economic, physical and social vulnerability of most victims makes them easy prey for traffickers, who lure them in with promises for a chance at a better life.

Many come from the same country or cultural background as their victims, enabling them to easily exploit the particular vulnerabilities of their targets.

Other traffickers employ violence to kidnap and maintain control over their victims. There is abundant money to be made, soaring demand and little risk due to difficulties in identification of the crime.

Why does modern slavery exist? Because there is skyrocketing demand. Consumer demand for cheap products, labour and services is enormous.

Young people are often tricked into travelling to the UK believing that they will go to school here or get jobs, sometimes by strangers, but often by friends or even family members, but when they arrive they soon realise that they were lied to and are forced to work in restaurants, to steal or to help a family member with their chores and not allowed to attend school. Sometimes they are forced to work within the sex industry.

In 2013, 56 of the 63 UK-born young people identified as potential victims were referred for sexual exploitation, having been tricked, pressured or encouraged to take part in sexual activities they did not want to do.

Help us fight modern slavery by passing on information today - call us on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111

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