Modern Slavery

What types of slavery exist in the UK?

The following is a non-exhaustive list of different types of modern slavery that exist in the UK today:

Domestic servitude

Victims are forced to carry out housework and domestic chores in private households with little or no pay, restricted movement, very limited or no free time and minimal privacy, often sleeping where they work.

Forced criminality

Often controlled and maltreated, victims are forced into crimes such as cannabis growing or pick pocketing.

Sexual exploitation

Victims are forced to perform non-consensual or abusive sexual acts against their will, such as prostitution, escort work and pornography. Whilst women and children make up the majority of victims, men can also be affected. 

Forced labour

Victims are forced to work against their will, often working very long hours for little or no pay in dire conditions under verbal or physical threats of violence to them or their families. It can happen in many areas, from mining to tarmacking, hospitality and food packaging.

Debt bondage

Victims are forced to work to pay off debts that realistically they never will be able to. Low wages and increased debts mean not only that they cannot ever hope to pay off the loan, but the debt may be passed down to their children.

What is human trafficking?

Human trafficking occurs when adults or children are exploited through the use of violence, deception or coercion and forced to do something against their will. People can be trafficked for many different forms of exploitation such as: forced prostitution or sexual exploitation, forced labour, including domestic servitude, forced begging, forced criminality, forced marriage and organ harvesting.

When children are trafficked, no violence, deception or coercion needs to be involved. Simply bringing them into exploitative conditions counts as trafficking.

Do you have to have come into the country to have been trafficked?

No. Trafficking is when victims, intended for exploitation are recruited, held or moved for that purpose. Whether someone is moved 1 mile or 1,000 miles, it does not matter. People can be trafficked into, out of or within the UK. 

Is slavery and trafficking the same as immigration crime?

No. Immigration crime is about people coming in or out of the UK without permission. Some may be intended victims of exploitation and others may not be. The Home Office will normally lead on purely immigration matters instead of the Police.

What sort of support is available to victims of modern slavery?

Victims of modern slavery can access practical support such as housing and help with financial, legal and immigration issues and emotional support to cope and recover from their experience. 

The Modern Slavery Helpline can provide advice and signposting to relevant support organisations and you can also contact any of the organisations listed on this website.



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