What is Modern Slavery?
Modern Slavery encompasses a range of issues including human trafficking, forced labour, domestic servitude, forced begging, benefit fraud and sexual exploitation. It's happening in Gloucestershire and the rest of the UK right now. The UK government estimates that up to 13,000 people are in modern slavery in the UK today.1
Victims of modern slavery will rarely seek or accept help because of the fear of reprisals against themselves and their families, threats of deportation as well as a lack of trust in law enforcement agencies. Victims in the UK are often UK citizens but we also see victims coming not just from the UK but also Albania, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, Vietnam, North Korea, Russia, China and Japan.
The different types of Slavery & Trafficking.
Victims are forced to work against their will, often working very long hours for little or no pay. They may work in dire conditions and under the threat of verbal or physical threats of violence.
Victims are forced to work to pay off debts that they realistically never will be able to.
Victims are forced to perform non-consensual or abusive sexual acts against their will, such as prostitution, escort work and or pornography. Adults are coerced often under the threat of force and violence.
Often victims are controlled and maltreated. They are forced into crimes such as cannabis cultivation or pick pocketing against their will.
Victims are forced to carry out housework and other domestic chores in private households with little or no pay. Their movements maybe restricted, have very limited or no free time and minimal privacy. They often sleep where they work.
What are we doing to tackle the Modern Slavery?
The truth is we really don’t know the nature and the size of the problem in Gloucestershire. We’re not alone, nationally; there are challenges in truly appreciating the scale of the issue. We need your help to identify this largely hidden crime.
In Gloucestershire we have an Anti-Slavery Partnership with leads from police, the county council, housing, health, the fire service, faith groups, charities and others. This group works together to help raise awareness of the issue and share information to support our understanding. We can then respond with support for victims and of course look to prosecute offenders.
We also work with partners in Immigration Enforcement, Her Majesties Revenue and Customs, the National Crime Agency and others to disrupt offenders and help bring them to justice.
What are the signs to look out for?
- Do you know anyone that appears malnourished, exhausted or unkempt?
- Have you met someone who seems under the control, influence of others? Do they rarely interact or appear unfamiliar with their neighbourhood or where they work?
- Have you seen anyone living in dirty, cramped or overcrowded accommodation, and/or living and working at the same address?
- Do you see people being dropped off/collected for work on a regular basis either very early or late at night and it doesn’t feel quite right?
What can you do to help?
We need your help to provide us with any information that you may have around Modern Slavery, you can do this by reporting your concerns here:
- Call 101
- E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, be aware in your communities with regard to those who may vulnerable our website has more information links to find out more about this issue. Please report any concerns, either directly to us, or anonymously through CrimeStoppers. There’s also advice and support available by contacting the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121700
What support is there for victims?
There are a number of support options for victims. The National Referral Mechanism in UK supports victims with accommodation, advice and care and, while we would of course wish for engagement, there is no requirement for victims to support prosecutions to receive this support.
- Home Office, (2016). Modern Slavery Act 2015 review: one year on. [online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/modern-slavery-act-2015-review-one-year-on [Accessed 5 Apr. 2017].