What is Modern Slavery?
Modern Slavery can take many forms including the trafficking of people, forced labour, servitude and slavery. Children (those aged under 18) are considered victims of trafficking whether or not they have been coerced, deceived or paid to secure their compliance.
They need only have been recruited, transported, received or harboured for the purpose of exploitation. It is an international crime that transcends age, gender and ethnicity.
It is not an issue confined to history or an issue that only exists in certain countries. It is something that is still happening today, and it happens here in Lancashire.
Are there different forms of Modern Slavery?
The term Modern Slavery captures a whole range of types of exploitation, many of which occur together. These include but are not limited to:
- Sexual exploitation: This includes but is not limited to sexual exploitation and sexual abuse, forced prostitution and the abuse of children for the production of child abuse images/videos
- Domestic servitude: This involves a victim being forced to work in predominantly private households, usually performing domestic chores and childcare duties. Their freedom may be restricted, and they may work long hours often for little or no pay, often sleeping where they work
- Forced labour: Victims may be forced to work long hours for little or no pay in poor conditions under verbal or physical threats of violence to them or their families. It can happen in various industries, including construction, manufacturing, laying driveways, hospitality, food packaging, agriculture, maritime and beauty (nail bars). Often victims are housed together in one dwelling
- Criminal exploitation: This can be understood as the exploitation of a person to commit a crime, such as pick-pocketing, shoplifting, cannabis cultivation, drug trafficking and other similar activities that are subject to penalties and imply financial gain for the trafficker
What are the most common forms of Modern Slavery?
Labour exploitation was most commonly reported for adult potential victims in 2021 and most of those were male. Criminal exploitation was most reported for child potential victims and the majority of those were male.
For those exploited as children, an increase in the identification of ‘County Lines’ cases has partially driven the rise in the number of cases categorised within the ‘criminal exploitation’ category. County Lines are used to describe drug gangs in large cities expanding their reach to small towns. Often, drug gangs exploit vulnerable individuals to transport substances, and mobile phone ‘lines’ are used to communicate drug orders.
Who are the victims of Modern Slavery?
There is no typical victim of slavery – victims can be men, women and children of all ages, ethnicities and nationalities and cut across the population.
Where do victims come from?
The top three most common countries of origin for potential victims of trafficking recorded in the UK in 2021 were:
How many victims of Modern Slavery are in the UK?
Government data identified in the year to March 2020, there were 7,779 Modern Slavery crimes recorded by the Police, a 59% increase from 4,897 in the year to March 2019.
But these are just the victims we know about. Slavery’s hidden nature means actual numbers are likely to be much higher. Victims are at a high risk of being re-exploited once identified, so it is important the required and appropriate support and protection is put in place immediately.
Why do we need to stop Modern Slavery?
Modern Slavery destroys lives, damages communities and has strong links with organised crime. Victims are often deceived and coerced into abusive situations that they feel they are unable to leave. It is a hidden crime – it’s a complex and multi-faceted problem and we need to work together to protect and help victims. It is all of our responsibility to ensure that criminals don’t get away with it and victims receive the support they are entitled to and need. We need to work together to continue to improve identification of victims, and to stop this horrific abuse.
Where can I report my concerns?
Slavery is closer than you think. It happens all over the world including the UK. We want to encourage reporting of suspected Modern Slavery.
However, it is extremely important to be aware that trafficking gangs are dangerous criminals, therefore it is vital that members of the public do not attempt to act on suspicions themselves, which may put themselves or the possible victims at risk.
Instead, should you come across anyone you believe could be a victim of Modern Slavery, a property that raises suspicion or a business you think might be using forced labour you can:
Call: 0800 121 700
Chat or report online: modernslaveryhelpline.org/
Where a crime is ongoing or lives are at immediate risk, always dial 999.
If a child is believed to be at risk, immediately contact us on 101.
For more information about Modern Slavery, visit Lancashire.police.uk/Modern-Slavery