Modern Slavery

Modern Slavery

Modern Slavery is complex serious crime encompassing slavery, servitude, forced and compulsory labour and human trafficking.

  • ‘slavery’ is where ownership and total control is exercised over a person
  • ‘servitude’ is a person being coerced to work whilst living on another’s property, with the impossibility of being able to change their circumstances.
  • ‘forced or compulsory labour’ involves work being exacted from any person by threats for which the person has not offered themselves voluntarily.
  • A person commits the offence of trafficking where they arrange or facilitate the travel of another person with a to that person being exploited.
  • Exploitation can is described as being a victim of slavery, servitude or forced and compulsory labour or being a victim of Sexual or Criminal Exploitation or Organ harvesting.

Labour exploitation victims are forced to work in many different work sectors, most notably: Hand car washes, nail bars, factories, restaurants and takeaways, agriculture and domestic servitude in private households. 

Sexual exploitation primarily occurs from sex working in pop up or fixed brothels. Child sexual exploitation should also consider a potential trafficking element.

Criminal Exploitation occurs where a victim is forced to commit a criminal offence due them being a victim of modern slavery. The offences victims are most often committing are: drug supply e.g. county lines, cannabis cultivation, shoplifting, begging and benefit fraud.

Human smuggling is an Immigration crime and must not be confused with human trafficking, a Modern Slavery crime. However persons who have been smuggled into the UK may later be exploited and trafficked in the UK. 

Very Brief Intervention


General Signs and Indicators of Modern Slavery

Deciding whether there are grounds to suspect a person may be a victim of exploitation under the Modern Slavery Act is a crucial initial step. In making this decision it is important to consider all the information available and not rely solely on the victim account. Look for the presence of the signs and indicators of modern slavery. Some indicators will include:

Here are questions you might ask if you suspect a person may be a victim of Modern Slavery. Victims are likely to be afraid of the authorities so make it clear that you are here to help and support and try to build trust.

Do you need medical attention?

Are you scared of anyone?

Are you being asked to do anything against your will?

Has your documentation been taken away or is it being held by somebody?

Are your movements restricted or do you feel you cannot leave because you feel threatened?

What would happen if you decided to leave your current situation?

Are you escorted to and from places? Work? Home?

Do you owe anyone money?


The National Referral Mechanism (NRM)

The NRM is the primary means of providing support to potential victims of trafficking. Any person under 18 who you believe may be a victim of modern slavery must be referred into the NRM, ideally after a multi-agency strategy discussion. An adult must consent to being referred. For detailed information about the NRM and how to make a referral see your force Intranet or SharePoint site, or go to the Home Office NRM website.

Force Modern Slavery Victim Liaison Officers (MSVLO) and Specialist Investigators and for NCA NRM and Operational Tactical Advice contact details are available on SharePoint

Modern Slavery and Exploitation helpline - Provides specialist help, advice an support about modern slavery to safeguard potential victims and to prevent more people from becoming victims in the first place.

Tel: 0800 0121 700 - Available 24 hours a day

Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) – labour exploitation advice

0800 432 0804

Unseen – Modern Slavery Charity Based in Bristol

0303 040 2888 Email via online Unseen (


National Ugly Mugs (NUM) – support for Sex Workers- Public

NUM caseworkers are here to provide emotional and practical support to adults across sex industries. This could be just a listening ear, help with accessing resources or support to report harm, right through to the criminal justice system and court, if that is your choice.

There are four members of the casework team. Two are qualified Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVAs), and there is also a specialist caseworker to support sex workers of colour and those who are trans/non-binary.

Tel: 0161 629 9861 / 0800 464 7669


Web: Victim Support – National Ugly Mugs 

Address: 209 Green Fish Resource Centre, 46-50 Oldham Street, Manchester, M4 1LE


UK – Salvation Army

The Salvation Army provides specialist support for all adult victims of modern slavery in England and Wales. Their confidential referral helpline is available 24 hours a day.

Tel: 0800 808 3733





Childline provide free, confidential support to children about any topic, including modern slavery and human trafficking. Children can speak to a counsellor on the phone:

Tel: 0800 1111 (Available 7.30am-1.00am every day)



If you’re worried about a child, even if you are unsure, the NSPCC helpline is available 24 hours a day for advice from a trained counsellors. 

Tel: 0808 800 5000



Pay and Work Rights Helpline

For cases of exploitation that do not meet the threshold for modern slavery 

Tel: 0300 123 1100