Modern Slavery and the NHS

Healthcare professionals have a unique role to play in ensuring those trapped in modern slavery are rescued and further exploitation is prevented. 

Human trafficking and modern slavery is happening every day across the UK, affecting thousands of men, women and children. Victims often require healthcare services to treat problems such as broken bones caused by accidents on dangerous work sites, or sexual health conditions linked to sexual exploitation. This gives the NHS a unique opportunity to make a difference to these victims’ lives.  

1 in 5 victims report having come into contact with healthcare services during the time they were being trafficked. ~ Kevin Hyland, Anti-Slavery Commisioner


Although being aware of modern slavery victims is yet another demand on NHS staff’s resource and time, prevention does not have to be demanding. By asking the right questions, remaining vigilant and reporting suspicions to the correct authorities, NHS staff can save victims from modern slavery.  



Bespoke awareness training

STOP THE TRAFFIK offers bespoke modern slavery awareness training to equip healthcare professionals with the knowledge, understanding, tools and resources necessary, to identify victims of modern slavery and respond appropriately, rescuing victims from exploitation. 

The awareness training can be delivered in a variety of formats. It is both interactive and uses real-life case studies to ensure it is engaging for all audiences. Prior to delivery, our trainers will research the local partnership model in the area to share any bespoke referral pathways with your staff.

The training was brilliant, the best training I’ve been to for a long time.

The Modern Slavery Awareness Training will cover:

  • An overview of the global scale of modern slavery and the impact in the UK
  • Definitions of modern slavery and human trafficking
  • exploration of the types of exploitation
  • Introduction to the Modern Slavery Act 2015
  • How NHS staff can come across victims of trafficking in their role
  • Key signs and health indicators of modern slavery
  • An overview of the National Referral Mechanism (NRM Process)
  • The mental health and trauma impact on victims of trafficking
  • Common barriers to disclosure that victims of trafficking face
  • The vital role of the NHS, how to respond when potential victims are identified and how to report concerns

We look forward to optimising the Modern Slavery training programme with STOP THE TRAFFIK for NHS colleagues and partners – this remains a high priority programme for NHS Safeguarding. Together we are stronger and we look forward to continue embracing this serious and important work. – Kenny Gibson, National Head of Safeguarding

Cost and Format

1 hour: Awareness Briefing

Covering highlights from the Modern Slavery Awareness Training

£300, 1 Trainer, Maximum 30 Participants

3 hours: Full Modern Slavery Awareness Training

£450, 1 Trainer, Maximum 30 participants

Full Day: Train the Trainer

Equipping NHS England staff with the tolls to teach their colleagues

£1,000, 2 Trainers, Maximum 30 participants


Find out more

Download our NHS training Brochure here:


NHS Training Booklet 425.56 KB 211 downloads


For further information or to book training for your staff contact [email protected]


Spot the signs

Spotting the signs of modern slavery is not always easy. Victims are often fearful of their controllers and may try to hide their situation due to fear of retributions against themselves, friends or family. However, many NHS staff are already aware of potential victims, in fact, 1 in 8 NHS staff in England think they have seen a victim of trafficking in their clinical practice [2]. NHS staff need to be aware of behavioural and physical signs that victims might show, these include: 

  • Refusal to give name or contact information 
  • No identification documents 
  • Appearing malnourished or dishevelled 
  • Appearing fearful or scared of staff, authorities or a specific individual  
  • Being in the presence of a controller 
  • Inappropriate clothing 
  • Being in presence of another person who translates for them 

Whilst seeing only one of these signs might not be a direct indication of modern slavery, seeing several of these signs should raise suspicion.  


Download our NHS Modern Slavery Awareness resources here:


NHS Awareness Leaflet 626.21 KB 258 downloads


NHS Awareness Poster 373.46 KB 175 downloads



If you suspect that someone is a victim of modern slavery it is important that you remain safe. Direct confrontation, especially in the presence of the controller, is not advised. If you are suspicious or feel uncomfortable about a patient’s situation, then make sure you stop and consult. Sharing your suspicions with another staff member ensures potential victims do not go unnoticed. There are a number of options available to you, including:  

  • Share your suspicions with your line manager or named doctor 
  • Talk to a designated nurse or doctor at your local CCG 
  • Ask for advice or refer a patient to a relevant social care organisation 
  • Download the STOP APP and share your suspicions with STOP THE TRAFFIK. The app contains advice on the signs of modern slavery and provides a quick and accessible reporting mechanism. This is a great reporting tool to use if you are unsure about the situation but still want to share. STOP THE TRAFFIK use this anonymous data to develop the bigger picture of global hotspots and trends, making our prevention efforts more accurate and targeted 

If you think that someone is in immediate danger you should call the police at 999. 

The safeguarding of vulnerable people has always been a key part of the NHS and victims of modern slavery are just that. Caring for these individuals that are almost invisible to society requires concerted effort from all healthcare providers. Every staff member at the NHS has a part to play in the identification and consequently the prevention of modern slavery. We know it’s a big ask, vulnerable individuals might be distressed and distrustful, but it is important to remember that these are victims and therefore we have a moral duty to help in any way that we can.   


Contact us

For further information or to book training for your staff contact [email protected]

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