Sense it. Spot it.

Cannabis Cultivation

Count the signs. If you see one or more of these signs at a property consider making a referral to the appropriate organisation. Alongside these specific signs can you identify any signs that suggest movement, recruitment, deception, coercion or exploitation?

What is Cannabis Cultivation?

Children and teenagers, largely from South East Asia, particularly Vietnam, are forced to work as ‘gardeners' or as onsite security in ‘cannabis factories'. The majority of these factories are set up in perfectly ordinary-looking rented residential premises.

If you identify a cannabis farm, and there is one or two children, teenagers or young adults in the property there would be cause for concern that this individual has been trafficked and forced to work this situation.

Look at the general indicators to support the case.


  • Outside the property

  • Inside the property

  • People connected with the property

Back up

Dig deeper


Are there metal grills over the windows outside or are they permanently covered on the inside?


Do the letterbox or any doors at the property appear to have been sealed from inside?


Do the windows have reflective film or coatings applied to them? This is used to reflect heat back into the property.


Is there an amout of compost bags, black sacks, laundry bags or gardening equipment left outside in the rear of the premises that seems out of the ordinary?


Can you see a vent protruding through the roof of the property or through a rear window that looks out of place?


Is there any sign that electricity may have been tacked on from neighbouring properties or directly from powerlines?


Have you been told to call before turning up at the property or told to come back another time?


Can you hear any noise which is out of the ordinary for the type of property? This may be coming from cooling fans.


Is there a pungent smell around the property? This may be more obvious where there is a vent or doorway.


Does the inside of the property appear to be very clinical, almost like a laboratory?

Plastic Sheets

Can you see any plastic draped over doorways or visible around doors? This is used to help keep the odour inside the property.


Is the property rented on a short lease of around six months? Operations frequently moves to another property or area after a crop is harvested which is about this much time.


Have you noticed regular visits to a residential property where people do not seem to live?


Is there a young person kept or left at the property? In past the pattern has been for teenage Vietnamese or Chinese boys to be left in the property to act as security.


Are visits to the property late at night or early in the morning and maybe no more than twice a week?


In contrast to other visiting patterns has there been a rush of activity involving vans lasting around a week? This will occur when a crop is ready for harvesting.


When the irregular visits to the property occur have you noticed visitors arriving with supplies? This is often the purpose of their visit.

hover over boxes to reveal the signs

If a child or adult is in immediate danger call 999.

  • Police

    Share what you have identified with your local police force.

  • Victim Support

    Support, advice and services available for potential adult trafficking cases.

  • Children's Services

    Advice and information on what to do and who to contact when a case involves a child.

  • Immigration Support

    Advice for cases where the potential victim may need immigration support.

  • The Police

    If the person's life is in immediate danger then you should call the police straight away.

    Phone: 999


    Local Police

    If the potential victim is in a situation that needs intervention then you should call your local police.

    Calls to 101 are a fixed rate of 15p per call, you will be redirected to the relevant place.

    Phone: 101

    Metropolitan Police

    The metropolitan police have a 24hour helpline for Victims and those who suspect trafficked victims are living in their community.

    Phone: 0800 783 25 89



    Call Crimestoppers if you would like to make an anonymous report of any information you have surrounding human trafficking.

    Phone: 0800 555 111


    Salvation Army

    The Salvation Army is responsible for delivering the UK government's contract to manage support services for adult female and male victims of Human Trafficking. Their confidential referral helpline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

    Phone: 0300 303 81 51



    Migrant Help

    Migrant Help is responsible for support services for adult female and male victims of Human Trafficking. For cases in Scotland and NI they are a primary contact. Available 24 hours a day. They are a first responder for the NRM.

    Phone: 01304 203 977 or 07766 668 781




    The Scottish Government provides funding to TARA (the Trafficking Awareness Raising Alliance) to provide support to women, over 18 yrs, trafficked (or potentially trafficked) for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation, recovered across Scotland.

    Phone: 0141 276 77 24

    POPPY Project

    The Poppy Project provides support, advocacy and accommodation to trafficked women. They are a first responder for the NRM.

    Phone: 020 7735 2062 (ask for the POPPY Project duty worker)




    Provide advice, advocacy and support services in the UK for migrant domestic workers. They are a first responder for the NRM.

    Phone: 0207 243 2942



    Medaille Trust

    Help women, young men and children who have been freed from human-trafficking. They provide safe housing and offer opportunities for physical and psychological healing and rehabilitation. They are a first responder for the NRM.



    Unseen UK

    Unseen runs secure accommodation for women of 18 years and over who are classified as survivors/victims of human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation and domestic servitude. They are a first responder for the NRM.




    NSPCC National Child Trafficking Advice Centre (CTAC) provides information and advice to any professional working with children or young people who may have been trafficked into the UK. Available Monday to Friday from 9.30am to 4.30pm. They are a first responder for the NRM.

    Phone: 0808 800 5000



    Children's Services

    Your Local Authority's Children's Services are responsible for all cases that involve children.

    Your Local Authority has a general duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children in need in your area, regardless of their immigration status. They have responsibilities for unaccompanied children, as well as those who arrive in the UK with their parents and about whose safety and welfare there are concerns.

    If you feel your local Children's Services would benefit from advice on how to respond to child trafficking cases recommend they contact NSPCC CTAC or ECPAT.




    End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and the Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes (ECPAT) research, campaign and lobby government to prevent child exploitation and protect children in tourism and child victims of trafficking. They provide training on safeguarding children from trafficking.

    Read this page on their website which provides guidance for professionals working with children who may have been trafficked.


    Phone: 0207 233 9887



    Anti Trafficking Legal Project

    ATLeP is a network of solicitors, barristers and specialist practitioners who advise, represent and support victims of trafficking and other vulnerable people.



    AIRE Centre

    The AIRE Centre promotes awareness of European law rights and assist marginalised individuals and those in vulnerable circumstances to assert those rights.

    Phone: 0207 831 4276



    Migrant's Rights Network

    Organisation working and campaigning in support of migrants in the UK.

    Phone: 0207 336 9412