Modern slavery is happening every day across the UK. Victims can include any person, regardless of age, socio-economic background or location. As a result, each case can look very different and it is frequently difficult to identify.
Every individual, organisation and agency have different levels of exposure and knowledge of modern slavery, and can bring valuable information that, when shared and analysed alongside experiences from others, significantly contributes to a more accurate understanding of modern slavery activity.
You encounter victims in your everyday lives without realising it. This can be particularly true if you work in certain sectors or industries. During the trafficking process, victims will often come into contact with a variety of people who are unaware of their situation. By working collaboratively, these ‘touch points’ become opportunities for intervention and rescue.
In this first blog post of a series, we will be looking at several of those industries and the potential indicators of modern slavery.
Even the most hidden victims may have access to medical care so they could come in to contact with staff at medial practices, Accident & Emergency and sexual health clinics. Home health visitors could get rare access to the most isolated people such as victims of domestic servitude. There may be signs of untreated or historic injuries. They will be brought into A&E as a last resort. They are likely to be accompanied by someone else – appearing fearful and withdrawn.
Businesses and employers can take steps to mitigate the risks of human trafficking and increase the chance of identifying victims. Some examples are listed below:
Modern slavery is all about money. If there was no profit to be made, traffickers would not be interested. This money flows through the financial system and can be disrupted. It is important for customer facing staff to be aware of the indicators of human trafficking. Signs include, but are not limited to:
Taxi drivers play a vital role as the eyes and ears of the community. They could also inadvertently be moving human trafficking victims around. Specific signs to look out for relating to sexual exploitation include a third party transporting women and girls who appear to be under their control. The driver may overhear conversations regarding sexual service arrangements in which the females are being pressured or threatened. If multiple women are being taken to the same address this should also raise suspicions. These victims may well be underage.
Victims are often allowed to visit places of worship, so faith leaders and congregations are in a position to identify the signs of trafficking such as signs of fear and withdrawal or always being with a third party with whom they do not seem comfortable. These environments offer a trusted safe haven and can empower victims to share their stories and seek support.
Additionally, places of worship present an ideal opportunity to educate the local community about MSHT and question potentially harmful social norms or cultural behaviours.
STOP THE TRAFFIK (STT) has long recognised the importance of cross-sector partnerships and collaboration in fighting modern slavery. This informs all our work and initiatives. Only by consistently working together and sharing knowledge can we ever hope to eradicate this crime. We all have our part to play. No one individual, organisation or agency can sustainably disrupt human trafficking.
Any piece of information, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, could be relevant and form a crucial missing piece of the picture. So ensure you are aware of how to spot the signs and report any suspicions or concerns.
IF SOMEONE IS IN IMMEDIATE DANGER CALL 999
For confidential help or to report a suspicion:
Modern Slavery Helpline 0800 0121 700
To anonymously report a crime:
Crimestoppers 0800 555 111
If you want to learn more about anti-slavery partnerships and resources, you can find some useful information here
Learn more about STT’s training resources