How To Spot Modern Day Slavery

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General Indicators

Trafficking victims are often lured into modern slavery by false promises and so may not easily trust others. They may:

  • Be fearful of police/authorities
  • Be fearful of the trafficker, believing their lives or family members’ lives are at risk if they escape
  • Exhibit signs of physical and psychological trauma e.g. anxiety, lack of memory of recent events, bruising, untreated conditions
  • Be fearful of telling others about their situation
  • Be unaware they have been trafficked and believe they are simply in a bad job
  • Have limited freedom of movement
  • Be unpaid or paid very little
  • Have limited access to medical care
  • Seem to be in debt to someone
  • Have no passport or mention that someone else is holding their passport
  • Be regularly moved to avoid detection
  • Believe they are being controlled by use of witchcraft

Sexual Exploitation

Awareness that ordinary, residential housing/hotels are being used more and more for brothels is the key. People forced into sexual exploitation may be controlled by violence, threats, substance abuse, deception or grooming, with extreme physical or psychological domination.

  • Be moved between brothels, sometimes from city to city
  • Sleeping on work premises
  • Display a limited amount of clothing, of which a large proportion is sexual
  • Display substance misuse
  • Be forced, intimidated or coerced into providing sexual services
  • Be subjected to abduction, assault or rape
  • Be unable to travel freely e.g. picked up and dropped off at work location by another person
  • Have money for their services provided collected by another person

Sexual Exploitation of Minors

An abuse of child’s vulnerability by a person’s position of power or trust, exploiting that position to obtain sexual services in exchange for some form of Cavour such as alcohol, drugs, attention or gifts (Engage Team, Blackburn). Another type of the minor sexual exploitation involves children under 18- years old which remains a culturally accepted practice in many corners of the Globe. Although boys can be affected by this practice, it is mostly girls who suffer slavery as a consequence of child marriage. 

You may notice a child that is:

  • Often going missing/truanting
  • Secretive
  • Has unexplained money/presents
  • Experimenting with drugs/alcohol
  • Associating with/being groomed by older people (not in normal networks)
  • In relationships with significantly older people
  • Taking part in social activities with no plausible explanation
  • Seen entering or leaving vehicles with unknown adults
  • Showing evidence of physical/sexual assault (including STD’s)
  • Showing signs of low self image/self harm/eating disorder

Forced Labor & Coerced Criminal Activity

Where all the work is done under the menace of a penalty or the person has not offered himself voluntarily and is now unable to leave. They may experience the threat of a penalty such as violence or harm to family. Victims are often further controlled by debt bondage. This may include conducting some form of criminal activity such as theft, pick pocketing, begging, cannabis cultivation or benefit fraud. They may experience:

  • Threat or actual physical harm
  • Restriction of movement or confinement
  • Debt bondage i.e. working to pay off a debt or loan, often the victim is paid very little or nothing at all for their services because of deductions
  • Withholding of pay or excessive reductions
  • Withholding of documents e.g. passport/security card
  • Threat of revealing to authorities an irregular immigration status
  • Their employer is unable to produce documents required
  • Poor or non-existent health and safety standards
  • Requirement to pay for tools and food
  • Imposed place of accommodation (and deductions made for it)
  • Pay that is less than minimum wage
  • Dependence on employer for services
  • No access to labor contract
  • Excessive work hours/few breaks

Domestic Servitude

A particularly serious form of denial of freedom; this includes the obligation to provide certain services and the obligation to live on another persons property without the possibility of changing those circumstances. A person in domestic servitude is often forced to work punishing hours with heavy lifting, is subject to inhumane treatment, physical and sexual abuse, or exposure to harmful situations, including abuse, confiscation of travel documents, no time off, isolation from the family, and friends and threats of harm. 

They may:

  • Be living and working for a family in a private home
  • Not be eating with the rest of the family
  • Have no bedroom or proper sleeping place
  • Have no private space
  • Be forced to work excessive hours; “on call” 24 hours a day
  • Never leave the house without the ‘employer’
  • Be malnourished
  • Be reported as missing or accused of crime by their ‘employer’ if they try to escape

Criminal Activities

The person is recruited and forced/deceived into conducting some form of criminal activity such as pick pocketing, begging, cannabis cultivation and benefit fraud.

Same indicators as for forced labour but for cannabis cultivation you may also notice:

  • Windows of property are permanently covered from the inside
  • Visits to property are at unusual times
  • Property may be residential
  • Unusual noises coming from the property e.g. machinery
  • Pungent smells coming from the property