Modern Slavery

What is modern slavery?

Slavery still exists in one form or another in every country in the world, including the UK. From women forced into prostitution, children and adults forced to work in agriculture, domestic work, or factories and sweatshops producing goods for global supply chains, entire families forced to work for nothing to pay off generational debts; or girls forced to marry older men, this illegal practice still blights the contemporary world.

Modern Slavery is a global problem that transcends age, gender and ethnicities. It is important that we bring this hidden crime into the open. 

There are many different characteristics that distinguish slavery from other human rights violations, however only one needs to be present for slavery to exist. Someone is in slavery if they are:

  • forced to work - through mental or physical threat;
  • owned or controlled by an 'employer', usually through mental or physical abuse or the threat of abuse;
  • dehumanised, treated as a commodity or bought and sold as 'property';
  • physically constrained or has restrictions placed on his/her freedom of movement.

Contemporary slavery takes various forms and affects people of all ages, gender and races. There are no typical victims of slavery – victims can be men, women and children of all ages and cut across the population but it mostly affects the vulnerable, minority or socially excluded groups.

More information on Modern Slavery can be found on the Modern Slavery Helpline website or you can download the Home Office Modern Slavery Awareness and Victim Identification guidance.