Spot the signs – modern slavery is on your doorstep
Slavery is often a hidden crime, which makes it harder to recognise the victims. Make sure you know how to help. If someone is forced to work, they are in slavery, whether they are owned, or controlled by an employer.
Victims can be men, women and children of all ages and all backgrounds – foreign nationals (who have entered the UK illegally) and UK nationals. In 2016 adult support service, Hestia, identified 61 victims in Croydon according to the Underground Lives report (November 2017). These people did not challenge their situation as they have been threatened with violence, deceived, or coerced into this crime.
Modern slavery covers many things – from sexual exploitation to forced labour, debt bondage, domestic servitude, criminal activities, child labour, forced and early marriage.
Most businesses operate legitimately, but there are also many examples of unscrupulous employers who exploit the vulnerable, from car wash staff, to those working at nail bars, restaurants, construction, hospitality and agriculture.
Human trafficking – the illegal movement of people through force, fraud, or deception, with the aim of exploiting them - is also classified as modern slavery.
Here are a few signs to look out for:
- someone who is under the control and influence of others and appears to be frightened and not allowed to speak for themselves
- they appear to be tired and malnourished from working excessively long hours
- they are living in poor conditions at multi-occupancy accommodation
- they are not appropriately dressed for their work and their clothes are dirty
- they have an illness or injury that appears untreated
- they are not allowed to leave their work location unaccompanied
If you are a victim, or have seen anything unusual that might indicate that someone is being exploited, please seek help and report it to the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700. The helpline provides help and advice 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you would prefer to make an online report, please access https://www.modernslaveryhelpline.org/
In an emergency always call 999.
Further support and information is available from gov.uk in 11 foreign languages:
Modern day slavery charter
Croydon Council has signed charter pledging to offer guidance to help identify potential victims of modern slavery working with both council staff and contractors.
Download the charter against modern slavery.
Modern day slavery statement - May 2019
The council has made a statement to outline the work it is undertaking to identify and combat slavery. Download the statement.