What is it?
Modern slavery is the illegal exploitation of people for personal or commercial gain. Victims of modern slavery can be any age, gender, nationality or ethnicity as anyone can become a victim providing that there is an angle of vulnerability to exploit. They are tricked or threatened into work and may feel unable to leave through fear or intimidation.
Modern slavery encompasses a wide variety of exploitation types including:
- sexual exploitation
- forced labour
- forced criminality
- domestic servitude
This could include someone being forced to run drugs on behalf of an organised crime group or someone who is made to work against their will for long hours in poor working conditions for little or no pay.
Why is it important?
The Home Office predicts that there are an estimated 10,000 to 13,000 potential victims in the UK. Known figures have increased year on year in the UK. However, many victims are still not being identified and reported.
The Modern Slavery Act was introduced in 2015 and Sec 52 of the Act places a duty on designated first responder agencies, which includes police and local authorities, to identify, report and support potential victims.
For other organisations who are not designated first responders, there remains a key role to play in identifying potential victims to ensure appropriate safeguarding and support.