What it is and what to do if you think it's happening.

Call 999 if a crime is happening now or you're in immediate danger.

Modern slavery is an unseen crime that goes against human rights. 

It can happen in places such as: 

  • take-aways
  • hotels
  • car washes
  • nail bars
  • factories 
  • farms and agriculture
  • private homes 

Theres no typical victim of modern slavery. Victims can be:

  • adults, who might be exploited in the labour market or whose homes might be used for cuckooing (used as a base for drug dealing), trafficked or sexually exploited in brothels
  • young people, who might be groomed and exploited for moving drugs
  • children who might be trafficked, sexually abused, forced into servitude

Victims are forced, threatened, or deceived and controlled, in order to be taken advantage of. 

Modern slavery can affect anyone, no matter their: 

  • nationality
  • gender
  • age
  • income

However, poverty, lack of opportunity and other vulnerabilities increase the risk of being exploited and abused.

We need to work together to help and protect victims.

Types of modern slavery and exploitation

Modern slavery includes:

  • labour exploitation or debt bondage: vulnerable people are exploited for labour or forced to work for little or no money
  • human trafficking: victims are moved by force, fraud or deception, for slavery in prostitution or marriage, labour, begging, benefits fraud
  • domestic servitude: victims are made to work almost constantly in private households, for little or no wages, employment rights and health care
  • sexual exploitation: adults and children are groomed or forced into sex work or to perform sexual acts
  • criminal exploitation: people are controlled, mistreated, or forced to commit crime and unlawful acts 
  • organ harvesting for profit: victims are manipulated, coerced or forced into giving up an organ

Spot the signs of modern slavery

Someone could be a victim of modern slavery if they:

  • are rarely allowed to travel on their own
  • dont have proper clothes or necessary clothing such as Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)
  • have no identification documents, for example a passport 
  • have few personal belongings
  • show sign of physical or psychological abuse, or look like theyre not eating properly
  • live in overcrowded housing, where the living conditions are poor
  • travel at unusual times, for example very early or late at night
  • appear frightened, or unwilling to talk to people in uniform or in positions of authority

Read more information on spotting the signs of modern slavery:

How you can help 

Be aware of the signs and be vigilant. Report any suspicions or concerns. 

For non-emergencies, call the police on 101 or report online.

If you see something suspicious, no matter how small, report it or contact a helpline to talk about your concerns:

You're worried about a child

If youre worried about a child, follow the local safeguarding procedures to report your concerns.

Support for victims

You can read more about the support available for victims on GOV.UK. The information is available in 11 foreign languages.

Modern slavery statement

Read our pdf Modern slavery transparency statement 2021 to 2022 (305 KB) .