Modern slavery and human trafficking

Human trafficking is the movement of individuals with the aim of forced labour or exploitation.

  • This exploitation is an abuse of basic human rights, often affecting the most vulnerable men, women, and children in society.
  • Victims of human trafficking are often moved against their will and forced to work for little or no payment.
  • People are trafficked from a variety of countries, but vulnerable UK nationals are also at risk of exploitation.
  • Many of the victims are held in modern slavery, and are threatened and abused, while often being made to live in poor, squalid conditions.
  • They may also be physically assaulted, sexually exploited and physiologically traumatised.

Spot the signs

It’s important that people are aware of how to spot the signs of someone who is being exploited.

Victims may:

  • look malnourished or unkempt
  • be withdrawn and unwilling to interact
  • live in cramped, dirty, overcrowded accommodation
  • have no identity documents
  • appear scared, avoid eye contact, and be untrusting
  • show signs of abuse and/or have health issues.

Typical kinds of employment that they may be forced into include:

  • factories and farm work
  • restaurants, in particular fast food outlets
  • domestic service and hospitality
  • the construction industry
  • hand car washes and nail bars.

They may also be forced into sexual exploitation as well as into crime, such as:

  • pick-pocketing
  • begging
  • burglaries
  • the illegal drug industry.

The police work alongside the Home Office and other partner agencies to help ensure that victims are identified and given the support they need while bringing justice against those responsible.

Help and support

If you need help or think someone you know is at risk:

  • call 999 if there is immediate danger
  • contact us on 101 for help and support, we also have a number of translators available if English is not your first language
  • contact the Modern Slavery helpline on 0800 0121 700
  • complete the Modern Slavery online form
  • contact the Salvation Army referral helpline 0300 303 8151
  • contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

If you suspect that someone is being exploited or has been trafficked, do not confront the person who you believe is responsible, or let the victim know of your suspicions, as you may risk putting them and yourself in more danger.

Accordion Title
Cover your tracks
Accordion Text

As you surf the internet, your internet browser will save certain information, such as the websites you have visited and images or publications you have downloaded. If you do not want people who may have access to your computer to know which websites you have been viewing, you should use a safe computer such as a friend’s, library or work.

There are different methods to hide your tracks and delete your history for each internet browser. We have provided information about how to delete your history from some of the most popular browsers, which can be viewed here.

It should be noted that if you are using someone else’s computer they may notice if you delete the computer history and cookies.

Disclaimer: If you don’t want someone to see that you’re viewing this website, you can click on the ‘escape’ button on the right, which will take you away from this page to the BBC news website.

Please be aware that the time it will take to load the BBC website will depend on your connectivity speed and device performance. It may be better to keep another document or website open in a new tab or window while browsing. If someone comes in the room and you don’t want them to see what you’re looking at, you can quickly switch views.