What is modern slavery?
Modern slavery is a hidden crime. Victims are vulnerable, and often fear the very agencies that can help them. Victims are controlled and manipulated by those who exploit them and lack the choice or opportunity to seek help. In few other crimes are humans used as commodities repeatedly for the profit of others. Modern slavery victims can be adults or children (30%) and come from a wide range of backgrounds, geography and demographic. Many different cultures including British citizens can become victims. There has been a 40% increase in referrals for slavery since 2014, in 2015 3,266 victims were referred into the National Referral Mechanism. The top five countries of origin for slaves in the United Kingdom are Albania, Nigeria, Vietnam, Romania and the United Kingdom.
Modern slavery is a term that encompasses one or more of the following:
- Domestic servitude
- Forced and compulsory labour
- Human Trafficking
West Midlands Police and partners work together to identify victims and protect them. They also proactively pursue offenders to prosecute them and work to reduce the opportunities they have to offend.
Identifying those who are potential victims of modern slavery
There are many indictors that may suggest a person may be a potential victim of modern slavery. Indicators can include:
- They have few personal possessions
- They’re illegal tenants/ trespassers or are living in large groups in crowded or unsanitary conditions
- They show signs of physical neglect
- They travel in a large group and are closely monitored or controlled by a dominant individual
- Are mistrustful of authorities and are afraid of revealing their immigration status
- Work excessively long hours for low pay yet have very little of their own cash or earnings
Modern slavery can be found in a wide range of industries including restaurant work, car washes, nail bars, farms and factories, brothels, building sites, traveller sites, private homes, cleaning companies, care homes and managing cannabis farms.
Reporting possible modern slavery offences
Due to the fact that modern slavery is a hidden crime and often well organised, it can be difficult to spot even for professionals. It is therefore unlikely members of the public will be able to know a crime is occurring, however they may identify indicators and have a concern or suspicion that something isn’t right or that someone needs help.
Members of the public are encouraged to inform West Midlands Police if they suspect modern day slavery is occurring or if they spot indicators that mean someone or a group may be a victim(s). Members of the public should report incidents on 101 or in the case of an emergency via 999.
Find more about modern slavery here: https://www.west-midlands.police.uk/node/1044