Modern Slavery

What is Modern Slavery?

Modern slavery is the recruitment, movement, harboring or receiving of children, women or men through the use of force, coercion, abuse of vulnerability, deception or other means for the purpose of exploitation.  It is a crime under the Modern Slavery Act 2015.  This page provides guidance in relation to adult victims.  For information on responding to a child or young person, please view the modern slavery page on the Redbridge Safeguarding Children Partnership (RSCP) website.

Someone is in slavery if they are:

  • forced to work through coercion, or mental or physical threat;
  • trapped and controlled by an ’employer’, through mental or physical abuse or threat of abuse;
  • dehumanised, treated as a commodity or bought and sold as ‘property’;
  • physically constrained or have restrictions placed on their freedom of movement.

There are different features of modern slavery including:

  • ownership being exercised over an individual;
  • servitude which involves the obligation to provide services imposed by coercion or pressure;
  • forced labour involving work extracted from someone under the menace of a penalty for which the individual has not voluntarily offered themselves;
  • human trafficking including arranging or facilitating travel of another both within a country and internationally with a view to exploiting them.

Types of Slavery and Human Trafficking

Common examples are:

  • Sex Trafficking – women, men or children that are forced into the commercial sex industry.
  • Domestic Servitude – ’employees’ working in private homes under pressure and being told that they have no option to leave.
  • Forced Labour – individuals being compelled to work under the threat of violence and for no pay, being treated as ‘property’.
  • Bonded Labour – individuals being completed to work in order to repay a debt and unable to leave until the debit is repaid.
  • County Lines – individuals being used by criminal networks and gangs to move drugs between areas.

Indicators of Modern Slavery

Some general indicators that an adult is experiencing modern slavery include:

  • Expression of fear or anxiety
  • Poor mental health, low self-esteem or mood
  • Distrust or fear of authorities
  • Signs of psychological trauma, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Injuries indicative of an assault or because they have not had access to the right equipment or protective clothing whilst at work
  • Evidence of control over movement, e.g. not having access to passport or ID documents; not knowing their address
  • Lack of access to medical care
  • Appearing to be suffering from neglect, possibly through lack of access to washing facilities or clean clothing

Getting Support

If you, or someone you know may be at risk of modern slavery, contact the Local Authority on 020 8708 7333 (Option 2) or by e-mailing:

The Council, as a ‘First Responder’ can consider using the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) to report the case and refer potential victims for support and protection or completing a duty to notify (DtN).  Other ‘first responders’ include the policeThe Salvation Army, Unseen and the National Crime Agency.  A full list is available here.

The National Modern Slavery Helpline can be contacted via 0800 0121700 or a concern can be raised using the on-line form.

Victim Support can also help victims of modern slavery.  They can be contacted on a free support phone line 08081689111 or use the ‘live chat’ service on their website.

If someone is at an immediate and serious risk, call the Police on 999.

A sheet containing contact information for agencies that support victims of modern slavery can be downloaded via the link below:

Checkout out our One Minute Guide:


Below are some leaflets about specific areas of work where modern slavery could occur which are available in different languages: