What is modern slavery?

Anyone can become a victim of modern slavery, although the risk is increased when someone experiences poverty, mental health issues, drug addiction, homelessness, political instability and social exclusion. This means UK nationals can also be victims of slavery. The Home Office recently estimated there were approximately 10,000 -13,000 slaves in the UK today.

Victims of slavery are often:

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

Almost all forms of modern slavery include some element of forced labour, which is ‘any work or services people are forced to do against their will’.  If someone has been moved into a situation of exploitation using deception, coercion of violence then this would constitute ‘trafficking’.  In the UK, people are most commonly trafficked for sexual exploitation, forced labour, forced marriage and domestic servitude.

Visit ‘Modern Slavery Factsheets’ page to download our factsheets about the main forms of slavery that are currently occurring across the United Kingdom.