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What is Modern Slavery

Slavery remains a grim reality for millions of people across the world today and there is a strong chance that people living in your neighbourhood are being exploited and controlled by others. It is our perception of ‘a slave’ that needs to change to catch up with the reality of what being a slave means in the UK in the 21st century.

In Hampshire and the Isle of Wight 253 individuals were recognised as potential victims of trafficking till June 2023. Many more are likely to be living in exploitative circumstances by human traffickers but are too afraid to seek help or support from statutory organisations such as the police.


Types of modern slavery

There are many different types of exploitation and areas that are considered high risk – these include, but are not limited to: (roll over the panels and click to explore each area)

SEXUAL EXPLOITATION: Adult entertainment industry, brothels, hotels, lap/pole dancing clubs, massage parlours, online streaming, saunas, street based prostitution

LABOUR EXPLOITATION: Agricultural farms, begging, cannabis farm (domestic house/warehouse), car wash, care homes, construction industry, catering trade (restaurants/take-aways), distributing charity bags, factories (e.g. fruit picking, chicken factories, etc.), market stalls/boot sales, nail bars, scrap metal dealers, sea farers, ship crews.

DOMESTIC SERVITUDE: child carers – nanny/au pair, cleaners, maids.

EU STATUS EXPLOITATION: forced marriage, sham marriage

FORCED CRIMINALITY: begging, cannabis cultivation, illegally working, sham marriage, theft.

FINANCIAL EXPLOITATION: benefit fraud, pay day loan

ORGAN HARVESTING: removal of eggs for black market sale, removal of organs for black market sale.


Victims of modern slavery

Anyone can become a victim of modern slavery – any age, race or gender. Modern slaves are sold like objects, forced to work for little or no pay, live in fear and squalor, have their freedom restricted and are at the mercy of their employers. We can all play a role if we are going to stop modern slavery in the UK.

In 2022, the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) received 16,938 referrals of potential victims of modern slavery, which represents a 33% increase in referrals compared to the preceding year (12,706).

Of the potential victims referred in 2022, just under half claimed that the exploitation occurred in the UK only, whilst 41% claimed that the exploitation took place overseas only.

Just over half 52% (8,854) were for potential victims who claimed they were exploited as adults whilst 41% (7,019) were for individuals who claimed exploitation as children.

The most common type of exploitation for adults was labour exploitation and for children was criminal exploitation

Potential victims from the Albania, UK and Eritrea were the three most common nationalities to be referred in the NRM.

You can find out more about statistics from the NRM 2022 report


Who are the perpetrators?

Just like anyone can be a victim, traffickers and slave drivers also do not have a visible profile. However there are some patterns as explained by the Government.

The Government states:

“Traffickers involved in the recruitment phase are often of the same nationality as their victims, but at other stages of the process organised crime groups increasingly use the services available to them, regardless of nationality, in order to maximise profitability.”

However, not all modern slavery crime is perpetrated by organised criminal gangs. We know that some perpetrators are opportunistic individuals, who take advantage of the vulnerable. Some modern slavery crime is carried out through informal arrangements by individuals known to, and in some cases related to, the victim. This is particularly true of those who subject victims to domestic servitude.


Methods of control

Human traffickers and slave drivers use many methods of control to keep victims dependent so they can exploit them.

Control can be through giving false promises (offers of pay, job, perks), withholding of passport/ID documentation, drugs and alcohol dependency, restricting contact with outside world (from family, basic services), emotional abuse, physical abuse or threat of violence or death. This list is by no means definitive and there are many more methods of control used.

If you suspect someone is being controlled by another and may potentially be a modern slave then report it right away.