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Modern Slavery


Modern slavery is the illegal exploitation of people for personal or commercial gain. In its wider sense, it often includes:

  • sexual exploitation
  • forced or bonded labour
  • human trafficking
  • criminal exploitation
  • financial exploitation
  • domestic servitude
  • child slavery
  • offences under the Protection of Children Act 1978 or the Sexual Offences Act 2003
  • forced or early marriage

Someone is in slavery if they are forced to work; owned or controlled by an 'employer'; dehumanised; treated as a commodity or property; or have restrictions placed on their freedom of movement.

There is no typical victim of slavery. Victims can be men, women and children of all ages, ethnicities and nationalities.

Signs of modern slavery

The signs of slavery are often hidden, making it difficult to recognise victims. Here are some of the common signs you can be aware of:

  • Physical appearance: victims may show signs of physical or psychological abuse. They may look malnourished or unkempt or appear withdrawn.
  • Isolation: victims may rarely be allowed to travel on their own or seem under the control and influence of others. They may rarely interact or appear unfamiliar with their neighbourhood or where they work.
  • Poor living conditions: victims may be living in dirty, cramped or overcrowded accommodation, or living and working at the same address.
  • Few or no personal items: victims may have no identification documents, and very few personal possessions. They may always wear the same clothes. What clothes they do wear may not be suitable for the work they do.
  • Unusual travel times: they may be dropped off or collected for work on a regular basis either very early or late at night
  • Reluctant to seek help: victims may avoid eye contact or appear frightened or hesitant to talk to strangers. They may fear law enforcers for many reasons, such as not knowing who to trust or where to get help, fear of deportation, fear of violence to them or their family.

Report a concern

In an emergency, always call 999

Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700 to get help, report a suspicion or seek advice

Staffordshire Police call 101

Staffordshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Office website

Staffordshire County Council Modern Day Policy Statement

This statement sets out the steps Staffordshire County Council are taking to help detect and prevent modern slavery and human trafficking in our services, businesses and supply chains.

Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement (153 KB)

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