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  • Modern slavery: Spotting the signs and reporting concerns

Modern slavery: Spotting the signs and reporting concerns

Men, women and children of all ages, nationalities and from all backgrounds, can be victims of modern slavery.

They are tricked or threatened into work and may feel unable to leave or report the crime through fear or intimidation.  They may not even recognise themselves as a victim.

Below are some indicators that someone may be the victim of exploitation. 

Signs - the person

  • Scruffy and unkempt
  • Malnourished and exhausted
  • Poor hygiene
  • Bruises, cuts and other untreated injuries
  • Traumatised
  • Unsuitably dressed for work they are carrying out
  • Always wearing same clothes
  • Branded with a tattoo to indicate ownership (victims of sexual exploitation)
  • Anxious/agitated
  • Scared/intimidated
  • Under the control and influence of drugs/drink
  • Giving a story which seems rehearsed/scripted
  • Unable to make eye contact
  • Allowing others to speak on their behalf
  • Unfamiliar with their surroundings
  • Unaware of their home address details
  • Fearful & mistrustful of authorities

Signs - the environment and freedom

  • Working excessive hours
  • No contract for employment or accommodation
  • Accommodation is dirty, cramped, & overcrowded. Lacks sanitation
  • Sleeping at premises at which they work
  • Being isolated from the local community and their family
  • Reluctant to take payment directly
  • Transported to and from the workplace together, under the control of others
  • They have few personal possessions
  • They are not in possession of their passport or ID documents, mobile phone
  • Not allowed to travel alone
  • Access to their earnings is denied or restricted
  • Believe they have a debt to pay off
  • They do not have access to a bank account
  • Not accessing or able to access medical care
  • No way of contacting others

If you suspect someone is a victim

Remember that victims may not identify as victims so will say they are ok or will have a script, trust your judgment; remember the signs!

Last updated: 17/11/2023