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What is Modern Slavery?

Modern Slavery involves recruitment, harbouring and transporting people into a situation of exploitation through the use of violence, deception or coercion and forcing them to work against their will.

Modern Slavery can be hidden in plain sight and is happening here in Cumbria.

Modern Slavery takes many different forms but the most common forms are forced labour and criminal exploitation, sexual exploitation and domestic servitude. Victims are made to work in places such as brothels, car washes, factories, nail bars, cannabis farms, in agriculture and in people’s houses.

Members of the public have a role to play in putting a stop to such horrific crimes. If you spot the signs you can report it directly to the police or to the Modern Slavery Helpline. 08000 121 700

There are five different types of exploitation:

Sexual exploitation is any abuse of vulnerability for sexual purposes. Grooming is often used to gain a vulnerable person’s trust. Exploiters become their “best friend”, “best lover”, “best manager”, “best drug dealer”. The victim believes the love is genuine.

A person can be physically and / or psychologically forced into sexual activity, but they can also be sex workers who are exploited and forced to pay high sums to landlords and “managers”.

Forced labour refers to situations in which a person is coerced to work through the use of violence and / or psychological intimidation, such as accumulated debt, retention of ID, or threats of denunciation to the immigration authorities.

Forced labour occurs throughout the UK, often in low-skilled, low-wage jobs where labour standards and workers are unregulated, unlicensed or unenforced.

Typical sectors: agriculture, food processing and packaging, construction, tarmacking and paving, hotel, cleaning services, manufacturing (sweatshops).

Forced criminality is where a person is forced into criminal activity for another’s gain.

Common forms of forced criminality in the UK are cannabis cultivation, drug dealing, benefit fraud, theft, begging and the selling of counterfeit goods. People forced into criminality are often afraid to go to the authorities for fear they will end up in prison.

Domestic servitude is a form of modern slavery where domestic workers – often maids, house-keepers, cleaners, nannies, or those caring for the elderly, ill and infirm, are forced to work for little or no pay, with restricted freedom and often with an element of sexual abuse.

Migrant domestic workers with tied visas are particularly vulnerable because their right to stay in the UK can be withdrawn by their employer. If they run away, they are likely to be deported.

Because Domestic Servitude occurs in private houses, it is one of the most invisible forms of Modern Slavery.

Involves recruitment, harbouring or transporting people into a situation of exploitation through the use of violence, deception or coercion and forced to work against their will.

In other words trafficking is a process of enslaving people, coercing them into a situation with no way out and exploiting them.

People can be trafficked for many different forms of exploitation such as forced prostitution, forced labour, forced criminality, domestic servitude, forced marriage, forced organ removal and county lines.

County lines is about modern slavery, human trafficking and exploitation, alongside drug supply and violent crime. Organised Crime Groups and gangs run these networks, they are removed from the frontline activity of dealing drugs, instead recruiting children and vulnerable adults who are at high risk to transport and sell drugs on their behalf, often many miles from home.

Other forms of Exploitation include organ removal, forced marriage and illegal adoption.

Modern slavery who can you tell

We ask you to look closer. Could the signs be right in front of you? Is it happening where you live?

Spotting the Signs
  • Living in dirty, cramped or overcrowded accommodation.
  • Being dropped off and collected for work on a regular basis.
  • Showing signs of physical or psychological abuse
  • Look malnourished, unkempt or appear withdrawn
  • Possible dependency on drugs or alcohol
  • Fearful of others
  • Possibly have poor English – unable to communicate
  • Have very few personal possessions, often wear the same clothes and are poorly equipped for the job they are carrying out.
Whom do you contact if you have concerns?
  • The Police on 101 or in an emergency 999 or via Cumbria Constabulary Website on 101 email.
  • Crimestoppers 0800 555 111
  • Modern Slavery Helpline 08000 121 700
  • The Salvation Army 0300 303 8151

How can we help victims?

As soon as a victims contact us their safety will be our top priority. We will work with them and a number of trusted support agencies to give them protection, shelter and support.

We will investigate those involved and keep them informed about what is happening.

Leaflets have been developed in a number of languages that give advice to foreign workers in the UK, please see the links below: