Modern slavery is real and is happening all around us. We can all play a part in stamping out exploitation by knowing what to look out for and reporting any concerns to the Modern Slavery Helpline (0800 012 1700) or online at www.modernslaveryhelpine.org/report
Things to look out for include:
Physical Appearance, the person shows signs of physical or psychological abuse, looks malnourished or unkempt is anxious or agitated or appears withdrawn and neglected. They may have untreated injuries
Isolation, the person is rarely allowed to travel on their own, seems under the control or influence of others, rarely interacts or appears unfamiliar with their neighbourhood or where they work. In addition, relationships might not seem right – for example a young teenager appearing to be the boyfriend or girlfriend of a much older adult.
Poor Living Conditions, the person is living in dirty, cramped or overcrowded accommodation, and/or living and working at the same address
Restricted Freedom of Movement, the person has no identification documents, has few personal possessions and always wears the same clothes day in day out. What clothes they do wear may not be suitable for their work. They may also have little opportunity to move freely and may have had their travel documents retained, e.g. passports
Unusual Travel Times, they may dropped off or collected for work on a regular basis either very early or late at night or have unusual travel arrangements, such as children being dropped off/picked up in private cars/ taxis at unusual times and in places where it isn’t clear why they’d be there.
Reluctant to Seek Help, the person may avoid eye contact, appear frightened or hesitant to talk to strangers and 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.
Our concerns were recently raised in this regard with a new starter to one of our clients. The employee, a non-EU citizen was unable to provide their passport to confirm their eligibility to working in the UK, claiming that this had been sent off with their visa renewal application. They were able to provide confirmation of a visa renewal application but the address on the letter was an address in another city, allegedly their mother’s address. The employee also asked to be paid in to someone else’s bank account.
The good news is that our investigation, supported by the Modern Slavery Helpline concluded that our concerns were unfounded.
For more more information on modern slavery, workforce exploitation, sexual exploitation, domestic servitude or criminal exploitation, give us a call.