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Modern Slavery

Slavery is the status or condition of a person over whom any or all of the powers attaching to the right of ownership are exercised.

Victims of modern slavery may be;

  • forced to work – through coercion, or mental or physical threat;
  • owned or controlled by an ’employer’, through mental or physical abuse or the threat of abuse;
  • dehumanised, treated as a commodity or bought and sold as ‘property’;
  • physically constrained or have restrictions placed on their freedom of movement

Many people think that slavery happens only overseas, in developing countries. In fact, no country is free from modern slavery, even Britain. The Government estimates that there are tens of thousands people in modern slavery in the UK.

Modern slavery can affect people of any age, gender or race. However, contrary to a common misconception that everyone can be a victim of slavery, some groups of people are much more vulnerable to slavery than others.

People who live in poverty and have limited opportunities for decent work are more vulnerable to accepting deceptive job offers that can turn exploitative. People who are discriminated against on grounds of race, caste, or gender are also more likely to be enslaved. Slavery is also more likely to occur where the rule of law is weaker and corruption is rife.

Further information

Modern Slavery Act 2015

Home Office: A Typology of Modern Slavery Offences in the UK – Oct 2017

Useful links and publications

Home Office: Modern Slavery Awareness and Victim Identification Guide

Home Office: Modern slavery training resource page – updated 4 May 2018