Anti-Slavery Day takes place on 18 October and aims to raise awareness of human trafficking and modern slavery, encouraging people to take action to tackle the problem.
Modern slavery exists in many forms, including trafficking into criminal activities like cannabis farming, sexual exploitation, domestic slavery or forced labour on farms, in construction, shops, nail bars, car washes, or manufacturing. Put simply, it’s the exploitation of other people for personal or commercial gain.
It can happen anywhere to anyone, but some areas and people are more vulnerable than others. You might even see people trapped in slavery without knowing it.
The number of people identified as victims of modern slavery is rising year on year, with over 12,000 people referred to the authorities in 2021. But the real number of victims is estimated to be much higher – more than 130,000 people.
In 2021, criminal exploitation was the most common form of slavery in the UK. Criminal exploitation is often driven by the growth and sale of drugs, especially by exploiting children. This includes children forced into ‘county lines’ drug trafficking, which involves transporting drugs from one area to another.
So, what signs should you look for?
Someone in slavery might:
- appear to be under the control of someone else
- not have personal identification on them
- have few personal belongings, wear the same clothes every day or wear unsuitable clothes for work
- not be able to move around freely
- be reluctant to talk to strangers or the authorities
- appear frightened, or show signs of physical or psychological abuse
- dropped off and collected for work always in the same way, especially at unusual times, i.e. very early or late at night.
If you’ve concerns that someone living in a Southern Housing home could be a victim of modern slavery, or if you need support, visit our dedicated web page to get in touch.
You can also contact the Modern Slavery and Exploitation Helpline on 08000 121 700 or by visiting www.modernslaveryhelpline.org.