When the Neighbourhood Network team attended a seminar last month we were astonished at the facts and figures of the recent rise in Modern Slavery. Here we wish to share with our members a few bits of information and the signs to look out for to help identify if this is going on in your area.
Although most people think that slavery only happens overseas, there is thought to be as many as 13,000 people in modern slavery in the UK.
They are extremely vulnerable men, women and children who are abused for criminal profit, often forced to live in squalor and work long hours for little or no wages. They are stripped of their freedom and human rights, and suffer enormous trauma.
Large numbers of people are trafficked into the UK from abroad, mainly from Vietnam, Nigeria, Romania, Albania, and Poland, but other countries too. However, there are also a significant and growing number of British nationals living in slavery here.
Many victims of modern slavery are forced to labour in industries such as agriculture, construction, nail bars, hospitality, manufacturing and car washes. Many women and girls are trafficked for sexual exploitation; others for domestic slavery – cooking, cleaning, washing, looking after children or elderly relatives. Children are often forced to commit crimes such as pickpocketing, bag snatching, cannabis growing or begging.
How to spot the signs:-
There are a number of indicators that can be signs that someone is a victim of modern slavery. Some of the key indicators are below.
These are just a few indicators that something could not be right. If you follow the link below it will take to you to the Neighbourhood Watch website where further indicator information can be seen, along with a short video of how slavery could be taking place at your typical Car-wash or Nail bar.
You can call the police on 101, or there is a Modern Slavery Helpline, 08000 121 700, which you can call to get help, report a suspicion, or seek advice.
There is also a 24-hour Referral Helpline hosted by the Salvation Army on 0300 3038151.