Neighbourhood Watch Toolkit – Spotlight on Modern slavery

Hull: Yorkshire Focus on Funding Event
3rd August 2018
Healthwatch Hull – People and Carers event
3rd August 2018

Neighbourhood Watch Toolkit – Spotlight on Modern slavery

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.

Key information:-

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.


  • The property seems too small for the numbers of people that appear to live there, and seems badly looked after
  • There are bars or reflective coatings covering the windows or the curtains are always drawn
  • People appear to be bundled in and out of the property by others, often during darkness
  • Large numbers of young women have suddenly been moved in to the property, which then receives lots of visitors day and night
  • There are signs that electricity has been tacked on from neighbouring properties or directly from power lines


  • Employees at your local café, hotel, car wash or nail bar are reticent to engage with customers, or are not properly dressed for the work, or are scruffy and malnourished
  • Employees on a building site, farm or car wash are not wearing appropriate clothing or safety gear for the job.  They may not have warm enough clothes for the weather.  There may be signs that people both live and work on site

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.

What should you do if you suspect modern day slavery is occurring?

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.