Modern Slavery

Modern slavery is a growing problem globally and can take many forms, including the coercion, exploitation, deception and/or trafficking of people for labour, sex, criminality, organ removal, marriage and servitude.
Although slavery is illegal in every country, it still happens all over the world, including in Hertfordshire. It can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender and ethnicity.

Spotting the Signs

The signs of modern slavery and exploitation are often hidden, making it difficult to recognise potential victims.

However, the most common signs are:

  • Restricted freedom of movement and/or isolation.
  • No identification documents and/or these documents being held by someone else.
  • Poor working and/or living conditions.
  • Unusual travel times to and from work and/or unidentified locations.
  • Fear and/or reluctance to seek help.
  • Lack of knowledge and/or dependency on others.
  • Poor physical appearance (signs of abuse, unexplained injuries and/or malnourishment).
  • Few personal possessions and/or clothes.

Signs specific to children could also include:

  • An unknown adult caring for a child i.e. an absent parent or legal guardian.
  • Several unrelated children found at a single address.
  • Frequently moving or travelling to/from different locations.
  • Poor school attendance and withdrawal from activities, family, friends etc.
  • Tiredness and/or aggression.
  • Travelling unaccompanied by an adult and/or in groups with persons who are not relatives.
  • Use of inappropriate and/or over-sexualised language.
  • Association with known or suspected gang members.

More information to support you in spotting the signs can be found on the Stop Exploitation website which includes advice for different industries, including signs for specific industries.

Reporting Modern Slavery or Exploitation

  • In an emergency, call 999.
  • In a non-emergency, call 101 (request for the modern slavery unit).
  • If you have a suspicion or concern, but are unsure whether to act on it, call the 24/7 charity-run Modern Slavery Helpline anonymously on 08000 121 700 or report online. With access to interpreters in 200 languages, expert advisers can provide free and confidential advice and support.

Exploiters and traffickers are dangerous criminals, therefore it is vital that members of the public do not attempt to act on suspicions themselves, as they may put themselves or the victims at risk.

Hertfordshire’s Response

The Hertfordshire Modern Slavery Partnership brings together more than sixty agencies and charities from across the county to tackle modern slavery and human trafficking in all its forms. It is made up of representatives from Hertfordshire County Council, the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office for Hertfordshire, Shiva Foundation, Hertfordshire Constabulary, district and borough councils, clinical commissioning groups and NHS Trusts, charities, government agencies and more. In December 2018, the Partnership was scrutinised by Hertfordshire County Council as part of a Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Topic Group. The full report can be found here. The following resources have been developed by the Partnership for public use:

Additional Partnership resources and training materials can also be found on the Hertfordshire Modern Slavery Partnership website