Modern Slavery: How can we spot the signs?

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Modern slavery is an international problem which affects almost 50 million vulnerable people who have their basic human rights taken away. Modern slavery is still happening daily in the United Kingdom, but what is modern slavery? What more can we do to prevent it and how do we spot the signs so we can speak up when someone else feels like they can’t?


What is Modern Slavery? 

According to the UK Government, modern slavery is defined as: “the recruitment, movement, harbouring or receiving of children, women or men through the use of force, coercion, abuse of vulnerability, deception or other means for exploitation.” 

Victims of Modern Slavery are often:

  • Exploited
  • Controlled or held captive
  • Threatened or punished to stop them from escaping or reporting the crime


According to slavery experts, in the UK there is still a reported 100,000 people still suffering from modern slavery. 

Globally, 49.6 million people live in modern slavery with roughly a quarter of all those being children. One of the largest contributors to these figures is forced marriage, making up 22 million of all cases.

Most of those who fall victim to modern slavery are vulnerable individuals who have no one else to turn to for help. Those living in poverty are most vulnerable, with laws failing to protect them.   


How to spot the signs of Modern Slavery.

As listed by Unseen, below are signs someone suffering from modern slavery may show:

  • Isolation 
  • Restricted freedom of movement
  • Reluctance to seek help
  • Physical appearance
  • Poor living conditions
  • Unusual travel arrangements

If you see someone showing these symptoms, call the Modern Slavery & Exploitation Helpline free on 08000 121 700, which is confidential and open 24/7.


How can we fight Modern Slavery?

Fighting Modern Slavery can be challenging, but once you arm yourself with the correct knowledge it can make supporting others a lot easier. So how do we fight Modern Slavery?

  1. Educate yourself and others on the topic
  2. Know what signs you’re looking for 
  3. Be an informed consumer. Research your favourite brands at
  4. Spread awareness

Only together can we prevent Modern Slavery, if you want to learn more about what you can do to prevent this horrific crime, go to Unseen at