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Human trafficking and modern slavery

Human trafficking

Trafficking of people is a serious crime and a violation of Human Rights. A person is trafficked if they are brought to (or moved around) a country by others who threaten, frighten, hurt and force them to do work or other things they don’t want to do. Human Trafficking affects people of all ages, gender and race.

Modern slavery

There are many different characteristics that distinguish slavery from other human rights violations, however only one needs to be present for slavery to exist. Someone is in slavery if they are:

  • Forced to work - through mental or physical threat;
  • Owned or controlled by an 'employer', usually through mental or physical abuse or the threat of abuse;
  • Dehumanised, treated as a commodity or bought and sold as 'property';
  • Physically constrained or has restrictions placed on his/her freedom of movement

Contemporary slavery takes various forms and affects people of all ages, gender and races.

Modern Slavery is illegal.

Signs to recognise human trafficking and modern slavery

Suspicions may arise in a number of ways have you noticed any of the following at premises near to you:

  • Heavy presence of security personnel be it a farm, factory or building site
  • Barred windows, locked doors or surveillance cameras
  • Does it look like people are working and living at the same place, are the conditions cramped or overcrowded
  • Are “workers” collected very early and return late at night on a regular basis
  • Are they driven between premises
  • Is there a lack of safety equipment or appropriate clothing
  • Many victims may appear malnourished or show signs of bruises, other injury, their appearance may be unkempt
  • Victims may be isolated form the local community or under the control or influence of otherS

Forced labour/labour exploitation

Forced labour is a situation in which victims are forced to work against their own will under the threat of violence or some other form of punishment. Labour exploitation is placing a worker under extremely poor conditions such as very low wages, being forced to work long hours, having their movements supervised, living in very poor conditions and having their identification documents taken away to prevent them from leaving. Victims are typically forced to work in sectors including agriculture, food processing and packaging and construction

Child labour

Child labour is a form of work that is likely to be hazardous to the physical, mental or social development of children and interfere with their education. Children as young as 11 are sadly found in the sex industry or caught committing crimes such as pick pocketing.

Domestic servitude

Victims of domestic servitude may be physically or psychologically imprisoned in residential properties as domestic servants. Rich families exploit workers, making them work long hours for very little pay and no time off. Victims may find their movements restricted and live in poor accommodation, often in the loft or basement.

Debt Bondage

Debt bondage is when victims are offered a job abroad but arrive to find the job either doesn’t exist or isn’t what they expected. They are then trapped trying to pay off the cost of their travel and a job finding fee they may have been charged. In some cases families offer their children to a trafficker as payment towards their growing debt.

Sexual Exploitation

Commercial sexual exploitation includes pornography, prostitution and sex trafficking of men, women and children and is defined as the exploitation of a human beings in exchange for goods or money. Some sex trafficking such as prostitution is highly visible but much remains unseen in brothels, massage parlours, strip clubs and private accommodation.

What should I do if I suspect human trafficking or modern slavery?

For advice please contact the Modern Day Slavery Helpline 0800 0121 700.

Or please call Essex Police on 101 to report your suspicion or if you cannot phone use our report a non-emergency crime to provide the information (link). If you wish to remain anonymous you can report via crime stoppers 0800 555 111 or submit information via their Anonymous Online Form.

How can Essex Police help me as a victim?

Essex Police will believe you, your safety and welfare are paramount. Essex Police will work with you and our partner agencies through the UK Human Trafficking Centre and the Salvation Army to provide protection, shelter, and support for you. Essex Police will investigate and seek to bring to justice those who exploit others through Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery.

Where can I find more information?

You can download a leaflet giving further information in the following languages: Albanian, Czech, English, Hungarian, Lithuanian, Ugandan, Mandarin, Polish, Romanian, Slovakian, Vietnamese, Yoruba.

How do I get help?

Essex Police can be contacted on 101 or if you believe you are in immediate danger please call 999. If you would prefer you may contact the Modern Day Slavery Helpline on 0800 0121 700 or the Salvation Army on their 24-hour confidential Referral Helpline on 0300 3038 151 available 24 hours a day, seven days a week or via Email: [email protected]

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