There are “tens of thousands” potential victims in the UK today. They are seemingly invisible but are enslaved within our very own communities. Local people and communities play a crucial role in the fight to end modern slavery. CCAT have compiled a list of signs to look out for, if you feel something is amiss please report it:
• Victims may live in substandard accommodation, they may also work at the same address
• Faces that can be seen at windows often looking stressed and never smiling
• Signs of physical or psychological abuse e.g. appear withdrawn, frightened, afraid to engage in conversation
• They may not be permitted to travel alone and interact with others
• Do not have freedom of movement and may well have their ID/travel documents removed
• Few or no personal possessions e.g. wearing the same clothes daily
• Have no days off or holiday time
• Appear nervous around ‘family member’ or ‘interpreter’
• May be transported to and from work every day
Additionally, the public can play a part in reporting slavery in their locality by being mindful of the following signs:
• House or flat curtains closed during much of the day
• Frequent visitors to residential premises, often a stream of men arriving and leaving at unusual times
• Home delivery meals that result in excessive packaging left outside e.g. lots of pizza boxes Places where ‘special services’ are offered at a low price often advertised as having particular ethnicity and where the “workers” appear underage or speak no or little English
• Teenage girls who seem unhappy, living with older, unrelated males
• Commercial premises (including restaurants and local hotels) that survive despite a clear lack of regular business
• Low price deals offered at the door involving cheap labour and invariably for cash e.g. offers for a new drive or new paving
Many victims are unaware of their rights to protection in the UK including laws around minimum wage, holidays and health and safety. They do not know whom to trust or where to seek help. Often they are living under threat of violence to themselves or their loved ones.
Please do NOT try to engage with the victim and ask them probing questions as this can compromise their safety as well as yours. We strongly advise you report anyone in immediate danger to the police and suspicions to the Modern Slavery helpline (0800 0121 700). For suspicions related to child trafficking please call Croydon Children Social Services on 0208 726 6400.
You can also contact CCAT for advice.