We think of slavery as a thing of the past. However, there are more people trapped in slavery today than at any other time in human history.
Modern day slavery and human trafficking are about the exploitation of a human being by means of force, fraud or coercion, for commercial or personal gain.
This is happening today in every country in the world, including the UK, and affecting individuals of any age, ethnicity, gender or nationality.
The hidden nature of modern slavery makes it impossible to accurately identify the number of victims, therefore it is safe to say that the following statistics are conservative.
Modern slavery is hidden
in plain sight.
262 modern slavery crimes were recorded in the Thames Valley alone
Today over 40 million people are estimated to be trapped in slavery worldwide.
1 in 4 are children.
Over 71% are women and girls.
[International Labour Organization, 2017]
Modern slavery is hidden in plain sight.
But how does it come about?
People can become entrapped making our clothes, serving our food, picking our crops, working in factories, or working in houses as cooks, cleaners or nannies.
From the outside, it can look like a normal job, but people are being controlled – they can face violence or threats, be forced into inescapable debt, or have had their passport taken away and are being threatened with deportation.
People end up trapped in modern slavery because they are vulnerable to being tricked, trapped and exploited, often as a result of poverty and exclusion. It is these external circumstances that push people into taking risky decisions in search of opportunities to provide for their families, or are simply pushed into jobs in exploitative conditions.
What trafficking really means is girls groomed and forced into sexual exploitation; men tricked into accepting risky job offers and trapped in forced labour in building sites, farms or factories; and women recruited to work in private homes only to be trapped, exploited and abused behind closed doors with no way out.
People don’t have to be transported across borders for trafficking to take place. In fact, transporting or moving the victim doesn’t define trafficking – it can take place within a single country, or even within a single community.
[Source: Anti-Slavery International]
There are many forms of modern day slavery. These include:
Exploitation in the commercial sex trade (prostitution, pornography, cybersex trafficking)
Forcing someone to work against their will for little or no pay
Coercing someone to work in order to pay off an incurred debt
Being forced to work in a private residence for little or no pay generally as a cleaner, cook or nanny
Coercing people to participate in criminal activities such as forced begging, theft and County Lines.
Forcing someone to marry against their will. Different from arranged marriages and shows links to sexual exploitation and domestic servitude
The removal of someone’s organs in order to sell them on the black market
Taking over a person’s home and using the property to facilitate exploitation, most often for drug dealing or sex work