One particularly awful type of exploitation is known as ‘modern slavery’. Even though most people think that slavery only exists in other countries, modern slavery in the UK is a big problem. The Government estimates that over 10,000 people are in modern slavery in the UK today. Some of those people are children.
Slaves may work because they owe criminals lots of money, and have to work to pay off this ‘debt’. People are usually tricked into being in debt. Most often, criminals will never give their slaves enough money to pay off their debt though. Many victims are told that their families will be harmed if they report the slave owners. Many slaves are forced to work in people’s homes as cleaners or cooks. Most people are brought into the UK from other countries, but there are also a lot of people born in the UK who are slaves. The most common countries people come from are Albania, Vietnam, Nigeria, Romania and Poland.
Children are most likely to be forced into crime such as cannabis (marijuana/weed) production, petty theft (stealing wallets, little things from shops, ect.) or begging.
Forced prostitution is a type of modern slavery. This is when a criminal forces someone over 18 to have sex with other people for money. The criminal usually keeps all the money. This is a type of sexual exploitation, that can happen to young people and children.
Remember, you can always contact Childline on 0800 1111 and ring 999 for emergencies. Contact the police on 101 to report a crime or a problem you might be experiencing related to gangs, trafficking or exploitation.