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Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking

Modern Slavery is the term used within the UK and is defined within the Modern Slavery Act 2015. The Act categorises offences of Slavery, Servitude and Forced or Compulsory Labour and Human Trafficking (The United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime (also know as the Palermo Protocol) is the internationally accepted definition of human trafficking. This was signed by the United Kingdom on 14 December 2000 and ratified on 9 February 2006).

These crimes include holding a person in a position of slavery , servitude forced or compulsory labour, or facilitating their travel with the intention of exploiting them soon after.

Although human trafficking often involves an international cross-border element, it is also possible to be a victim of modern slavery within your own country.

It is possible to be a victim even if consent has been given to be moved.

Children cannot give consent to being exploited therefore the element of coercion or deception does not need to be present to prove an offence.

There are several broad categories of exploitation linked to human trafficking, including:

  • Sexual exploitation
  • Forced labour
  • Domestic servitude
  • Organ harvesting
  • Child related crimes such as child sexual exploitation, forced begging, illegal drug cultivation, organised theft, related benefit frauds etc.
  • Forced marriage and illegal adoption (if other constituent elements are present)

Modern Slavery helpline 08000 121 700

The Home Office have issued Modern Slavery Awareness and Victim Identification guidance and Statutory Guidance for England and Wales

The National Referral Mechanism (NRM) is a framework for identifying and referring potential victims of modern slavery and ensuring they receive the appropriate support. This film explains a little more about the NRM process and there is a recorded Webinar available here

the Digital National Referral Mechanism (NRM) Referral Form was made available to all First Responders from 29 August 2019. The online process allows First Responders to submit an NRM referral or Duty to Notify through a single online form regardless of their location in the UK, or whether the victim is an adult or child. The form has been designed to be responsive, and will change depending on the options selected. The form can be accessed through the following link:

There is separate guidance for children and adults . There is government guidance on reporting modern slavery as a first responder.

Once an NRM has been completed by a First Responder and submitted. The NRM team has a target date of 5 working days from receipt of referral in which to decide whether there are reasonable grounds to believe the individual is a potential victim of human trafficking or modern slavery. This may involve seeking additional information from the first responder or from specialist NGOs or social services. The threshold at Reasonable Grounds stage for the trained decision makers is; “from the information available so far I believe but cannot prove” that the individual is a potential victim of trafficking or modern slavery.

If the decision is affirmative then the potential victim will be:

  • allocated a place within Government funded safe house accommodation, if required
  • granted a reflection and recovery period of 45 calendar days. This allows the victim to begin to recover from their ordeal and to reflect on what they want to do next, for example, co-operate with police as required, return home et.

In The West Midlands the support for the above is provided by Black Country Women’s Aid

The West Midlands has Independent Child Trafficking Advocates who will provide direct work to young people “separated from country and family” unless that family is linked to their exploitation. a referral for this service is available here

The Home Office has published guidance on the role and process of the multi-agency assurance panels (MAAPs). MAAPs are made up of professionals who have experience of working with victims of modern slavery. They have been established to look at cases where a decision has been made that a person is not a victim of modern slavery and can request that a case be reviewed if they consider the decision has not been made in line with guidance.

The NSPCC have produced a range of leaflets in a variety of languages for people who have been trafficked from another country to the UK

Each leaflet explains:

  • what words like “refugee”, “asylum seeker” and “trafficking” mean
  • what help is available for children who have come to the UK from another country
  • who to ask for help
  • how to ask for help

Every Child Protected Against Trafficking (ECPAT UK) have produced FAQ’s on Child Trafficking 

If you suspect that you or someone you have come across may be an adult victim of modern slavery and in need of help, please contact The Salvation Army’s confidential and anonymous referral helpline on 0800 808 3733 – available 365 days a year, 24/7 with interpretation services where needed.

West Midlands Violence Reduction Partnership – Good Practice Working with Vietnamese Missing & Trafficked Children