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Modern slavery and human trafficking

Modern slavery is the act of exercising control or ownership over another person and using this power to exploit them.

Modern slavery can take many forms, such as:

  • forced labour – forcing someone to work against their will, often working very long hours for little or no pay, in poor conditions under verbal or physical threats of violence to them or their families
  • sexual exploitation – forcing someone to perform non-consensual or abusive acts against their will
  • criminal exploitation – forcing someone into crimes against their will, such as cannabis cultivation or pick-pocketing
  • debt bondage – forcing someone to work to pay off debts that realistically they will never be able to do due to low wages or increased debts
  • domestic servitude – forcing someone to carry out housework or domestic chores in private households with little or no pay, restricted movement, very limited or no free time and mini9mal privacy, often sleeping where they work

Human trafficking

Human trafficking is a form of modern slavery. It is a criminal act that involves the movement of persons with the intent to exploit them. Trafficking can occur within the same street, within the UK, across county boarders, and also internationally. People are victims of human trafficking if they have been moved for the purposes of exploitation, even if this exploitation is yet to take place.

People can be trafficked for many different forms of exploitation such as forced prostitution, forced labour, forced begging, forced criminality, forced marriage, domestic servitude and forced organ removal.

Traffickers and ‘slave masters’ use whatever means they have at their disposal to coerce, deceive and force individuals into a life of abuse, servitude and inhumane treatment.

Getting help

Modern Slavery Helpline

The Modern Slavery Helpline and Resource centre provides victims, the public, statutory agencies and businesses access to information and support on a 24/7 basis.

08000 121 700

The Salvation Army Human Trafficking Helpline

The Salvation Army provides specialist support for all adult victims of modern slavery in England and Wales.

0300 303 8151

Safer Devon

If there is the potential for you to encounter people who are vulnerable to exploitation through your job, whether it's paid or voluntary work, please refer to this toolkit.

If you are concerned that an adult is at risk please call

0345 155 1007

or email

If it’s an emergency call 999