What is Modern Slavery?
Modern slavery, also known as “the hidden crime”, is often used as an umbrella term for a range of harmful practices in which children and vulnerable adults are exploited for the benefits of others. Examples of modern slavery include human trafficking, domestic servitude, forced labour and criminal exploitation (County Lines drug supply/cuckooing).
Why are people in slavery today?
Many individuals are currently being exploited due to vulnerable circumstances which may include: poverty or economic hardship, personal or family problems, peer pressure or coercion, a lack of education or employment opportunities, school exclusion, mental health difficulties, behavioural problems, experience of the care system, and a lack of awareness or an understanding of the risks and consequences. These individuals may be trapped or deceived, and their exploitation is often a result of their disadvantaged position.
It is likely that external circumstances, such as a desire to improve one’s own life and the lives of loved ones may lead individuals currently being exploited to make risky decisions to pursue opportunities that they believe will bring about such improvements.
What is an example of Modern Slavery in the United Kingdom?
Modern slavery is closer than you think; there are numerous cases of modern slavery in the United Kingdom involving the exploitation of children, some of whom are groomed into participating in County Lines drug trafficking and others who face sexual abuse.
One of the most widely publicised cases in modern slavery involved the grooming and trafficking of girls for sexual exploitation in Rochdale and Oxford. It is important to note that these types of crimes are ongoing and occur on a daily basis in the UK; often they go unreported or remain hidden until somebody comes to the attention of the Criminal Justice System.
Modern slavery may also involve individuals from other countries who come to the UK in search of a better life. These individuals may be lured with the promise of employment, only to find that they have been deceived once they arrive.
It is important that we take responsibility for educating professionals and the general public about modern slavery in order to identify and address this “hidden crime”. By increasing awareness and understanding of the signs of modern slavery, we can work towards eradicating these deplorable crimes.
If you feel that you may be a victim of exploitation, you can contact us confidentially.