Modern Day Slavery

24th August 2023

What is modern day slavery?

In the present day, modern slavery can be defined as the situation where individuals are exploited by others to gain personal or commercial benefits. This can involve manipulation, coercion, or even force, leading to a severe loss of freedom. While there is no typical profile for victims, this kind of exploitation tends to disproportionally affect the most vulnerable and socially excluded groups in society.



Types of modern day slavery

Modern day slavery consists of a number of ways to exploit and manipulate vulnerable people, here are some common scenarios:

  • Debt bondage pertains to a situation where overseas workers, often hailing from impoverished backgrounds, generate substantial debts in order to cover recruitment fees, travel costs, and assorted expenses related to securing employment abroad. This scenario can give rise to a cyclical pattern of indebtedness, wherein workers find themselves trapped. Ultimately, this cycle can render them vulnerable to exploitation or coercive labour practices.
  • Human trafficking involves the manipulation of workers’ vulnerabilities by traffickers, who employ deceptive tactics regarding the nature of the work they offer. Employing diverse methods to control and manipulate these workers, traffickers effectively curtail the individual’s ability to break free from the situation.
  • The skilled worker sponsorship system in the UK, while designed to attract skilled labour, can inadvertently foster modern-day slavery and exploitation. Debt accumulation, tied visas, power imbalances, and inadequate oversight create conditions where workers, often vulnerable newcomers, are coerced into unfavourable terms. A lack of awareness and isolation further exacerbate their vulnerability, making them susceptible to mistreatment and abuse.
Employers legal and social responsibilities  


  • Transparency in Supply Chains: Organisations with an annual turnover of £36 million or more are legally required to publish a slavery and human trafficking statement. This statement outlines the steps the organisation has taken to ensure that modern slavery is not taking place in their own business or their supply chains.

  • The Modern Slavery Act of 2015 compels larger businesses to annually disclose the actions they’ve taken to prevent modern slavery in their operations and supply chains.
  • Training and Awareness: Employers should provide training to employees and those in their supply chains on modern slavery awareness. This can help employees recognise the signs of exploitation and take appropriate action.
  • Policies and Procedures: Employers should have clear and comprehensive policies and procedures in place to address modern slavery. These policies should outline the organisation’s commitment to preventing modern slavery, reporting mechanisms for suspicions or incidents, and consequences for violations.
What do you need to be aware of?

However, be aware of The Illegal Migration Bill – which passed into law recently – making it even harder to support vulnerable victims. The new law allows the government to legally detain and remove all people who unlawfully enter the UK.

If you or anyone else you believe is a potential victim you must report this on the GOV website Report modern slavery – GOV.UK. You can also report modern slavery if you are a public member either online or via the contact number 0800 0121 700.

A procedure for detecting and referring possible modern slavery victims and ensuring they get the correct support is referred to as the National Referral Mechanism (NRM).

Considered to have a responsibility to contribute to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) since employers are on the current list of first responders, where staff at designated organisations can make referrals.

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