Someone is in slavery if they are:
Human trafficking involves recruitment, harbouring or transporting people into a situation of exploitation through the use of violence, deception or coercion and forced to work against their will.
An estimated 40.3 million men, women, and children were victims of modern slavery on any given day in 2016 (International Labour Office & Walk Free Foundation, 2017). Of these, an estimated 24.9 million people were in forced labour and 15.4 million people were living in a forced marriage. The current Global Estimates do not cover all forms of modern slavery; for example, organ trafficking, child soldiers, or child marriage that could also constitute forced marriage are not able to be adequately measured at this time (Global Slavery Index, 2018).
In 2020, the Centre for Social Justice report, called It Still Happens Here suggested that the number of men, women and/or children affected by modern slavery and or trafficking may be around 100,000-110,000. This may be:
The RCN's leaflet Modern Slavery Wheel identifies the key signs and what nursing staff should do if they suspect it is happening.
If you suspect that a person is a victim of slavery, this is a safeguarding issue.
You should trust and act on your professional instinct that something is not quite right. It is usually a combination of triggers, an inconsistent story and a pattern of symptoms that may cause you to suspect trafficking.
If you have any concerns about a child, young person or adult take immediate action to ask further questions and get additional information and support. It is important to remember that:
There are a number of steps you can take if you have identified someone is a victim of trafficking:
See the RCN resources for nurses designed to help recognise the signs and help direct people on what to do for those they suspect are victims of modern slavery:
You can call 08000 121 700 to get confidential help, report a suspicion or seek advice.
Forced marriage is the term used to describe a legally binding relationship, where one or both partners married without their consent or against their will. It can occur to anyone of any age, sexual orientation, any ability, including those with learning disabilities, and includes relationships entered into with full consent if one or both are later forced to stay in the marriage against their will. It is a safeguarding issue, and one all healthcare professionals should be aware of. A fact sheet can be found here. See also further information on forced marriage.
The National Commission on Forced Marriage is an independent body founded in 2013. It raises awareness of forced marriage, so that individuals, families, and communities understand that forced marriage is against the law in the UK, through inquires and research. It also examines, advises and publicly reports on the practice of forced marriage across England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
The 2018 Global Slavery Index provides a country by country ranking of the number of people in modern slavery, as well as an analysis of the actions governments are taking to respond, and the factors that make people vulnerable. The UK is ranked thus:
136,000 Estimated number of people living in modern slavery
2/1000 Estimated proportion of population living in modern slavery
11.13/100 Vulnerability to modern slavery