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.
In other words, trafficking is a process of enslaving people, coercing them into a situation with no way out, and exploiting them.
People can be trafficked for many different forms of exploitation such as forced prostitution, forced labour, forced begging, forced criminality, domestic servitude, forced marriage, and forced organ removal.
Many people who fall victim of trafficking want to escape poverty, improve their lives, and support their families. Often they get an offer of a well-paid job abroad or in another region. Often they borrow money from their traffickers in advance to pay for arranging the job, travel and accommodation. When they arrive they find that the work they applied for does not exist, or the conditions are completely different. But it’s too late, their documents are often taken away and they are forced to work until their debt is paid off.
Someone is in slavery if they are forced to work, if they are owned or controlled by an employer, if they are dehumanised and treated as a commodity, or bought and sold as ‘property’, or if they are physically constrained or have restrictions placed on their freedom of movement.
There is no ‘typical’ victim of modern slavery. Victims can be men, women and children of all ages, ethnicities, nationalities and backgrounds. They are forced into a situation through the use or threat of violence, deception or coercion. Victims may enter the UK legally, or on forged documentation, or they may be a UK citizen living in the UK who is then forced into slavery.
Modern slavery covers a range of exploitation including; human trafficking, sexual exploitation, forced labour, debt bondage, domestic servitude, criminal activities, child labour, child sexual exploitation (CSE) and forced and early marriage.
Based in Bedfordshire, specially trained Helpline Advisers provide help, advice and support to callers, including potential victims in need of help, members of the public who may have spotted signs of modern slavery, statutory agencies, businesses and others. If callers do not speak English, the Helpline has access to interpreters in over 70 languages. The Modern Slavery Helpline practices a victim-centred approach, which respects the wishes of adult victims. Advisers engage in safety planning, offer emotional support and discuss various options, including the National Referral Mechanism (NRM). The Helpline also receives online reports through its website. In addition, the Helpline’s Resource Centre contains a directory of national and local services, charities and helplines.