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Forms of Modern Slavery

Forms of Modern Slavery

SKU: 6.34
  • Advice

    Modern slavery may be perceived as a way of life that only exists in history books; however, the truth is far more real. There will always be people that feel they have the power to abuse others for their own gain. We have all seen television images of overcrowded small boats filled with refugees crossing the channel, many are fleeing their homeland because of violence. They are perceived as benefit hunters, scroungers etc but how many of us have wondered just how desperate these people must be to risk everything, including the lives of their entire family and children. In the UK, if they are allowed to stay, they have relative safety. These people are perfect recruitment material for criminal gangs who can offer them safe passage, but obviously want something in return.


    The common element is control, usually, this occurs in the following ways

    • The threat of repatriation
      • (“if you are caught with no papers, they will send you straight home as a traitor”)
    • The threat of personal violence
      • (“If you say anything you will never walk again”)
    • The threat of violence to a loved one
      • (“Say anything and your child will have an accident on the way to school”)
    • The threat of violence to a resident in their home country
      • (“We have people in your village who can pay your mother a visit”)
    • Splitting of a family group to ensure complete servitude
      • (“Your wife will work for us somewhere else in the UK, if you obey us, she will be safe”)

    There are many variations of the above, all have the same underlying methodology, all are cruel, all are illegal. The problem is that the only way to resolve the matter is by them coming forward, the problem is that by doing this they are putting themselves at an unacceptable, or possible lethal risk. As such the problem stays quiet, suppressed behind closed doors, unnoticed, discreet.

    Below are listed the main forms of modern slavery


    Human Trafficking.

    Human trafficking broadly occurs when someone is imprisoned or has their movements/actions restricted for the benefit of a forceful person or group. This may seem too far removed from your daily life, but it happens every day, examples can be men working like slaves and young girls/women being forced into sexual exploitation. Slavery happens behind closed doors and is often hidden from anyone else, sadly it is far more common than people realise.


    Forced Labour

    This is any labour that workers are forced to do without consent. Workers are often under threat, particularly of physical violence. Forced labour is common in fishing, farm work gangs, domestic work, construction, manufacturing and work on the black market. If you know anyone in these industries, check how they speak about/react to going to work in case they are experiencing modern slavery. Be particularly attentive to migrant workers and workers with a lack of education because exploiters recognise these groups as the most vulnerable.


    To prevent a victim from simply running away families bought into the UK by an employer (abuser) are often separated and unable to contact each other except via the abuser. The threat is that they must do whatever is needed or their family member will suffer. These victims will be too scared to take any action and even if asked by social services / Police will simply deny any issues. You should be extremely careful in this case as if an abuser is informed of your interference, they could think the victim had said something in an attempt to resolve the situation and harm their family members in retaliation for the perceived betrayal.


    Bonded Labour

    Modern slaves can be exploited for their labour if they are bound to debt and owe a duty to an employer, which allows for the execution of power from the person who is owed money or a service. Make sure you check with people you know who may be in debt to others, they could be exploited as they are bound to someone (or a group) with power over them. An example of the above would be a migrant who borrows money from an employer to pay for their passage and accommodation who is then paid at such a rate to never be able to repay the loan, quite often employers hold their passports and documents until the debt is eventually paid off. They often threaten that without documents the Police will send them home if they go to the authorities for help.


    Child Slavery

    This is a common example of modern slavery because children are naturally a vulnerable group. They live under the rules of their parents and carers and so they often do not have a safety net to fall back on when concerned about their protection. They may be being forced to work for someone outside school hour’s or have to do all the usual domestic duties at home by abusive parents. If children come to school (or other activities) unusually tired or are taking considerable amounts of time away from school, it is worth enquiring why this is the case.


    Domestic Slavery

    Domestic workers may be forced to cook, clean, or look after members of a household at any hour of the day, with very low pay. Domestic slaves are often employed without legally binding contracts and live constantly under the threat that if they report the matter, they will be sent back to the country they have fled from. Because of this, they are not paid the National Minimum Wage but whatever the employer wants to pay. Check the working standards of anyone you know who is lacking a solid contract they consented to.


    Drug Trafficking

    Many young teenagers are exploited for drug-running. Drug culture in Britain often goes with gang membership, making these situations hard to turn down or escape from. Many teenagers are put in this position by gangs of drug dealers so that they can be the face of the operation if it is tried in court. Often the gang are nowhere to be seen to protect the exploited from court prosecution.


    For example - A young girl could be suffering abuse/neglect at home and seek attention/inclusion by joining a group that uses drugs, she soon becomes a recreational user. This leads to a need for money to buy drugs and in turn leads to crime or the potential of running drugs for her supplier. Being a drug trafficker is a form of modern slavery. Like most teenagers in this situation, all her choices seem to lead to an ever-decreasing spiral of dependence and the resulting need for funds, whether from crime or selling herself for sex. Any teenager acting against social norms, even if it takes the form of missing several days off school and spending too much time away from home, may well be susceptible to this type of modern slavery. Be conscious of the behaviour of young adults who may be vulnerable. Make them aware of the risks and a safe space they can turn to.

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