An Introduction to Modern Day Slavery

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In this day and age, people often believe that slavery no longer exists and that this was abolished many centuries ago in the UK. Unfortunately, that is not entirely the case. Slavery still exists to this day in some form or another across the world, including in the UK. A criminal solicitor will be able to tell you that there are approximately 40 million people across the world who are trapped in modern slavery. Statistics show that a quarter of these modern slaves are children, and 71% of them are women and young girls. 

What is modern slavery? 
Modern slavery has been defined as the exploitation of an individual or group of people for personal or commercial gain, and it is very common across the UK and the world. However, as the general public, we are unaware of it; this is due to the fact that modern slavery is easily concealed. From the outside, it appears as if an individual is carrying out an ordinary, normal job. However, the real issue lies on the inside, and these individuals are often controlled and manipulated and face violence and threats. Often their passports are taken away from them to prevent them from escaping. 

What are the different forms of modern slavery? 
There are many different forms of modern slavery. The most common is human trafficking. Human trafficking occurs when perpetrators use violence, force and threats to transport and recruit victims and exploit them for acts such as forced prostitution, forced labour, forced marriage or even organ removal. Usually, it is young girls and women who are recruited. Often these victims look for an escape from certain hardships in their own country and, therefore, are unaware of what they sign themselves up for; they are manipulated into thinking that they will have better lives and a chance to earn a living for themselves. 

Forced labour
Forced labour is another common form of modern slavery. This is whereby the perpetrator forces the victim to work and perform services against the victim’s will and threatens the victim with punishment unless they do so. Forced labour tends to occur in industries where there are very few rules and regulations and when a lot of workers are involved in fishing and agriculture, domestic work, infrastructure, and sexual exploitation. Perpetrators of forced labour usually target vulnerable groups of victims. Migrants are often targeted due to the fact they usually cannot speak the language of the country they are in and are, therefore, easily manipulated. Such victims would not understand their rights, are reliant on their employers and do not often have very many friends who would be able to guide them. 

Child slavery
Child slavery is another very common form of modern slavery, and approximately 10 million children around the world fall victim to this. Children often get forced into working in:

  • sweatshops
  • sexual exploitation
  • begging
  • selling drugs
Statistics have shown that it is often children from disadvantaged backgrounds who are targeted as victims of child slavery. This is usually because perpetrators can easily manipulate these children into believing that they will have better lives working for them. 

If you suspect modern slavery, report it to the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700 or the police on 101. In an emergency always call 999. Don't leave it to someone else. Your information could save a life

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