Modern slavery is defined by charity Unseen as activities “when one person obtains or holds another person in compelled service.” More common terms such as human trafficking, forced labour and child exploitation are all seen as acts of modern slavery. The UK is a wealthy and powerful country. Yet the UK government estimates that there are tens of thousands of people in slavery in this country. It is a crime happening in our local communities, takeaways, hotels, car washes, nail bars and private homes.
Marshalls do a lot of great work to help tackle modern slavery and forced labour in the UK – we even train our delivery drivers to spot the signs and report things of concern. The construction industry is one of sectors most at risk of trafficking so by doing this we’re playing our part in keeping people safe, and helping those in trouble to break free to live healthier and happier lives.
The Marshalls Register is our network of accredited installers, people who we vet and recommend to you for garden and driveway projects. As well as training our delivery drivers about modern slavery, we also share information with the Marshalls Register members and ask them to look out for things that don’t look right.
The main signs of modern slavery and the details of how to report anything you spot
Below we share the main signs that someone could be in modern slavery; things to look out for and make a note of. Whilst we all think it won’t happen close to home, being aware of the signs of modern slavery and how to report anything suspicious could help save and improve lives.
Victims may appear malnourished and starved, neglected and scruffy, and they could be unclean with poor hygiene. Some people will also be acutely tired, they could be drugged or drunk and often they will have incorrect clothing or equipment for the job.
Victims may appear fearful, scared, anxious or stressed, they might seem angry or agitated, even traumatised or confused.
Look out for people who may appear withdrawn, they might be unable to communicate effectively with you directly due to a lack of English or a general understanding, or they may have someone who speaks on their behalf.
Poor Living Conditions
Victims may appear to be living at a place of work, in an overcrowded house, run-down caravan or outbuilding or a place with blacked-out windows. It’s possible that they may have no heating or running water – essentially a place that is not fit to live in.
Victims are often unable to come and go freely but they may be reluctant to leave their situation because they are in debt and dependent on someone. Often they will be unable to find or show identity documents such as a passport or bank account details and be unwilling to handle money. In some cases they will spend most of their time in places where doors are locked on the outside.
Reluctant to Seek Help
Victims may appear reluctant to talk to you or accept your help, or help from the authorities. They will often feel fearful of reprisal from someone else and be unable to prove their legal status to be in the UK.
Unusual Travel Times
It can be the case that victims travel at unusual times, either very early in the morning or late at night. Often they will have transportation to and from work provided for them and have to pay for the transport.
Ways to report modern slavery or seek assistance
If someone is in immediate danger call the Police on 999.
If you want to report an instance of modern slavery: call the National Modem Slavery Helpline 08000121 700 or report online.
If you want to report an instance of modern slavery 100% anonymously: call Crimestoppers 0800 555 111.