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Modern Day Slavery

Modern slavery has been in existence for thousands of years; however, it was largely made illegal in the 1800s, with the introduction of The Slavery Abolition Act 1833. Modern slavery is typically where one person has their freedoms removed them by another person.

People who are exploited, lack the ability to make choices about their life such as how to control their body, what work they undertake, where they go. This lack of control and choice is compounded by threats, violence, coercion, abuse of power and deception exercised by those with control.

It is estimated that 45.8 million adults and children are victims of modern-day slavery. In the UK alone it is estimated that over 13,000 people are victims or survivors of modern-day slavery, although the total numbers are not known and could be much higher.  

It is a common misconception that modern slavery only affects foreign nationals or illegal migrants in the UK or only occurs abroad. However, figures from the National Referral Mechanism show that UK nationals are most exposed to modern slavery, particularly where child exploitation is concerned. Amongst adults and children in the UK, the nationalities most likely to be victims of modern slavery are Albania and Vietnam; other nationalities with a high prevalence slaves in the UK include Nigeria, China, Sudan and India. Whilst there was a slightly higher prevalence of slavery amongst adults and males, the rates of exploitation amongst females and children are also high and it is important that we work towards eradicating slavery for all people.   

London currently has the highest recorded rates of modern slavery according to the National Referral Mechanism. The most common type of slavery has changed with forced labour now more prevalent than sexual exploitation, although rates for both are still high.

Local Bromley Procedure

Modern Day Slavery & Human Trafficking (Procedure 26) - To safeguard adults and children who are at risk of modern slavery and human trafficking. This document provides guidance on modern slavery and human trafficking, summarises the National Referral Mechanism process by which potential victims of modern slavery are formally identified and provided with support, and provides information on available resources.

Human Trafficking Foundation

The Human Trafficking Foundation grew out of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery with three objectives: 

  1. To shape policy and legislation by equipping parliamentarians and policy makers, lead government departments, local authorities, police and statutory agencies to better understand the extent and nature of human trafficking, and the need to adjust rapidly to changing trends; 

  2. To provide a sustained and collective voice amongst NGOs, civil society, and voluntary organisations fighting modern day slavery so that short-comings in current policy can be identified and addressed, and how that can best be tackled; and

  3. Identifying opportunities for new and different types of intervention within the rapidly evolving landscape of human trafficking

The Bromley Safeguarding Adults Board (BSAB) is a member of the London Modern Slavery Leads (LMSL) group, facilitated by the Human Trafficking Foundation. You can find out more about the work of the LMSL by reading their 2020-21 annual report below. 

Useful documents 

Local Authorities' Referral Pathway for Adult Victims of Modern Slavery

Modern slavery: Spot the signs toolkit

There is no one type of modern slavery - poster 

COVID-19: Modern Slavery Human Trafficking Rapid Review  - September 2021

E-learning: tackling modern slavery in public sector supply chains - July 2021


COVID-19: MODERN SLAVERY AND COVID 19 - What to do if you are a First Responder - June 2020

COVID-19: Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking - June 2020


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