Modern Slavery

Modern slavery

Modern slavery encompasses slavery, human trafficking, forced and compulsory labour and domestic servitude. Traffickers and slave masters use whatever means they have at their disposal to coerce, deceive and force individuals into a life of abuse, servitude and inhumane treatment.

A large number of active organised crime groups are involved in modern slavery. But it is also committed by individual opportunistic perpetrators.

There are many different characteristics that distinguish slavery from other human rights violations, however only one needs to be present for slavery to exist. Possible Indicators of slavery and exploitation

The Home Office have produced guidance, Modern Slavery Awareness & Victim Identification Guidance aimed primarily at public sector staff setting out key facts about modern slavery.  There is also a leaflet aimed at adults who are have been victims of modern slavery.

Contemporary slavery takes various forms and affects people of all ages, gender and races.

Modern day Slavery campaign from the Home Office

Guidance on reporting modern slavery

If you are a local authority

There is a duty to notify the Home Office in cases of modern slavery, there are two ways, either through a National Referral Mechanism (NRM) form or an MS1 form this should be sent to

The NRM form is for any child who has experienced modern slavery and any adult who gives their consent to be identified.  If an adult has chosen to remain anonymous, then an MS1 for is required to be filled in.  This poster give a simple explanation of the notification process.

In England and Wales, if the person who is being referred through the NRM has been accepted indicates that they need support and/or safe accommodation the Salvation Army’s 24 hour referral line can be contacted on 0300 303 8151.

The “duty to notify” is set out in Section 52 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, and applies to the following public authorities in England and Wales at the time of publication (additional public authorities can be added through regulations):

(a) a chief officer of police for a police area
(b) the chief constable of the British Transport Police Force
(c) the National Crime Agency
(d) a county council
(e) a county borough council
(f) a district council
(g) a London borough council
(h) the Greater London Authority
(i) the Common Council of the City of London                                                                                                                                                     (k) the Gangmasters Licensing Authority

The Home Office has published new research to establish a better understanding of the scale of modern slavery in the UK.   For full guidance see the Home Office website.

If it is an emergency call 999.

If you are not a local authority

To be referred to the NRM, potential victims of trafficking or modern slavery must first be referred to one of the UK’s two competent authorities (CAs).  This initial referral will generally be handled by an authorised agency such as a police force, the National Crime Agency (NCA), the UK Border Force, Home Office Immigration and Visas, Social Services or certain NGO’s.  The referring authority is known as the ‘first responder’.

The NCA is a first responder agency, as are the following:

The first responder will complete a referral form to pass the case to the CA. Referral to a CA is voluntary and can happen only if the potential victim gives their permission by signing the referral form. In the case of children their consent is not required. To download an adult or child referral form go to the website.

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