It’s likely that at some point in your life you will come into contact with an enslaved person without even realising it. A victim of modern slavery could be washing your car, painting your nails or making your new pair of trainers. It’s a crime that often remains hidden because it targets those who are vulnerable and voiceless.
What is modern slavery?
The term refers to the control or possession of a person by others who threaten, frighten, hurt or exploit them, forcing them to work without pay. Often they are tricked into their circumstance or trapped using force. They are then traded or used as a commodity.
Anyone can become a victim, although there are some factors which may increase the risk being targeted. These include financial situation, age, disability, substance abuse, mental health issues, family circumstances and homelessness.
Slavery Free Notts identifies the main types of slavery as:
- labour exploitation – thought to be the most common form of modern slavery, where individuals are forced to work against their will
- sexual exploitation – where individuals are forced into sexual abuse, prostitution or cybersex, accounting for 48% of reported trafficking cases in the UK
- forced criminal activity – potentially in the form of pickpocketing, begging, drug dealing/trafficking and organised crime
- domestic servitude – forced labour within a household
- forced marriage – a largely undocumented form of modern slavery
- organ removal – not thought to be common in the UK
Close to home
There are an estimated 40.3 million slaves in the world and, according to the 2018 Global Slavery Index, an estimated 136,000 slaves here in the UK.
“Police intelligence suggests modern slavery is taking place all over the county“
Nottinghamshire is no exception: police intelligence suggests modern slavery is taking place all over the county.
In 2017, a man living in Hyson Green was jailed for enslaving two Polish immigrants, locking them in his loft to live in squalor. Through violence and intimidation, Edward Zielinski forced one of the men work 20 hours a day making greetings cards. Both slaves had to urinate into empty bottles at night so that they wouldn’t wake Zielinski and his wife. In another local case, two Nottingham men were caught trafficking immigrants into the UK to work at Sports Direct’s Derbyshire warehouse, keeping most of their wages.
What is being done to combat this issue?
“World-changing work to fight modern slavery is taking place right here”
World-changing work to fight modern slavery is taking place right here at this University. The University of Nottingham’s Rights Lab is home to the world’s leading modern slavery experts, who have built a large-scale research platform for ending slavery.
The team of more than 100 academics is answering four main questions:
- How many slaves exist in the world and where are they?
- Why does slavery persist?
- What works to end slavery?
- What difference does freedom from slavery make to the world?
Sounds Against Slavery
A music event is being held later this year to raise vital funds and awareness. Sounds Against Slavery is going to be held on Monday 8th April at Rough Trade Nottingham, featuring five great acts.
All funds raised will go towards The Survivor Alliance, an organisation which works to unite and empower survivors of human trafficking and slavery around the world.
Spotting the signs of modern slavery
If you suspect that someone you know might be a victim of modern slavery, these are some of the signs to look out for:
- Is the victim in possession of a passport, identification or travel documents? Are these documents in possession of someone else?
- Does the victim act as if they were instructed or coached by someone else? Do they allow others to speak for them when spoken to directly?
- Was the victim recruited for one purpose and forced to engage in some other job? Was their transport paid for by facilitators, whom they must pay back through providing services?
- Does the victim receive little or no payment for their work? Is someone else in control of their earnings?
- Was the victim forced to perform sexual acts?
- Does the victim have freedom of movement?
- Has the victim or family been threatened with harm if the victim attempts to escape?
- Is the victim under the impression they are bonded by debt, or in a situation of dependence?
- Has the victim been harmed or deprived of food, water, sleep, medical care or other life necessities?
- Can the victim freely contact friends or family? Do they have limited social interaction or contact with people outside their immediate environment?
If you suspect slavery is happening, or to discuss any concerns and get advice, call the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700?. In an emergency, always call 999.