Modern Slavery Statement

The term ‘Modern Slavery’ is an umbrella term, encompassing:

  1. Human trafficking; and
  2. Slavery, Servitude and Forced or Compulsory Labour.

Traffickers and slave drivers coerce, deceive and force individuals against their will 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. These are for purposes of exploitation, including:

  • criminal exploitation
  • sexual exploitation
  • forced labour
  • slavery
  • servitude
  • similar practices including the removal of organs or body tissue

In 2020/2021, 10,613 potential victims were referred to the Home Office. 47% were children, an increase on previous years. 34%, the majority, were UK nationals. The number of modern slavery offences recorded by the police was 8,354 with a 73.8% conviction rate (2021 UK Annual Report on Modern Slavery).

In the London Borough of Bexley, we are committed to the opposition of modern slavery and human trafficking and are working with our partners to drive the identification, recognition, awareness, and disruption of this heinous crime. The London Borough of Bexley’s Modern Slavery Strategy and Toolkit sets out our local partnership approach (including referral pathways) and is available to read on request to the Community Safety team via email to community.safety@bexley.gov.uk

As a local authority, we have a duty to notify the Home Office of any individual encountered who we believe is a suspected victim of modern slavery or human trafficking. By referring a victim to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM), the Home Office can investigate crimes further and provide the necessary support to potential victims and survivors of modern slavery.

What can I do?

We can all help end modern slavery by being aware of what to look for. Signs that someone might be a victim of modern slavery include:

  • showing signs of injury, abuse, and malnourishment
  • they look unkempt, are often in the same clothing and have poor hygiene
  • appearing to be under the control and influence of others
  • living in cramped, dirty, overcrowded accommodation
  • they have no access or control of their passport or identity documents
  • appearing scared, avoiding eye contact, and being untrusting
  • they may allow others to speak for them when addressed directly, rather than speak for themselves
  • they’re collected very early and/or returned late at night on a regular basis
  • may have inappropriate clothing for the work they are performing, and/or a lack of safety equipment
  • may be isolated from the local community and their family
  • they travel only with other workers

The above list is not exhaustive and further information on the signs to look out for can be found on the Unseen website.

If you are a victim or know someone who might be:

  • in an emergency, always call 999, or otherwise call 101 or visit your local police station
  • if an adult, call the London Borough of Bexley on 020 8303 7777 and ask for ‘Screeners’
  • if a child, call the Children’s Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) on 020 3045 5440
  • if unsure, you can call the Community Safety Services Team on 020 8303 7777 or email community.safety@bexley.gov.uk
  • for more information, call the Modern Slavery Helpline free on 0800 0121 700 or visit the Modern Slavery Helpline website.

The UK Modern Slavery Helpline is available 24/7 to offer confidential advice and support for any victim, statutory agency, business, or member of the public regarding modern slavery suspicions or concerns. Trained Helpline Advisers are available to discuss potential signs of modern slavery and options for callers or victims in need.

For professionals seeking the latest advice on how to help potential victims:

For the latest advice on how to end modern slavery, including details about how to refer victims into the national referral mechanism (NRM) and the statutory guidance, please see the Government’s Modern Slavery website.