About Human Trafficking

What is Human Trafficking?

“Human Trafficking is a crime against humanity. It involves an act of recruiting, transporting, transferring, harbouring or receiving a person through a use of force, coercion or other means, for the purpose of exploiting them. Every year, thousands of men, women and children fall into the hands of traffickers, in their own countries and abroad. Every country in the world is affected by trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit or destination for victims. UNODC, as guardian of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) and the Protocols thereto, assists States in their efforts to implement the  Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons (Trafficking in Persons Protocol).”

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Key statistics about Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery

  • There are an estimated 40 million – 46 million modern day slaves in the world today
  • The Home Office has estimated that there are approximately 13,000 potential victims of slavery in the UK. Although it has been suggested to be drastically higher.
  • In 2016, 3805 survivors of trafficking and modern day slavery were identified.  This was 17% increase from 2015.
  • In 2016, recorded survivors came from 108 different countries, with the top 3 being Albania, the UK and Vietnam.
  • Human trafficking and modern day slavery is a profitable business – with an estimated $150 Billion revenue made by traffickers every year.
  • And the average cost of a slave today? $90-$100, one of the lowest ever.
  • When people consider modern day slavery, they most often think of sexual exploitation or forced labour.  Whilst these are the most common, people are also trafficked for warfare, forced crime, organ harvesting, forced marriage and domestic servitude.
  • In 2016, the most common type of exploitation for adults in the UK was sexual exploitation, whilst for minors it was labour exploitation – with a sub category of criminal exploitation, most prominently in cannabis cultivation. This pattern has continued into 2017.


Useful Links & Contact Details

Modern Slavery Helpline – 08000 121 700 – Report any suspicions of human trafficking or seek advice anonymously. http://www.modernslaveryhelpline.org

Police Emergency – 999 – If you or you believe someone is a victim on human trafficking please contact 999 immediately

Crimestoppers – 0800 555 111 – If you wish to report a crime anonymously

If you have concerns about your situation or you are a victim of trafficking and are in need of assistance, please contact The Salvation Army 24-Hour Confidential Referral Helpline on  0300 3038151 available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you have information or suspect there are victims of human trafficking in your community please contact The Metropolitan Police Helpline and pass the information on in confidence on  0800 783 2589. If it’s an emergency, please call 999.

Find out more here or read our blog on the most useful books to read about Human Trafficking.

Modern Slavery Myths

  • Slavery is a thing of the past: FALSE
    • Modern day slavery is as prevalent in today’s society as previously and preys on circumstances of vulnerability
  • It is very rare and extreme: FALSE
    • A common assumption is that modern slavery only occurs in extreme circumstances, such as kidnapping, people trafficking and the exploitation of illegal migrants and children[1]. However, modern slavery comes in many guises and can hide under a cloak of respectability.
  • Slavery is on the perimeters of society: FALSE
    • Modern day slavery is an economic crime and predominantly based in business.
  • Slavery only happens in developing countries: FALSE
    • Slavery affects every country across the globe.
    • Modern slavery is closer than you think. In the UK, people from Britain are in the top 3 nationalities most likely to be trafficked.
  • It doesn’t happen to people like me: FALSE
    • Despite evidence of patterns, there is no typical victim of slavery
  • Slavery doesn’t affect my everyday life: FALSE
    • It impacts on all of us, from the food we consume and the goods we purchase.
  • Traffickers are all male: FALSE
    • Both men and women are involved in the trafficking of vulnerable individuals. Sometimes women playing a key role in this exploitation.
  • I am powerless to make a difference: FALSE
    • The Modern Day Slavery Act has created a platform form momentum. We need to use this to push the agenda even more into the public and political consciousness and make people aware of the significance and impact of human trafficking and modern day slavery.
    • To see how we play our part in the fight against modern slavery see here (link to day 46)

Recognising a victim of Trafficking and Modern Slavery

Restricted freedom

  • Is someone always watching them?
  • Do they appear to be being instructed or controlled by someone?
  • Do they have freedom of movement?
  • Do they have injuries that appear to be the result of an assault?
  • Do they live and work at the same address?
  • Are they living in dirty, cramped or overcrowded conditions?
  • Are they being controlled by a ‘boyfriend’?
  • Are they in possession of their personal documents or ID? Is someone else in possession of these?
  • Are they in contact with their family? Do they have limited social interaction?


  • Will they not look you in the eye or seem frightened?
  • Do they always wear the same clothes?
  • Do they look deprived, starving or neglected?
  • Are their travel arrangements unusual?
  • Are they familiar with the local language?

Be mindful and aware of the signs and indicators of trafficking. Make a conscious effort to be more aware as you go through your daily life. Report anything suspicious.

For more information watch here and click here.

[1] Building a fairer system: Tackling modern slavery in construction supply chains. http://www.antislaverycommissioner.co.uk/media/1071/ciob_modern_day_slavery_web.pdf

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