While awareness of modern slavery and human trafficking is slowly growing, the signs are often hidden, making victims even harder to recognise.

Businesses like nail bars, takeaways, car washes and farms may unknowingly be employing people who have been trafficked into the country – or they could be a cover.

Landlords could be providing accommodation to groups of people being controlled or exploited. And taxi companies, petrol stations or hotels may be used when transporting, holding or working victims.

It's closer than you think.

Slavery is illegal and can include:

  • sexual exploitation
  • forced labour
  • domestic servitude

Someone is in slavery if they’re: 

  • forced to work by being mentally or physically threatened
  • owned or controlled by an 'employer', usually through mental or physical abuse or the threat of abuse
  • dehumanised, treated as a commodity or bought and sold as 'property'
  • physically constrained or has restrictions placed on his/her freedom of movement.

The Modern Slavery Act 2015 was introduced to fight modern slavery and protect vulnerable people. 

How you can help - be their voice

Here's what to look out for if someone may be at risk of harm: 

  • Do they only speak a little English (if any at all)?
  • Are they unusually quiet or untidy-looking for a beautician?
  • Does someone always talk and take payment for them?
  • Is there a lack of professional qualifications on display?
  • Could someone be living at the salon? 

  • Are workers dressed inappropriately for the job?
  • Does one person always take the payment?
  • Is the car wash over staffed?
  • Do the workers seem uneasy and under pressure?
  • Do expensive cars come and go without being washed?
  • Is it strange that there are no staff vehicles parked on site?
  • Is there a container or caravan on site where workers could be living?

  • Does the shop front look untidy and uncared for?
  • Is there a lack of professional qualifications or certificates on display?
  • Are kitchen staff dressed inappropriately for the job?
  • Is there a lack of friendly banter between management and staff?
  • Are there signs of staff living on the premises?
  • Is the food quality of lower quality than you would expect?

  • Are young women or men being escorted?
  • Do they appear unable to speak freely?
  • Do they seem fearful or controlled?
  • Are there frequent visitors to a room for short periods of time?
  • Can you hear anything suspicions or violent?

  • Are individuals being swapped into different cars?
  • Is someone ‘escorting’ them?
  • Do they look fearful; could they be looking at you for help?
  • Does it look as though they are being held against their will?

You can also help share our campaign by downloading and displaying the following posters:

Human trafficking

Human trafficking is when someone is brought into a country (or moved around it) by people who hurt, threaten, frighten and force them to work or do other things they don’t want to do.  

It's a serious violation of the Human Rights Act and illegal.

What should I do if I suspect human trafficking or modern day slavery?

If you suspect human trafficking or modern day slavery you can report it online or call us on 101.

If you don’t want to give us your name you can give information to Kent Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or use their online form.

Alternatively, you can call the National Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700 or complete their online form

How we can help

As soon as you contact us your safety will be our top priority. We’ll work with you and the UK Human Trafficking Centre and the Salvation Army to give you protection, shelter and support.  

We’ll investigate those involved and keep you informed about what is happening. 

More information

Download the Support for Victims of Human Trafficking leaflet. It’s available in Albanian, Czech, English, Hungarian, Lithuanian, Ugandan, Mandarin, Polish, Romanian, Slovakian, Vietnamese and Yoruba.

Get help

If you or someone else is in immediate danger call us on 999.  

For support and guidance you can call:
  • Salvation Army on their 24-hour confidential helpline on 0300 3038151.
  • Unseen's Modern Day Slavery team on their 24 hour helpline on 08000 121 700. Their helpline provides guidance for people who suspect modern slavery and support for modern slavery victims.

Other sources of help

Our commitment

Read the Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking corporate statement which sets out our commitment to tackling these crimes and supporting victims.