Skip to main content

Modern day slavery and exploitation

What is modern slavery?

Modern slavery describes a situation where someone is made to do something they do not wish to do and that another person gains from this exploitation.

Modern slavery is not new. Nor is it a phenomenon that can be removed from our everyday lives. In truth, modern slavery and exploitation is happening here, in our neighbourhoods and communities, and negatively impacts the people in them.

Deception or coercion may include threats to lives, debt bondage and abuse of power or vulnerability. Exploitation can include:

  • Forced labour – being made to work for little or no money
  • Sexual exploitation – coerced or forced into selling sex
  • Domestic servitude – forced to work within a home environment for little or no pay
  • Criminal exploitation – forced to break the law for someone else, such as begging, selling drugs
  • Forced/sham marriage – forced to marry someone you don’t want to
  • Organ harvesting – organs removed for financial gain

Who is affected?

Modern slavery can affect anybody regardless of age, gender or ethnicity. In particular, those aged under the age of 18 as the abuse of their vulnerability is automatically present.

Modern slavery is often hidden in plain sight and those impacted, are often unable to escape because of fear for their lives or the lives of their family. Also, it can be confusing to know which organisations to turn to and who to trust.

What can be done? 

Working with Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, and charity partners, we are committed to taking responsibility to end modern slavery in both boroughs. 

This is why we have all come together to produce the Modern Day Slavery & Exploitation strategy to demonstrate how we are all responding to this issue, and most importantly how we can all play a role.

How to get involved

We are asking all residents, local businesses and visitors to Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea to take responsibility to help us to end modern slavery. 

For communities, there are numbers of common signs that someone is being exploited:

  • acting as if they are being forced or coerced to carry out specific activities
  • showing signs of physical or psychological abuse or has untreated medical conditions
  • seeming to be bonded by debt or has money deducted from their salary
  • having little or no contact with family or loved ones
  • being distrustful of authorities
  • having threats made against themselves or family members
  • not being in possession of their own legal documents

Locally, we have adopted the Coordinated Community Response (CCR) approach which sets out a shared understanding of how we plan to jointly tackle this issue over the next five years. The CCR model highlights the role everyone plays in ending MSE.

The CCR approach will support both councils, partner agencies, community groups, and residents to exchange information, ideas and offer support so that individuals who seek help don’t fall through the gaps. At times, a survivor of modern slavery will encounter dozens of different agencies. Each one holds a piece of the puzzle and by responding appropriately and working together we can ensure that the right help is offered at all times.

What's next

Download the Modern Day Slavery and Exploitation strategy below.

Join the fight – contact Charlotte Jamieson at [email protected] if your organisation would like to work more closely with us to end modern slavery.

Report any incidents or concerns – for emergencies please call 999. For 24 hour advice, call Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700.

Related documents