What is Modern slavery?
Modern slavery refers to situations where individuals are coerced, deceived, or controlled by others to work under exploitative conditions. It encompasses a range of abusive practices, including forced labour in industries like agriculture, construction, and manufacturing, as well as the trafficking of men, women, and children for purposes of sexual exploitation, forced begging, or forced marriage. Modern slavery represents a grave violation of human rights and stands in stark contrast to the principles of freedom, equality, and dignity.
Forms of Modern Slavery:
Modern slavery manifests in numerous forms, each inflicting immense suffering on its victims. These include:
Sexual exploitation: victims may be forced into prostitution, pornography or lap dancing for little or no pay. They may be deprived of their freedom of movement and subjected to threats and violence.
Labour exploitation: a victim is made to work with little or no pay and may face violence or threats. If they are foreign nationals, their passports may be confiscated by their exploiters and they may be made to live in terrible conditions and under constant threat.
Forced criminality: victims can be forced to participate in a range of illegal activities including pick pocketing, shop lifting, cannabis cultivation, county lines exploitation and other activities. The Modern Slavery Act provides for a defence for victims who have been forced into criminality.
Domestic servitude: victims work in a household where they may be ill-treated, humiliated, subjected to exhausting hours, forced to work and live under unbearable conditions or forced to work for little or no pay. In some cases, forced marriage can lead to domestic servitude.
Organ harvesting: victims are trafficked for their internal organs (typically kidneys or the liver) to be harvested for transplant.
Forced marriage: where people are forced into marriage for a range of reasons including exploiting the rights conferred on them by citizenship or for domestic servitude.
Financial exploitation: for example, benefit fraud, where benefits are falsely claimed by perpetrators on behalf of their workers; bank accounts being opened in a victim’s name but used by perpetrators; or workers’ wages being paid directly into the exploiters own bank accounts by companies who think they are paying a worker individually.