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Modern slavery and human trafficking

Modern slavery

Modern Slavery refers to the illegal exploitation of people for personal or commercial gain.

Modern slavery includes:

  • Forced labour - Victims are forced to work against their will, often for very long hours for little or no pay in dire conditions under verbal or physical threats of violence
  • Debt bondage – Victims are forced to work to pay off debts that realistically they never will be able to
  • Sexual exploitation - Victims are forced to perform non-consensual or abusive sexual acts against their will, such as prostitution, escort work and pornography. Adults are coerced under threat
  • Criminal exploitation - Often controlled and maltreated, victims are forced into crimes such as cannabis cultivation or pick pocketing against their will
  • Domestic servitude - Victims are forced to carry out housework and domestic chores in private households with little or no pay, restricted movement, very limited or no free time and minimal privacy, often sleeping where they work

Human trafficking

Human trafficking refers to the movement of a person from one place to another with the intention of exploiting them by the use of threat, force, fraud, or the abuse of vulnerability.


Victims of modern slavery can be men, women and children of any age across the world. There is an assumption that victims of modern slavery are often trafficked to the UK from other countries, but residents of the UK are also among the victims that are exploited in the UK and other countries.

The crime is often hidden from the authorities and the general public. Victims may struggle to leave their situation because of threats, punishment, violence, coercion and deception, and some may believe that they are not in a situation of exploitation.

Spotting the signs

Indicators of modern slavery and human trafficking can be difficult to spot. Here are some questions to ask yourself that may help you:

  • Appearance: Does the person look malnourished, unkempt, or appear withdrawn? Are they suffering physical injuries? Do they have few personal possessions or often wear the same clothes?
  • Behaviour: Does the person or child appear withdrawn or frightened? Do they appear under the control or influence of others? Do they rarely interact with others, appear unfamiliar with their neighbourhood or where they work?
  • Communication: Is the person unable to answer questions directed to them? Does the person with them, answer for them? If they do speak, are they inconsistent in the information they provide, including basic facts, such as, where they live or who the person with them is?
  • Parents: Are the child’s parents absent? Does the child fail to go to school? Is the child GP registered?
  • Fear of authorities: Is the person afraid of the authorities? Are they scared of removal? Are they afraid because of what might happen to their families?
  • Legal documents: Is the person in possession of their legal documents such as passport, identification and bank account details, or are these being held by someone else?
  • Medical care: Has there been a delay in them seeing a healthcare professional? Are they vague, reluctant or inconsistent in explaining how the injury occurred? Do they have any medical records?
  • Debt bondage: Does the victim believe they are in debt to someone? Are they in a situation of dependence?

Reporting modern slavery and human trafficking

If there is an immediate danger to the suspected victim or if you think that the suspected victim is under 18 years old, inform the police and call 999 as a matter of urgency.

The 24/7 modern slavery helpline can be called on 0800 0121 700. The helpline is confidential with access to translation services for over 200 languages.


We recognise our responsibility to take a robust and proactive approach to modern slavery and human trafficking and the key roles it plays in working collaboratively with our partners to tackle slavery in four key areas:

  • Identification and referral of victims - In addition to the council’s responsibility as an employer, it acknowledges its duty to notify the secretary of state of potential victims of slavery as set out in Section 52 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015
  • Supporting victims – this can be through safeguarding children and adults with care and support needs and through housing/homelessness services. We take very seriously our responsibility to safeguard the most vulnerable in our society
  • Community safety services and disruption activities - Under Section 17 of the Crime and Disorder Act councils have a duty to do all that they reasonably can to prevent crime and disorder in their area, which includes modern slavery and human trafficking. We work to disrupt and bring justice to the perpetrators of such crime across the city and build strong and resilient communities
  • The production of a modern slavery statement – covering the steps the organisation has taken during the financial year to ensure that slavery and human trafficking is not taking place in any of its supply chains or part of its own business

Blackpool Council modern slavery statements

In accordance with Section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, Blackpool Council has produced the following statement in relation to the measures taken by the council to understand all potential modern slavery and human trafficking risks related to its business, and the steps put in place aimed at ensuring that there is none in our own business and supply chains.

We regard modern slavery and human trafficking as such important challenges that this statement helps to address.

This statement will be reviewed and updated as required.