Forms of Slavery


Forced Labour

Forced labour is a global problem and the most common type of exploitation. It affects men, women and children all around the world. Forced labour is when a person is coerced to work or provide a service for little or no pay and usually cannot leave it without punishment or the threat of penalty. In the UK forced labour is found in sectors characterised as low-skilled and low-paid labour.

Forced labour is used all over the world to produce products in our supply chains. The most common sectors forced labour takes place is;


  • Manufacturing, processing and packaging​

  • Construction, mining, quarrying and brick kilns

  • Prostitution and sexual exploitation

  • Car washes and nail bars


How does this happen?;

  • Retention of identity documents

  • Accumulated debt

  • Threats to inform authorities if they are immigrants

  • No wage, withholding wages or wage reductions

  • Threats or physical harm

Dirty Hands

Sexual Exploitation/ CSE

Many adults that are in or have been in prostitution often report difficult childhood histories; child abuse, emotional abuse, neglect and a background in care homes.


What is CSE?


Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) happens when a child or young person is abused and forced into taking part in sexual activity, they are often given gifts, money, drugs and affection in exchange for performing sexual acts.

CSE typically involves a stage of grooming, the child or young person may receive something like affection, in return or prior to, performing in sexual acts.

The abusers often use threats or violence to coerce the child into sexual activity, making the victim feel they have no choice or way out of the situation.



Debt Bondage

Debt Bondage is when a person is forced to work to pay of a debt. They have no control over their debt, victims of debt bondage are coerced into working for little or no pay in order to 'pay off' the accumulated debt.

Many people believe this type of slavery only exists in third world countries. This is not the case, the issue is much more wide spread than you believe.


Safe and Free have recently dealt with this issue in the UK. Men have been targeted in the workplace and coerced into using drugs in and out of the workplace. They were forced to pay more than half their salary to a higher positioned co-worker who supplied the drugs to employees, this was somebody they felt they could trust.


Forced Marriage/ Child Marriage

It is estimated each year, 12 million girls are married before the age of 18.

Forced Marriage.jpg

Child Marriage is any formal or informal unification where one or both parties are under the age of 18.  


Forced marriage is when one or both spouses do not or cannot consent to the marriage. Or a marriage that you have agreed to, as you don't have a choice due to religion and tradition. Some people are made to feel as though they are putting shame on their family. It may involve physical, emotional, sexual, psychological or financial pressure. 


In 2014 forced marriage was made a criminal offence in England and Wales.


Descent-based Slavery

Rwandan Children

Born Without the Right to Freedom.


In some cultures children are born into a world where their ancestors were trapped in slavery and by descent become slaves themselves. The status 'slave' passes from mother to child. Slaves aren't free to choose what they want to do or who they want to work for, they are dependent on their 'masters'.

Children are often taken away from their parents without consent and forced to work as slaves for another family. Education is non-existent in these areas, and it is very common girls are sexually abused and forced to marry at the wishes of their 'master'.

It is most common is West African countries such as:

Niger, Mauritania, and Mali.


Child Labour

The ILO indicates that there are 152 million victims of child labour worldwide; 72 million of the victims work in hazardous labour.

Child labour is work that deprives children of their childhood. This is often harmful to their physical and mental health.

More than half child labour victims worldwide are forced to use dangerous machinery and are exposed to hazardous toxins.

Children's rights are violated, they are often victims of physical, mental and sexual abuse. In some cases, children are sexually exploited, violating their dignity and morals.

In some cases, they are taken from their parents. They often work with little or no food and very low wages.