top of page
Closeup of comforting hands

Spot the Signs of Modern Slavery

Being able to spot the signs and report your concerns appropriately can save a victim from a life of exploitation.

General Indicators

Lonely Traveller

Physical Appearance





Restricted Freedom of Movement

  • May show signs of physical abuse, anxiety, bruising, scarring or cuts. 

  • Appear malnourished, exhausted or unkempt.

  • Wear inappropriate clothing for work.

  • May avoid unnecessary contact.

  • Regularly accompanied, unable to travel alone.

  • Appear under control of others.

  • Unfamiliar with the place they work or live.

  • May wear the same clothes day in day out.

  • May not have access to documents for travel, passport and ID.

  • Very little personal possessions.

  • May be unable to travel alone.

Laundry Hanging

Poor Living Conditions

Police Car

Fear of


Watch Close-up

Unusual Travel Time/Arrangements

  • Living in dirty, damp, cramped and over crowded accommodation.

  • Live and work at the same address.

  • Hesitant and scared to talk to strangers.

  • Not sure who they can trust and afraid to ask for help.

  • May be dropped off at work very early or very late at night.

  • Not have access to documents for travel, passport and ID.

Farmer Taking a Break

Spot the Signs of Forced Labour

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. 

Working long hours, over time, few or no breaks.

Forced to stay in accommodation provided by employer, usually overcrowded and dirty.

No access to own documents e.g. Passport, ID.

May have very little freedom of movement or always be accompanied.

Paid very little wages or not paid at all.

Lack of protective equipment, suitable clothing or health and safety standards.

Transported to and from work, may be multiple people in one car.

May show signs of abuse, appear malnourished, exhausted or unkempt.

Many adults that are in or have been in prostitution often report difficult childhood histories; here are some indicators someone may be trapped in sexual exploitation.

Signs of physical abuse, bruising, cigarette burns or scarring.

Restricted freedom of movement, picked up and dropped off at work location.

Unusual visitors all day and night staying for short periods of time.

Appear scared, withdrawn or confused.

Payment for services is passed onto someone else, they may have restricted or no earnings.

Lack of clothing or sexualised.

Sleep on work premises

Have limited English language speaking ability, restricted to sexual language.

Unmade Bed

Spot the Signs of Sexual Exploitation

Woman Cleaning Furniture

Spot the Signs of Domestic Servitude

This is one of the most hidden forms of modern slavery as it happens in private households. The following could mean someone is in domestic servitude.

Rarely interact with the family they work for; don't eat with the rest of the family.

Unable to leave the house alone, are always accompanied.

Don't have their own living space, food, water or medical care.

Work and held in a home and forced to carry out domestic tasks, child care, cooking and cleaning.

Work unusually long hours; on call 24hrs a day.

Employer is usually physically or verbally abusive.

Below are some indicators a child may be being exploited.

Inappropriate sexual behaviour, young pregnancy.

Failing to attend school.

Going missing, and not being clear about their whereabouts.

Secretive, receiving gifts or items they cannot explain.

Mood swings, aggressive and emotional behaviour.

Inappropriately dressed for their age.

Experimenting with drugs and alcohol.

Signs of physical abuse.

Bath Time

Spot the Signs of
Child Labour

Child Exploitation
Wedding Ring

Spot the Signs of Forced Marriage

Forced marriage is when one or both spouses do not or cannot consent to the marriage. Here are some indicators below.

Under the legal age to be married.

Unable to leave the house alone, are always accompanied.

Work and held in a home and forced to carry out domestic tasks, child care, cooking and cleaning.

Unable to talk to others.

Withdrawn from school or workplace.

Signs of physical abuse.

Report your Concerns

  • Call the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700 or the police on 101. In an emergency call 999

  • Report to the Police or to the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority 0800 432 0804.

bottom of page