Human Trafficking & Modern Slavery

Report modern slavery

What is Human Trafficking?

Human Trafficking is the illegal movement of people through force, fraud or deception with the intention of exploiting them, typically for the purposes of forced labour.

People Smuggling: People trafficking and people smuggling are often confused. People smuggling is the illegal movement of people across international border for a fee and upon arrival in the country of destination the smuggled person is free.

Human trafficking is fundamentally different as the trafficker is facilitating the movement of that person for the purpose of exploitation. There is no need for an international border to be crossed in cases of trafficking, it occurs also nationally, even within one community.

What is Modern Slavery?

Modern Slavery includes; human trafficking, forced labour and debt bondage, sexual exploitation, criminal exploitation, domestic servitude, descent-based slavery, child labour, slavery in supply chains, and forced and early marriage.

With both modern slavery and human trafficking, men, women and children are forced into a situation through the use of violence or threat of violence, deception or coercion.

Victims may come from all over the world. Many will travel using their own legitimate documentation being unaware that they are, or are about to become, trafficking victims. Others will travel illegally, using false documentation, or clandestinely. Some victims may be UK citizens living in the UK.

Tell me more

  • Human Trafficking - is the illegal movement of people through force, fraud or deception, with the intention of exploiting them.
  • Sexual exploitation - includes but is not limited to sexual exploitation and sexual abuse, forced prostitution and the abuse of children for the production of child abuse images/videos. Click here for more information about Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)
  • Domestic servitude - involves a victim being forced to work in usually private households, usually performing domestic chores and childcare duties. Their freedom may be restricted and they may work long hours often for little or no pay, often sleeping where they work.
  • Forced labour/Child Labour - Victims may be forced to work long hours for little or no pay in poor conditions under verbal or physical threats of violence to them or their families. It can happen in various industries, including construction, manufacturing, hospitality, food packaging, agriculture, maritime and beauty (nail bars). Often victims are housed together in one dwelling.
  • Debt Bondage - Bonded labour is the most widespread form of slavery in the world. A person becomes a bonded labourer when their labour is demanded as a means of repayment for a loan. The person is then tricked or trapped into working for very little or no pay to repay debts their employer says they owe, and they are not allowed to work for anyone else. Low wages and increased debts mean not only that they cannot ever hope to pay off the loan, but the debt may be passed down to their children.
  • Criminal exploitation - is the exploitation of a person to commit a crime, such as pick-pocketing, shop-lifting, cannabis cultivation, drug trafficking and other similar activities that are subject to penalties and imply financial gain for the trafficker. Some modern slavery victims are also involved in fraud or financial crime whereby perpetrators force victims to claim benefits on arrival but the money is withheld, or the victim is forced to take out loans or credit cards.
  • Decent-Based Slavery - is where people are born into a 'slave class', caste or a group viewed as being in slavery by other members of their society.  If one’s mother is in slavery, one is born into slavery. People born into slavery face a lifetime of exploitation. They are forced to work without pay for their so-called ‘masters’ throughout their lives, primarily working on farmland or as domestic servants. They are treated as property by their ‘masters’. They can be inherited, sold or given away as gifts or wedding presents.
  • Other forms of exploitation – Organ removal, forced/early marriage and illegal adoption.

Members of the public should think, spot the signs and speak out against the abuse and exploitation of anyone in our community.

There is no typical victim of slavery – victims can be men, women and children of all ages, ethnicities and nationalities and cut across the population. But it is normally more prevalent amongst the most vulnerable, and within minority or socially excluded groups

Signs of trafficking and modern slavery:

  • Physical Appearance: Victims may show signs of physical or psychological abuse, look malnourished or unkempt, or appear withdrawn.
  • Isolation: Victims may rarely be allowed to travel on their own, seem under the control/influence of others, rarely interact or appear unfamiliar with their neighbourhood or where they work.
  • Poor Living Conditions: Victims may be living in dirty, cramped or overcrowded accommodation, and/or living and working at the same address.
  • Few or No Personal Effects: Victims may have no identification documents, have few personal possessions and always wear the same clothes day in day out. What clothes they do wear may not be suitable for their work.
  • Restricted Freedom of Movement: Victims have little opportunity to move freely and may have had their travel documents retained, e.g. passports.
  • Unusual Travel Times: They may be dropped off/collected for work on a regular basis, either very early or late at night.
  • Reluctant to Seek Help: Victims may avoid eye contact, appear frightened or hesitant to talk to strangers and fear law enforcers for many reasons, such as not knowing who trust or where to get help, fear of deportation, fear of violence to them or their family.

Modern slavery can happen anywhere in the UK and Dorset Police are working to stamp it out in Dorset. With partners, officers target various locations across the county to ensure individuals are not being forced into work.

While our officers investigate these offences and support victims, modern slavery offences are often well hidden and so we need the general public of Dorset to be our eyes and ears also. If anyone believes someone is being abused or exploited they should not hesitate to contact the police and report their concerns.

If you think a child or adult is being abused or exploited in any way please report your concerns via the online form here >

Alternatively if you wish to speak with someone call 101. In an emergency, if someone is in immediate danger, call 999.

Modern Slavery 24 hour anonymous helpline: 0800 0121 700,

Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

English not your first language? Call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 and tell them which language you speak, as they have a range of interpreters. 


Remember: Be discrete - alerting a perpetrator to the fact you disclosing information about modern slavery may place yourself or other victims at risk of harm.

If you think you are a victim of modern slavery please seek help. You can contact the modern slavery helpline on 08000 121 700.

They can assist you to understand what help is available including information, advice and ways to access support. The Modern Slavery Helpline is confidential, but, if you don't want to give your name, you don’t have to.

Visit: for more information.

The Salvation Army can also help. Call their 24 hour helpline: 0300 3038151 or visit:


You can also contact the police by ringing 101 or by making contact online here. In an emergency please dial 999.

For information in different languages please see the links available under the 'Help for victims in various languages' section of this page.

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