Many people may think that slavery only happens overseas, but there are thousands of people trapped in modern slavery in the UK. Victims are vulnerable men, women and children who are abused for criminal profit, often forced to live in squalor and work long hours for little or no wages.
They are stripped of their freedom and human rights, and suffer enormous trauma. People are trafficked into the UK from abroad, mainly from Vietnam, Nigeria, Romania, Albania, and Poland, but other countries too.
There is also a growing number of British nationals living in slavery here - inbdivuduals who may have learning difficulties, mental health problems, or other needs.
Contact Essex Police if you have concerns or report anonymously to Crime Stoppers
Please read this on how the Corvid 19 lockdown is affecting victims of Modern Slavery -
A conservative estimate of the number of people trapped in Modern Slavery in the UK is approximately 136,000, covering all areas of the country. This suggests that the number of victims currently enslaved in the District of Chelmsford will be over 350!
The types of exploitation can include: hand car washes; nail bars; hotels; prostitution; massage parlours; construction sites; agricultural labour; the drug trade; care homes; forced begging; cleaners.
These people, kept in constant fear, have no choice of where they live or who they live with. There could easily be over a dozen of them living in one house in unbelievable squalor. Others, forced to work in car washes or on construction sites might live in caravans next to the site. Unsuitable and dilapidated buildings with no amenities are sometimes used to hold enslaved agricultural workers.
This is a challenging time for everyone but these victims of modern slavery, whose normal daily routine is one of coercion, brutality, degradation and hunger will have discovered the current lockdown has exacerbated their suffering. This is because the modern slavery gangs will have found most of their streams of income have dried up because their victims are no longer earning money for them.
These victims of modern slavery, no longer of any use, will be given even less food and be cruelly punished for their inability to earn money for their masters. There is only one way they can be rescued and that is if we all look out for the signs of Modern Slavery and then, as we are acutely aware, report it.
In the current circumstances our movements are, quite properly, restricted but here are some of the indications of modern slavery to look for when we are on our way to work, at work, volunteering or taking our one hour of daily exercise. We might also spot signs amongst people at night shelters, food banks or those begging:
Fearful or distrustful of authorities
Someone speaking on their behalf
Limited social interaction
Poorly clothed and unkempt
A group of people living in one property picked up/dropped off at irregular hours
Vastly overcrowded accommodation, possibly indicated by an implausible number of black refuse bags left for collection.
If you have reasons to suspect Modern Slavery:
DO NOT approach or engage with the apparent victim or perpetrator
DO mentally note any details such as clothing, language spoken between them, where and when etc
DO call the police on 101 or always use 999 in an emergency
DO also call the Modern Slavery Helpline 08000 121 700 giving the same details (adding that you have already alerted the police).