Modern Slavery Myths

October 17, 2018 9:36 pm, Published by , Leave your thoughts

Today is Anti-Slavery Day in the UK – an opportunity to raise awareness of modern slavery and the role governments, businesses, charities and individuals can play to address the issue. A hidden and pervasive crime, modern slavery is estimated to effect 136,000 people in the UK alone.

This year at Stronger Together, we have worked with our project sponsors in consumer goods and construction to raise awareness in their business and supply chains of the signs of forced labour and what to do if someone notices something suspicious. To encourage people to discuss the facts of modern slavery we have drawn together three common misconceptions of modern slavery below.


Construction specific poster, designed to make employees stop and think about forced labour

‘Forced labour doesn’t affect us’

Forced labour is a systemic human rights abuse which can affect any industry in any country, though some sectors are said to be higher risk than others.

Common factors which indicate a business may be at high risk of forced labour include:

  • Long and complex supply chains
  • A large migrant workforce who maybe more vulnerable to exploitation
  • A reliance on labour agencies without due diligence
  • A reliance on outsourcing.

On an individual level, the products and services you buy may also rely on forced labour; common high-risk services include hand car-washes, nail bars and takeaways.


‘Slavery is hard to spot’

Modern slavery is often said to be ‘hidden in plain sight’, but if you understand the signs that someone may be a potential victim of modern slavery then you are more likely to be able to identify them and respond appropriately.

Signs of forced labour include a person who appears:

  • Malnourished, unkempt or appears withdrawn
  • Seems frightened
  • Has signs of unexplained physical injuries
  • Appears to be under the control or influence of others
  • To be wearing inappropriate clothing for the work they are doing.

There are also many red flags within a business that can be indicators workers may be being exploited such as numerous unrelated workers providing the same contact address or numerous workers providing the same bank account details.[1]


 ‘There’s nothing I can do to help prevent modern slavery’

Understanding the signs of forced labour will mean you are more likely to be able to identify a potential victim and respond appropriately.

3 steps you can take to address the risks of modern slavery:

Step 1 Register on the Stronger2gether website to download pragmatic resources, book training and receive updates on addressing modern slavery
Step 2 Get trained: choose from our range of specialist workshops and book expert face-to-face training or register for an e-learning module
Step 3 Implement our free resources including printable posters, toolkits, checklists and videos to put in place what you have learnt.

If you believe someone may be a victim of modern slavery:

  • Call the Modern Slavery Helpline anonymously on 08000 121 700 to get help, report a suspicion or seek advice
  • Always call the police in an emergency.


[1] For a comprehensive list of indicators of modern slavery visit:

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