“Slavery and human trafficking are illegal. Yet, there are still an estimated 40.3 million people trapped in modern slavery around the world today”.

Modern slavery concerns the exploitation of people who are coerced, deceived, forced into, or expected to accept a life of abuse, servitude, inhumane and degrading treatment.

People who become victims of modern slavery are exploited for many reasons including sex, labour, organ donation, domestic servitude, financial benefit to the exploiter and other criminal purposes. They may become victims through circumstance or association and are vulnerable. For the exploiters modern slavery is a means of financial gain and of exerting power and control over another human being who is used as a commodity.

It is a profitable method of criminal activity for organised crime groups. Victims are often paid less than the minimum wage but do not recognise that they are exploited because the sum is more than they would otherwise be paid in their home country.

What is slavery? – Slavery is described as the status or condition of a person over whom any or all of the powers attaching the right of ownership are exercised. In essence characteristics of ownership and indoctrination need to be present for a stage of slavery to exist.

What is servitude? – Servitude is linked to slavery but is much broader than slavery. It includes in addition to the obligation to provide certain services to another the obligation to ‘serf’ to live on the other’s property and the perceived impossibility of changing his or her status.

What is forced or compulsory labour? – Forced or compulsory labour is defined as being ‘all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not offered them self voluntarily’. Case law suggests that indicators of forced or compulsory labour include recruitment by deception, coercion and/or abuse, exploitation at work and coercion at destination. Victims may be transported to and from their place of work or even live at their place of work, often in poor conditions. Forced labour can be found in factories, cleaning, nail bars, construction, care, restaurants and hospitality.

THINK – It could be a visitor to the hotel, a friend or a colleague!


  • Physical Appearance – Signs of physical or psychological abuse, looks malnourished or unkempt, anxious or may appear withdrawn and neglected. Do they have untreated injuries, poor health and sanitation.
  • Psychological – Fearful or scared, anxious or stressed, angry or agitated, withdrawn, traumatised, confused, unable to speak intelligibly.
  • Isolation – Appear to be under the control/influence of others. Rarely interact with others. Relationships which don’t seem right, eg a young teenager with a much older boyfriend/girlfriend. Little or no access to their earnings or cash of their own. Limited or no contact with their families or people outside their immediate environment.
  • Poor living conditions – Dirty, cramped or overcrowded accommodation
  • Restricted freedom of movement – No identification documents or false identity. Very few personal possessions, wearing same or inappropriate clothing. Appear to be closely monitored/directed/controlled by dominant male/female/group and allows others to speak for them. Do not appear in control of possessions eg money, bankcards, ID.
  • Usual travel times – Dropped off or collected from work on a regular basis at unusual times. Unusual travel arrangements. Have had the fees for their transport to the country of destination paid for by facilitators whom they must pay back.
  • Reluctant to seek help – Avoid eye contact, appear frightened or hesitant to talk/interact with others. Mistrustful of authorities. Does the person appear to be instructed or coached by someone else?
  • Invisible – Are they invisible to local authorities and service providers eg health, education and housing. Do may not appear to know their home or work address. Limited or no access to medical care. A guest whose passport is in someone else’s control/inaccessible to them.


In the event of a victim reporting the safety of that vulnerable individual is paramount. It takes courage for a victim to come forward as their trafficker or controller may have subjected them to periods of psychological and physical abuse leaving them traumatised.

  • Be vigilant it could be a guest, a friend or a colleague you work with.
  • Don’t be afraid to challenge – but do not put yourself at risk
  • Allocate a staff member to stay with the victim in a private area. Always believe the victim - Listen, reassure and try not to judge.
  • If you have concerns about guests request ID for both parties and obtain as much information as possible
  • Seek assistance of a colleague if unsure – look at support services available.
  • If you have suspicion that something is not right DO NOT IGNORE IT!
  • Contact the Police – use 101 for non-emergency
  • Call 999 if you believe someone is in the process of being trafficked or may be in immediate danger.


For further information:

Contact the City of London Public Protection Unit – [email protected]

www.crimestoppers-uk.org - Give information anonymously


The Shiva Foundation have created a toolkit intended for internal use of hotels and other stakeholders in the industry. It has been created as guidance with recommended action and templates throughout to set up strong processes and protocols to address risks of CSE and modern slavery within your business and supply chains. The Blueprint can be adapted by individual managers, department heads and teams as appropriate.

www.modernslaveryhelpline.org – 0800 0121 700

Download the ‘Unseen’ app – Unseen is an award winning charity working towards a world without slavery.  This app makes it easier than ever to find out about and report concerns in connection to modern slavery.

www.salvationarmy.org.uk – 24 hour confidential referral helpline on 0300 3038151