Modern slavery is a significantly more common occurrence than many would think, and statistics released by the National Crime Agency found that the rate of people reported as potential victims of modern slavery has more than doubled over the past three years.


Having a thorough knowledge of what may indicate that someone is falling victim to modern slavery is essential for both individuals and businesses alike. Knowing the signs and adequately reporting your suspicions can make a significant difference to, not only the victim’s wellbeing but also to preventing further cases.

There are many indicators of modern slavery, not all will be applied to the same case and some may be difficult to immediately identify. We have compiled a list of twenty of these common indicators:

Indicators of Modern Slavery

  1. Victims may be forced to learn and retell stories by offenders; this ultimately leads to interviews with a lack of credibility
  2. They may come from countries commonly known for being the origin of trafficked people; in 2016 these countries were Albania and Vietnam. The UK was, however, the third most common country.
  3. Often victims may have a history of homelessness
  4. Victims tend to have very few possessions
  5. Modern slaves may be trespassing on private property or be living as illegal tenants
  6. They may not speak when spoken to directly, but allow other members of a group (i.e. the dominant female and/or male) to speak on their behalf
  7. There may be unexplained gaps or moves in their history
  8. Often victims will travel within a group of people who don’t speak the same language and have no visible or clear relationship
  9. Physical signs of neglect, i.e. poor health, sanitation or malnourishment
  10. Psychological signs, i.e. depression, suicidal behaviour, anxiety or psychosis.
  11. Have injuries that are commonly related to certain jobs or an assault
  12. Victims may have marks, scars, tattoos or other signs that indicate an ‘ownership’ by exploiters
  13. They may not have passports or have falsified documents
  14. Have poor spoken English
  15. They may be unable to relay their home address
  16. Victims are often forced to work excessive hours over long periods of time without having days off
  17. Have a history of pickpocketing, shoplifting and other crimes known as ‘survival offending’
  18. Have minor offence convictions across multiple locations
  19. They may pay a disproportionate amount for accommodation, travel, food expenses
  20. Be seen to be eating only leftovers, or eating separately from exploiters

Under the Modern Slavery Act 2015, many companies are now legally obligated to train their staff on issues relating to modern slavery. Our training courses provide attendees with a thorough understanding of the issues; raising their awareness and equipping them with the skills and processes to respond and investigate cases of modern slavery. Click here to book your modern slavery course today.