Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery

Modern slavery is the exploitation of children and adults for use as commodities. It takes a number of different forms, encompassing slavery, servitude, forced labour and human trafficking. It is illegal and abusive. The impact on the health and wellbeing of victims is serious and long-lasting. We are committed to supporting the Government’s effort to end this illegal practice. 

The Home Office estimates there are 13,000 victims and survivors of modern slavery in the UK; 55% of these are female and 35% of all victims are trafficked for sexual exploitation. 

It is our duty to be aware of, and alert to the signs of slavery or exploitation. Victims who present in healthcare settings may have little or no engagement with any other services. We therefore have an important role to play in identifying these people. Only through raising concerns can we enable the authorities to take action. 

Resources for Healthcare Workers 

The Modern Slavery Guidance for Health Workers leaflet for healthcare professionals aids identification and support for victims of modern slavery.  

GP referrals can be made to the Local Authority where it is suspected that someone may be a victim of Modern Day Slavery. 

There is a dedicated team within in the Local Authority to handle any “non-statutory” cases. The referral will be triaged, confirmed cases can be referred into the National Referral Mechanism for additional support (as the Local Authority are “first responders”), and/or some initial advice may be given.   

As recommended by the Modern Day Slavery team the GP can complete a standard Adult Safeguarding Referral form and email this to:  

[email protected]

NHS England has published a web page which outlines what modern slavery is and the impact that it has on victims. It also includes a short film aimed to advise NHS staff, including practical examples of what to look out for and what action all NHS staff should take: 

NHS England published a blog on the website as a call to action for all NHS staff. The blog will be flagged with national and trade media and can be found here: 

There are lots of other resources available to help healthcare professionals understand their responsibilities around modern slavery:


UK Government Modern Slavery Collection

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