After previous topics of safeguarding, this month we are going to look at something that comes under that issue: modern slavery.

Modern Slavery is seen in healthcare more often than you would expect. It may be surprising that slavery is still a thing in the modern day, but if you look in the news and online there are more instances of it than some may think.

You might not be able to guess some of the reasons why people are being trafficked as they can be quite obscure e.g.:

  • Sexual exploitation (31%)
  • Forced labour including in the agricultural, construction, food processing & hospitality industries and in factories (22%)
  • Criminal activity including cannabis cultivation, street crime, forced begging and benefit fraud (17%)
  • Domestic servitude (11%)
  • Organ harvesting (<1%)

(statistics from 

Did you know?…

Most healthcare professionals will at some point in their careers encounter someone who has been victimised by modern slavery.

Because of this the government and various agencies, such as the NHS, have made guidance videos (as below) and documents with suggestions on how to keep an eye out and help victims of modern day slavery, some of which can be found in the useful links below.


Some facts for discussion ( & NHS):

  • 13,000 men, women and children are trafficked for exploitation in the UK.
  • 1 in 5 victims of modern slavery report having come into contact with health care services during the time they are trafficked.
  • In 2017, over 5,000 people were referred to British authorities as potential victims of modern slavery which is up 1/3 from 2016 figures (this figure included over 2,000 children) – only 13% of these people were assessed as victims by the end of the year.


Useful Links: