Learn how to spot the signs of modern slavery, what to do if you encounter it and how you can report it. 

What does modern slavery look like?

Victims of modern slavery can be of any age, race, or gender. There is no ‘typical’ victim. However, there are physical and behavioural indicators that may mean someone is being exploited. 


  • Show signs of physical or psychological abuse and untreated injuries

  • Look malnourished or unkempt, or appear withdrawn and neglected

  • Seem under the control or influence of others

  • Wear the same clothes every day

  • Wear no safety equipment even if their work requires it


  • Living in dirty, cramped or overcrowded accommodation

  • Living and working at the same address

  • Appear unfamiliar with their neighbourhood or where they work


  • Rarely allowed to travel on their own

  • Collected and dropped off on a regular basis early in the morning or late at night

  • In a crowded minibus with other workers

  • Have no control of their identification documents such as their passport

Seeking help

  • Reluctant to seek help and avoid eye contact

  • Appear frightened or hesitant to talk to strangers

  • Fear of police, don’t know who to trust or where to get help

  • Afraid of deportation, and risk of violence to them or their family

Download posters and leaflets to raise awareness in your area

What to do and who to contact if you spot the signs or are worried that someone might be trapped in modern slavery.

As with other crimes, it is important that you report any suspicions of modern slavery to the police. Do not attempt to intervene yourself, as you may put yourself and those around you – including the potential victim – in danger. 

Who to contact

If there is an emergency and someone is in immediate danger, call 999

If you would like to report any non-emergency suspicious activity in your local area then call your local police on 101 or go to your local police station.

If you need advice or support on a modern slavery issue then you can call the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700. It operates 24 hour a day, 365 days a year. You can also seek guidance or ask questions through their website.

The Clewer Initiative has a individual web page specifically for helping people report their suspicions of modern slavery. It's designed as a quick reference page for smartphones and can be saved to your phone's home screen for fast access.