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Lewisham Safeguarding Children Partnership

If you are worried about the welfare or safety of a child or young person

Email: mashagency@lewisham.gov.uk

Tel: 020 8314 6660

Modern Slavery & Child Trafficking

The Modern Day Slavery Act 2015 came into force in October 2015.

The Act

Part 1. Consolidates and clarifies the existing offences of slavery and human trafficking whilst increasing the maximum penalty for such offences. For offences of slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour, or for offences of human trafficking any person found guilty is liable to life imprisonment.

Part 2. Provides for two new civil preventative orders, the Slavery & Trafficking Prevention Order, and the Slavery & Trafficking Risk Order. Request of a Chief Officer of Police, Immigration Officer, or NCA can prevent foreign travel, protect potential victims, and prevent further offences.

Part 3. Provides for new maritime enforcement powers in relation to ships.

Part 4. Establishes the office of Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner and sets out the functions of the Commissioner. To encourage good practice in investigation / victim care.

Part 5. Introduces a number of measures focussed on supporting and protecting victims, including a statutory defence for slavery or trafficking victims and special measures for witnesses in criminal proceedings. Child trafficking advocates, non prosecution of victims compelled to commit crime, presumption of under 18 until appropriate age assessment. Public body has a duty to notify suspected victim of trafficking.

Part 6. Requires certain businesses to disclose what activity they are undertaking to eliminate slavery and trafficking from their supply chains and their own business.

Part 7. Requires the Secretary of State to publish a paper on the role of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority and otherwise relates to general matters such as consequential provision and commencement.

The typology of 17 types of modern slavery offences in the UK

Labour Exploitation

Victims exploited for multiple purposes in isolated environments

Victims who are often highly vulnerable are exploited for labour in multiple ways in isolated rural locations. Victims live on offenders' property in squalid conditions, are subject to repeated abuse and are very rarely paid.

Victims work for offenders

Victims are forced to work directly for offenders in businesses or sites that they own or control (some offenders may be gangmasters). The main method of exploitation is not paying or illegally underpaying victims.

Victims work for someone other than offenders

Victims are employed in a legitimate and often low-skilled job, with legal working conditions, by an employer unrelated to the offenders. Most or all wages are taken by offenders often through control of the victims' bank accounts.

Domestic Servitude

Exploited by partner

Victims are forced to undertake household chores for their partner and often their partner's relatives. If married, the marriage may have been arranged or forced and the servitude often occurs alongside domestic abuse and sexual exploitation.

Exploited by relatives

Victims live with and exploited for household chores and childcare by family members, usually extended family. Many victims are children.

Exploiters not related to victims

Victims live with offenders who are often strangers. Victims are forced to undertake household chores and are mostly confined to the house.

Sexual Exploitation

Child sexual exploitation – group exploitation

Children are sexually exploited by groups of offenders. This is usually for personal gratification, but sometimes the exploitation involves forced sex work in fixed or changing locations and will include characteristics of types 9 and 10. Offenders frequently transport victims to different locations to abuse them.

Child sexual exploitation – single exploiter

Similar to type 7, often involves the grooming of children and transporting them for the purposes of sexual exploitation, although the offending is carried out by one individual.

Forced sex work in fixed location

Victims are trafficked and exploited in established locations set up specifically for sex work. This can include brothels or rooms in legitimate business premises (e.g. massage parlour).

Forced sex work in changing location

Victims are forced into sex work where the location of exploitation frequently changes. Locations include streets, clients' residence, hotels or 'pop-up' brothels in short-term rented property. Victims are frequently advertised online.

Trafficking for personal gratification

Victims are trafficked to residential sites controlled by offenders and sexually exploited for the offenders' own gratification. Some victims may be confined to the site for a long period of time.

Criminal Exploitation

Forced gang-related criminality

Victims are forced to undertake gang related criminal activities, most commonly relating to drug networks. Victims are often children who are forced by gangs to transport drugs and money to and from urban areas to suburban areas and market and coastal towns.

Forced labour in illegal activities

Victims are forced to provide labour to offenders for illegal purposes. The most common example is victims forced to cultivate cannabis in private residences.

Forced acquisitive crime

Victims are forced by offenders to carry out acquisitive crimes such as shoplifting and pickpocketing. Offenders may provide food and accommodation to victims but rarely pay them.

Forced begging

Victims are transported by offenders to locations to beg on the streets for money, which is then taken by offenders. Victims are often children vulnerable adults.

Trafficking for forced sham marriage

Traffickers transport EU national victims to the UK and sell these victims to an exploiter in a one-off transaction. Exploiters marry victims to gain immigration advantages and often sexually abuse them.

Financial fraud (including benefit fraud)

Victims are exploited financially; most commonly their identity documents are taken and used to claim benefits. This type often occurs alongside other types.

Possible Risk Indicators

A child cannot give consent to being exploited, even if they have agreed to being moved/believe they have consented, it is not "informed consent". Any child transported for exploitative reasons is considered to be a trafficking victim. All practitioners should use professional curiosity to support your ability to identify the risk factors.

  • Physical symptoms, i.e. pregnant, STI's, sexual or physical assault, poor dental health. May show signs of physical or psychological abuse, look malnourished or unkempt, or appear withdrawn.
  • Victims may rarely be able to travel on their own, seem under the control or influence of others, rarely interact, or appear unfamiliar with their neighborhood or where they work.
  • Involved in criminal activity, i.e. cannabis factory, begging, pick pocketing.
  • Foreign national child. Brought or moved from another country. Has false documentation, or no passport or ID.
  • With an adult, but unclear what the relationship is.
  • Concerns about the relationship between the parent and child.
  • With an adult who speaks for the child.
  • Orphaned or separated from family or main carers.
  • Possesses money or goods not accounted for.
  • Has not been registered with a GP.
  • May or may not be enrolled at a school.
  • Homeless child.
  • An unrelated or new child discovered at an address.
  • Found in a brothel or sauna.
  • May be working in catering, nail bars, caring for children, cleaning etc.
  • Links to adult(s) with offending history.
  • Missing child. There is a strong possibility the child will be re-trafficked within 24-48 hours of being placed in care.

Procedure in Lewisham

Child Trafficking and Slavery are Child Protection issues and the normal procedures apply. You can make a referral to the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub by telephone 020 8314 6660 or by email mashagency@lewisham.gov.uk or complete a MASH Referral Form

Useful Contacts

  • Athena Service lewishamvawg@refuge.org.uk 0800 112 4052
  • NSPCC Child Trafficking Advice Centre (CTAC): 0808 800 5000 ctac@nspcc.org.uk
  • UK Human Trafficking Centre: 0844 778 2406, UKHTC@nca.x.gsi.gov.uk
  • Refugee Council Advice Line: 020 7346 1134
  • ECPAT UK: 020 7233 9887 ecpat.org.uk
  • Coram Legal Centre: www.childrenslegalcentre.com
  • Children and Families Across Boarders (CFAB) 020 7735 8941 cfab.uk.net
  • Foreign & Commonwealth Office: 020 7008 1500
  • CEOP 020 7238 2320/2307 ceop.gov.uk
  • Home Office http://www.crimereduction.homeoffice.gov.uk/toolkits/tp01.htm

Additional Guidance

Resources & Publications

A typology of modern slavery offences in the UK  October 2017

Home Secretary Amber Rudd announces new measures to improve identification and support for victims of modern slavery.   October 2017

Home Office Resources

ACPO Guidance


Trafficking Toolkit

Human Trafficking Strategy

London Safeguarding Children Board - Trafficked Children toolkit and guidance

Safeguarding Children who may have been trafficked (2011) DfE

Home Office UK Border Code of Practice for Keeping Children Safe from Harm



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