Modern slavery

Modern Slavery can take many forms including the trafficking of people, forced labour, servitude and slavery. The term ‘Modern Slavery' captures a whole range of types of exploitation, many of which occur together. These include but are not limited to:

  • sexual exploitation
  • domestic servitude
  • forced labour
  • criminal exploitation
  • other forms of exploitation: organ removal; forced begging; forced benefit fraud; forced marriage and illegal adoption.

The Government has brought together resources related to modern slavery to raise awareness.

Modern Slavery Act 2015

The Act consolidated the current offences relating to trafficking and slavery.

Its key areas includes:

The Anti-Slavery Commissioner has made a range of videos on modern slavery available, including for local government and the emergency services.


Duty to notify

The ‘duty to notify' provision for specified public authorities is set out in the Modern Slavery Act. From 1 November 2015, local authorities have a duty to notify the Home Office of any individual encountered in England and Wales who they believe is a suspected victim of slavery or human trafficking.

A range of government resources explain the meaning of ‘duty to notify' and explain what you need to do if you think someone has been a victim of modern slavery:

  • how to notify the government if someone has been a victim of modern slavery
  • the process for victims under 18
  • which forms should be filled in
  • what to do if the victim wants to remain anonymous

The National Referral Mechanism (NRM)

The NRM is the process by which potential victims of modern slavery, including human trafficking, are identified. The NRM was extended to all victims of modern slavery - both children and adults - in England and Wales following the implementation of the Modern Slavery Act.

It is estimated that there were between 10,000 and 13,000 potential victims of modern slavery in the UK in 2013 but in 2015, only 3,266 potential victims were identified and referred to the NRM. The Duty to Notify is intended to gather better data about modern slavery.

Following on from a review of the NRM, the NRM pilot of launched in August 2015 has been extended until March 2017. As a result the Statutory Guidance to support implementation of this aspect of the Modern Slavery Act is likely to be delayed until later next year.

Sharing good practice

We know there are great examples of local authority work on tackling modern slavery and supporting victims. Do let know if you wish to share these.

More information

Other related resources

National agencies

Voluntary Sector Organisations

Other related resources

  • Please see other resources on the LGA website on support for unaccompanied children, who are at risk of being or becoming victims of modern slavery.
  • The LGA works with a range of partners to provide information and resources that are designed to help local councils and their partners fulfil their safeguarding responsibilities to adults in their local areas.
  • A range of resources is available in relation to keeping children safe, including responding to and preventing child sexual exploitation

12 January 2017