Modern Day Slavery

Modern slavery can take many forms including the trafficking of people, forced labour, servitude and slavery.

As a recruitment agency we need to be very alert to the signs of exploitation and make all the relevant checks on all workers registering with us. The main sectors affected include, but are not limited to are; agriculture, food processing, fisheries, construction, manufacturing and the hospitality industry.

Anyone can become a victim of modern slavery. In some cases Eastern European men and women are promised a job in the UK and fid that they are forced by their traffickers to work for little or no pay. Through threat, violence or coercion victims may be forced to live in squalid accommodation and have their identity documents taken from them.


Legal documents – is the person in possession of their legal documents (passport, identification and have their own bank account details) or are these being held by someone else? Victims will often be forced to use false or forced identity documents.

Pay – Does each worker have their own bank account? Are there a group of works who have their wages paid into the same bank account? This may be a sign of an illegal gangmaster collecting all their wages.

Right to work – Is the person legally able to work in the UK? Ensure appropriate checks are made on all workers.

Shared occupancy – Check the names and addresses of worker. A high number of people listing the same address may indicate shared occupancy, often assign of exploitation.

Appearance – Does the person look malnourished, unkempt, or appear withdrawn? Are they suffering physical injuries? Do they have few personal possessions and often wear the same clothes? What clothes they do wear may not be suitable for their work.

Behaviour – Is the person withdrawn or appear frightened, unable to answer questions directed at them or speak for themselves and/or an accompanying third party speaks for them? If they do speak, are they inconsistent in the information they provide, including basic facts such as the address where they live? Do they appear under the control/influence of others and rarely interact with colleagues?

Medical care – Does the person have old or serious untreated injuries? Have they delayed seeing a healthcare professional, and are they vague, reluctant or inconsistent in explaining how the injury occurred?

Fear of authorities – Is the person afraid of the police, immigration, and the tax office? Are they scared of removal or what might happen to their families?

Debt bondage – Does the victim perceive themselves to be in debt to someone else or in a situation of dependence?

If you have any questions please call and speak to Sandra.

Sandra Smart

About the author

I believe that recruitment is at the heart of a growing economy and that a different type of recruitment service, with honesty, efficiency and integrity at its heart, can benefit all. Octopus Personnel is the result of hard work, focus and commitment to that vision – to delivering consistently great results for our candidates and clients alike, as well as ensuring the agency is a vibrant, inclusive, inspirational place to work and develop rewarding careers.