Modern slavery is a crime that all too often is hidden in plain sight. It comes in many forms and is present in every community.
It is understood that modern slavery and exploitative practice is most likely to occur where the individual is vulnerable through life circumstance, usually linked to poverty. The Church understands that caring for the vulnerable is part of their mission and organises itself to provide care for those in difficult situations.
In addition, Churches and faith organisations are present in a community and as a result are more likely to encounter vulnerable people who are either victims of modern slavery or at risk of being exploited. This might be at a food bank as traffickers use them to feed their victims at no cost to themselves, or it could be a youth group where a young person might be a risk of being entrapped in county lines. With churches having a key role in a community, it’s important to know how to identify and respond to cases of modern slavery and exploitation.
Modern slavery and human trafficking are forms of abuse and as such requires a safeguarding response. Like all concerns of abuse, cases involving modern slavery should fit into the existing safeguarding approach of Recognise, Respond, Record and Refer.