Modern Slavery Handbook for front line workers

London Homelessness charity The Passage has produced a Modern Slavery Handbook which explains what slavery looks like in the homeless community, what to watch out for and what you can do about it.

The Handbook is extremely useful in helping organisations to understand the process for referral as well as recognising the indicators of potential victims. It has been specifically created for staff who work in the homelessness sector, particularly front line workers, managers and volunteers.

Modern slavery encompasses:

  • sexual exploitation
  • forced labour
  • child slavery
  • forced criminality
  • domestic servitude
  • forced marriage
  • organ harvesting, and
  • human trafficking.

It can affect men, women and children, from abroad or from the UK. Victims are forced to work against their will on farms and building sites, in factories, restaurants, nail bars, car washes, brothels, massage parlours and private homes. Traffickers and exploiters use coercion and deception to keep control over their victims.

The Handbook defines each form of modern slavery in turn, gives a case study example, and lists a number of indicators for each, which will help front line workers to identify potential victims through their behaviours.

Modern slavery and homelessness

The Passage report Understanding and Responding to Modern Slavery in the Homelessness Sector (2017) highlights the similarity in vulnerabilities of people who are homeless and those who are victims of modern slavery.

  • Homeless people and rough sleepers are particularly vulnerable to grooming, psychological manipulation, physical abuse and exploitation as a result of substance addictions, mental health issues, trauma, loneliness and instability.
  • Victims who have fled from their traffickers may be destitute, without ID documents, and become rough sleepers who have no recourse to public funds.
  • After leaving the support services provided by the government, through the National Referral Mechanism (NRM), gaps in services and the availability of longer-term support can lead to adult victims of modern slavery becoming vulnerable and homeless.
  • Perpetrators and traffickers have been seen trying to recruit homeless people in day centres, night shelters and at soup runs.

Following The Passage report, modern slavery was included in the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 (chapter 25), and the Rough Sleeping Strategy 2018 (section 107).

Download a pdf copy of the Modern Slavery Handbook.

Alternatively hard copies are available via Carly Jones at SIFA Fireside. Please email carlyjones@sifafireside.co.uk.