Facebook Pixel Code


MyCuro Menu

Spot the signs of modern slavery and know how to report it



Video courtesy of Unseen.

It’s estimated that 40.3 million people worldwide are held in ‘modern slavery’. Modern slavery is a complex crime and can involve many forms of exploitation, including human trafficking and forced or compulsory labour. 

In the UK, 47% of referrals to the Government’s National Referral Mechanism for modern slavery are individuals who said they were exploited as children.

Many of us know this is happening behind closed doors in the UK, but we may not know the signs that could indicate that someone is being held in modern slavery, or what to do if we see something concerning.

Today, on Anti-Slavery Day, take a moment to learn how to spot the signs of modern slavery and how to report concerns.

Curo is working with Unseen, a UK charity based in Bristol who provide safehouses and support in the community for survivors of trafficking and modern slavery. Through their work Unseen have identified these common indicators of modern slavery: 


  • They’re rarely allowed to travel on their own
  • Appear to be under the control of others
  • Tend not to interact with other people
  • Seem unfamiliar with their neighbourhood or where they work
  • Have relationships which don’t seem right – for example, a young teenager appearing to be the boyfriend/ girlfriend of a much older adult

Restricted freedom of movement

  • They don’t have documents that would allow them to travel – passports, ID, etc.
  • Limited opportunities to move freely
  • Few personal possessions
  • Wear the same clothes day-in day-out

Reluctance to seek help

  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Appearing frightened, or hesitant to talk to strangers
  • Fear of law enforcers
  • Fear of deportation
  • Unsure who to trust or where to get help
  • Fear of violence to them or their family

Physical appearance

  • Signs of physical or psychological abuse, such as untreated injuries, anxiety, agitation, or appearing to be withdrawn and neglected
  • They look malnourished or unkempt
  • Wear clothes that are unsuitable for their work

Poor living conditions

  • They’re living in dirty, cramped or overcrowded accommodation
  • Working and living at the same address.

Unusual travel arrangements

  • They’re always be dropped off at/ collected from work; and very early in the morning or late at night
  • Children dropped off/ picked up in private cars or taxis at unusual times and in places where it isn’t clear why they’d be there.

These are all signs that someone could be held in modern slavery.

You can help.

If you’re concerned about someone, please call the UK Modern Slavery & Exploitation helpline on 08000 121 700. Or you can report a concern online here.

For more information about modern slavery please visit the Unseen website.

Book it, pay it, check it, report it, sort it 
Learn more about MyCuro