News

Communities urged to ‘Spot the Signs’ of Domestic Slavery

Merseyside / April 12

A new pilot campaign has launched to help tackle modern slavery within communities in the UK.

It will focus on helping those trapped in domestic slavery, where victims are often kept against their will, mistreated and forced to work long hours with no pay

Leading charities and community and faith groups including Redeemed Christian Church of God, Yoruba Heritage Society and Celestial Church of Christ are working together to raise awareness and increase reporting within at-risk communities.

Following the release of ‘Have you Heard?’ which demonstrates the devastating impact of being held as a domestic slave (also known as illegal househelp), a second short film, Spot the Signs, is being released to educate communities and anyone who might come into contact with a victim on how to spot the signs of domestic slavery.

Telling the story from the victim’s perspective, Spot the Signs, shows how ‘Theresa’ was promised a better life in the UK but when she arrived the family she was staying with took her passport away, denied her an education and subjected her to abuse. She is rescued when a pastor at her church is able to spot the signs of that she is being held in slavery.

Produced by award-winning Nigerian film maker Ogo Okpue, in partnership with the Salvation Army and child protection charity AFRUCA, the film drives home the importance of everyone looking out for signs of domestic slavery, which so often happens behind closed doors – from health visitors to church leaders and from shop keepers to local police.

By anonymously reporting signs of slavery to the 24/7 Modern Slavery helpline, victims can be taken out of that situation and given specialist support to get their life back.

There are an estimated 10,000-13,000 victims of Modern Slavery in the UK today. No community is immune; modern day slavery exists in nail bars and car washes, on fishing boats and farms and in people’s homes.

The following signs may indicate someone is living in Domestic Slavery:

  • What kind of conditions are they living in?
  • Do they stand out from other family members?
  • Can they freely contact their friends or family?
  • Do they seem afraid or anxious?
  • Have their passport or documents been taken away?
  • Do they work in excess of normal working hours?

Justine Currell, CEO of Unseen explains how calling the Modern Slavery Helpline can save lives: “Since its opening in October last year, the Modern Slavery Helpline has received hundreds of calls and has already assisted in helping twelve people out of the misery of domestic servitude. Reporting any potential signs of Domestic Slavery is critical as this information helps authorities connect the dots and take action.

It’s so hard to help those living in these extreme conditions as they are often too vulnerable to seek support and the abuse goes on behind closed doors. It means everyone has a role to play in reporting suspicions and ensuring people get the help they need. There is specialist support and safe houses available to victims but we need your help to identify them. Calls are confidential and give victims a chance of rescue. ”

The new film can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KMtaUjsB6h0

To report concerns, people should call the Modern Slavery helpline on 08000 121 700 or visit www.unseenuk.org