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Anti-Slavery Day – Signs of Exploitation All Employers Should Know

Anti-Slavery Day – Signs of Exploitation All Employers Should Know
18 October 2023

For Anti-Slavery Day, which takes place on 18 October 2023, CHAS is reminding businesses to stay vigilant about modern slavery and watch out for signs of exploitation in their supply chains. 

With an estimated 122,000 victims in the UK, modern slavery is prevalent across multiple sectors, but it can be challenging to detect. However, there are some red flags that individuals, businesses, and organisations can look out for to help identify potential cases of modern slavery. These include: 


  • Evidence of being controlled by someone else: Victims of forced labour are often tightly controlled or threatened by their "employers". They may be escorted to and from work or the shops and often be forced to work excessively long hours without breaks or time off. They might also be reluctant to interact with others, particularly police or other authorities. 
  • Personal belongings and appearance: Victims might have limited personal belongings, including mobile phones or personal identification such as passports. Without access to laundry facilities or financial means to buy new ones, their clothes may appear dirty or worn and unsuitable for work.
  • Suspicious working conditions: Unusual or hazardous working conditions, such as workers being locked inside a workplace, may indicate forced labour. Workers may also be denied proper safety equipment, such as appropriate PPE, increasing their risk of injury or health issues.
  • Signs of physical and psychological abuse: Forced labour victims might show signs of malnourishment due to lack of food and poor nutrition. They may be being physically abused and regularly display injuries such as bruising or unhealed wounds. Symptoms of psychological abuse can include anxiety, criminal behaviour, depression and fear.


Keep in mind that the presence of one or more of these red flags does not necessarily indicate slavery, but it should raise suspicion and prompt further investigation. If you suspect modern slavery or human trafficking, contact the Modern Slavery Helpline on: 08000 121 700 or online.

When it comes to preventing modern slavery within supply chains, working with an expert such as CHAS can help organisations verify their contractor base and bolster supply chain due diligence. For example, CHAS Clients can use the CHAS Client portal to find contractors qualified to the CHAS Elite standard, which incorporates the Common Assessment Standard, a qualification that assesses businesses across 13 elements, including modern slavery.

CHAS is also proud to be part of the Supply Chain Sustainability School's Modern Slavery Group, which drives a common approach to identifying, preventing, mitigating and remediating modern slavery risks and labour exploitation. They offer a library of free resources, including videos, e-learning, toolbox talks, practical toolkits and templates to help businesses tackle modern slavery with new resources planned for early 2024, including a common heatmap for exploitation risks.

Picture: a photograph of someone pointing at a laptop. Image Credit: Unsplash

Article written by Alex Minett | Published 18 October 2023


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