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Modern slavery and organised crime

We are working in partnership to look into the effects of organised crime, which includes immigration crime, modern slavery and exploitation.

We already work with licensed premises, the night time economy and have an integrated offender management scheme, which all helps to disrupt organised crime.

Trading Standards also work to reduce the number of unsolicited calls by doorstep traders.

The Home Office released a serious organised crime strategy, which aims to reduce opportunities, strengthen enforcement and safeguard communities from organised crime.

Modern slavery

Modern slavery is where a person is brought to, or moved around the country by others who threaten, frighten or hurt them, and force them into work or other things they don't want to do. It is a term used to describe:

  • human trafficking, slavery, forced labour and domestic servitude
  • slavery practices such as debt bondage, sale or exploitation of children and forced marriage

The exploitation of these victims can take many forms.

Sexual exploitation

People coerced, forced or intimidated into providing services of a sexual nature. How to spot it:

  • they may only have limited amounts of clothing which is mostly 'sexual' in nature
  • they may be only able to speak sexual words in English or the language of their clients
  • they may show signs of abuse, health symptoms, ritual abuse or witch craft, and may show signs of substance abuse
  • adverts for the premises may advertise the sexual services of people from particular ethnic or national groups

Domestic servitude

People who live with a family, working as a domestic servant or nanny. How to spot it:

  • they will rarely be allowed outside the house alone
  • they may sleep on a sofa or in a study
  • they may only feed on the family's leftovers

Forced labour

This could be people working in factories, farms, or fast food restaurants. How to spot it:

  • they may have little protective equipment
  • they may live in overcrowded rented accommodation with bins filled with fast food packaging
  • minibuses may pick them up at unusual times

Forced street crime

People begging or committing pickpocket or robbery offences, typically in public places or on public transport. How to spot it:

  • they may have signs of bruising, cuts or mutilation and be especially fearful of law enforcement and adults in general
  • one adult may be the guardian of a large group of children

Cannabis cultivation

People working in houses growing cannabis. How to spot it:

  • these houses will typically have their windows covered permanently from the inside
  • there may be visitors at unusual times of day or night
  • there may be a vent protruding from a window or the roof, with a pungent smell coming from inside and cooling fan noises

Organ trafficking

People who are trafficked so that their organs can be harvested, typically kidneys. How to spot it:

  • large visible scars on either side of their abdomen

Vulnerable locations

Because of their nature and the services they provide, some business types are more susceptible to having trafficking victims among their workers, such as:

  • nail bars
  • employment agencies
  • letting agents
  • care homes
  • brothels
  • businesses suspected of using migrant or cheap labour
  • fast food outlets
  • hotels and hospitality venues
  • 'pick your own' sites and other agricultural businesses
  • soup kitchens
  • car wash sites
  • drop in centres
  • wedding venues (sham marriages)

Watch a video on reading the signs of human trafficking from Crimestoppers.

Modern slavery is, by definition, the same as human trafficking, but this involves the act of transporting and movement of people. Derbyshire Constabulary has information on spotting the signs of human trafficking and how to report concerns.

Section 52 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 places a duty on specified public authorities to notify. Derbyshire and Derby City have a Modern Slavery Partnership which supports and enables the discovery of, and response to, incidents of modern slavery through a victim centred, all encompassing and community based approach.

Modern slavery is a brutal crime affecting thousands in the UK and millions around the world. Victims are in situations of exploitation, controlled by deception, threats and violence. Exploitation can be hidden in plain sight, in car washes, nail bars, fields, factories, brothels and private homes.

The Independent Anti-slavery Commissioner Office, in partnership with the South East Strategic Partnerships local authority lead, has developed a short video for local authorities to inform staff of indicators of modern slavery, signs to look out for and the correct course of actions.

In addition to the video the Anti-Slavery Commissioner's Office has resources including legislation, training materials, guidance and information on your duty to notify the Home Office of potential victims.

Reporting concerns

If you are worried about or suspect that a person may be a potential victim of modern slavery or trafficking, please contact:

  • 999, if the person is at immediate risk
  • Call Derbyshire on 01629 533190 (24 hours adults and children) Children triaged via Starting Point
  • Derby City Council: 01332 640777 and refer to social care
  • 101, if a non-emergency - quote Modern Slavery Human Trafficking Unit
  • Modern Slavery Human Trafficking Unit for advice tel: 0300 122 8057 or email:

Derby and Derbyshire Modern Slavery Partnership

Partnership is key to the fight against modern slavery. By working in partnership we can assemble a range of skills, resources and commitments which are required to push back at this horrendous crime, where people are seen as a commodity and not as a human being.

In response to the modern slavery act 2015, the Derby and Derbyshire Modern Slavery Partnership was formed. The vision of the partnership is to protect the public by identifying and safeguarding potential victims of modern slavery and human trafficking and target those who commit this crime. Partnership work is rooted in having a visible impact on people's lives and making a difference for them and their long term outcomes.

For more information, please see the Derby and Derbyshire Modern Slavery Partnership Annual Report attached to this page.

Joint Derby and Derbyshire Practice Guidance for responding to Adults and Child Victims of Modern Slavery

This guidance (attached to this page) is intended to provide clear and up-to-date information on the key facts and to help staff recognise the signs and respond effectively, so that more victims get help and perpetrators are brought to justice. This guidance is split between adults and child victims. The reason for this guidance is to address the situations that occur when a child may be accompanied with an adult. The guidance will also help staff understand both processes when referring potential victims into services and will assist those:

  • who may encounter potential victims of modern slavery
  • are involved in supporting victims
  • are responsible for referring into the National Referral Mechanism (NRM)

County lines

County lines is the police term for urban gangs supplying drugs to suburban areas, and market and coastal towns using dedicated mobile phone lines or 'deal lines'.

It involves child criminal exploitation (CCE) as gangs use children and vulnerable people to move drugs and money. Gangs establish a base in the market location, typically by taking over the homes of local vulnerable adults by force or coercion in a practice referred to as ‘cuckooing’.

County lines is a major, cross-cutting issue involving drugs, violence, gangs, safeguarding, criminal and sexual exploitation, modern slavery, and missing persons; and the response to tackle it involves the police, the National Crime Agency, a wide range of Government departments, local government agencies and VCS (voluntary and community sector) organisations.

County lines activity and the associated violence, drug dealing and exploitation has a devastating impact on young people, vulnerable adults and local communities.


We are aware that victims may be approaching and accessing different support services during the COVID-19 pandemic, therefore the Home Office have developed leaflets on 'spotting the signs' for agencies who are not first responders. This includes information on what to do if they encounter a potential victim of modern slavery.