Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking

"Spearheading the UK's fight against Modern Slavery" is the UK's first Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner (IASC) and the Commissioners role was created under the Modern Slavery Act 2015.  IASC is the Independent monitoring body of the Home Office. Public authorities are under a duty to co-operate with the Commissioner. This includes those listed below (first responders) and National Health Service Trust established under either section 25 or section 30 (Foundation Trusts) of the National Health Service Act 2006.

The Modern Slavery Act 2015 requires all organisations commissioning, supplying goods or services with a turnover above £36 million to prepare and publish an annual ‘Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement’. To see Solihull CCGs, click here.

Modern slavery is in our communities across the West Midlands. It is complex and often under reported. Victims of all ages tend to be controlled and hidden away. It is an international crime. Organised crime groups systematically exploit large groups of individuals by forcing and coercing them into a life of abuse, poverty, humiliation, shame, indignity, degradation, starvation, loss of their own human organs and ultimately, loss of human life.

Solihull CCG, and on behalf of NHS England – West Midlands have been actively engaged in the fight against modern day slavery. Regionally, and during 2016 we have been supporting the implementation of International and national law and guidance through the West Midlands Anti-Slavery Network. Its primary purpose is to develop a collaborative approach across the region to enable us to support victims. A number of organisations and local authorities, including Solihull CCG engage with the Network and contribute significantly to the partnership meetings. Through the Network we help deliver national and local plans, the West Midlands Modern Slavery Victims Strategy, the West Midlands Police & Crime Plan 2016-2020 and through partnership working, supporting the Chief Executives under the West Midlands Combined Authorities Preventing Violence Against Vulnerable People Board.  

Working together

Across the West Midlands we seek to:

  • Work together, building safer communities to prevent and protect people who are suspected of being potential victims of modern slavery and human trafficking.
  • Empower and support people to make their own decisions.
  • Make enquiries and take action about suspected potential victims and actual abuse.
  • Share information in a timely way.
  • Co-operate with each other.
  • Support people who are victims and provide a service to those who are experiencing, or who are at risk of being abused, enslaved, trafficked or exploited.

Human trafficking is:

  • the movement of a person from one place to another 
  • into conditions of exploitation,
  • using deception, coercion, the abuse of power or the abuse of someone’s vulnerability. 

Trafficking children is “recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring, and/or receipt of a child for the purposes of exploitation” (Article 3c of the United Nations Palermo Protocol 2000). Further guidance can be located within the West Midlands Regional LSCB Trafficking Procedures. At the time of writing, these are within the approval process across the West Midlands.

Examples of trafficking are:

  • Criminal – cannabis cultivation, shoplifting, petty crime, fraud (benefits/identify thefts/ NHS fraud), forced and sham marriages.
  • Sexual – including commercial sexual exploitation such as prostitution, pornography, lap dancing and stripping.
  • Labour - factory, agricultural, food industry, care work, hospitality industry and construction.
  • Domestic Servitude – housework, cooking, childcare.
  • Organ Removal.

All ages, including the unborn can be affected; however, when managing case involving the unborn, children and young people, and people with care and support needs, organisations and practitioners must be mindful of the relevant safeguarding boards procedures.

In addition, statutory guidance related to the Care of unaccompanied and trafficked children: Statutory guidance for local authorities on the care of unaccompanied asylum seeking and trafficked children (2014).

REMEMBER: You can be a victim of trafficking even if you agreed to being moved. A trafficking victim can take place within your area, rural, city or town and not just taking place across international boundaries. 

Slavery is:

  • where ownership is exercised over a person
  • if they are forced or compelled to work.
  • Bought and sold as ‘property’
  • have restrictions placed on their movement, or
  • through mental or physical threat.

What to do if you suspect someone is a victim of modern slavery or human trafficking?

Across the West Midlands, 24/7 help and advice can be obtained from the West Midlands police advice centre

If you are a member of public you can also contact:

  • Crime Stoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
  • Contact the police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.

Members of the public and professionals who are NOT first responders can also contact for advice and guidance:

REMEMBER: For children, across the West Midlands, Barnardo’s provide regional support for child victims of human trafficking raising awareness of the National Referral Mechanism with local authorities and children services via the Panel for the Protection of Trafficked Children.

  • For some young people who have special educational needs and disabilities, consider too whether the Children and Families Act 2014 applies.
  • Not sure – always seek advice from your agencies safeguarding children’s lead or named professional.

REMEMBER for adults who have care and support needs in the West Midlands use the Multi-agency policy and procedures for the protection of with adults care and support who are at risk of abuse or neglect.

  • Consider: Does their particular circumstances engage the Care Act 2014? And/or;
  • the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (statutory framework for people who may lack capacity to make a practical decision)?  

Not sure – seek advice from your agencies safeguarding adults lead and/ or Mental Capacity Act lead.

First Responder

For example, police, County Councils, County Borough Councils, District Councils workers, British Transport Police, National Crime Agency, Gang Master Licensing authorities and immigration have ‘a duty to notify’ the Secretary of State via their respective organisations and National Health Service Trusts.

All cases of trafficked children and adults should be referred to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) using the NRM referral Form. 

Individuals who are recognised as a potential victim of modern slavery through the NRM have access to specialist tailored support for a period of at least 45 days while their case is considered, which may include:

  • access to relevant legal advice
  • accommodation
  • protection
  • independent emotional and practical help

Once the referral is received – timelines apply.

What support will someone receive if they are referred under the NRM process?

Support in England and Wales is currently delivered by the Salvation Army and a number of subcontractors. The Salvation Army will assess each potential victim to determine what support is most appropriate.

You must explain this process to the potential victim using the frontline worker guidance and seek their consent before filling out the NRM form. If they consent to being referred they should sign the form, and also sign if they wish to access support.

However, if the potential victim does not want to be referred to the NRM, then an MS1 form should be completed and sent to dutytonotify@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk. The MS1 form can be anonymous. The MS1 form and guidance is available.

Forms should continue to be sent to the NCA Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Unit (MSHTU) by email to nrm@nca.x.gsi.gov.uk or by fax to 0870 496 5534.

What happens after someone is referred through the National Referral Mechanism?

The Salvation Army, Red Cross and International Organisation for Migration provide expertise on human trafficking and victim care including returning a person-voluntarily- to his or her place of origin or citizenship (known as repatriation).

Hope for Justice rescue victims in the West Midlands and provide victim support with the Jericho Foundation and Adavu providing post NRM Care and Support.

Further information can also be accessed from:

  • Modern Slavery Help Line and Resource Centre – UK - 08000 121 700 - The helpline will serve as a safe, confidential, 24-hour, multi-lingual contact point for victims to access services and support across the UK and for community groups and the public to report suspected incidents of modern slavery. The helpline will also act as a central data hub and resource centre for stakeholders in the anti-slavery field to access training, tools, and good practice.
  • Migrant Help’s Helpline: 0808 8000 630 / 01304 203977
    Email: info@migranthelpuk.org