Helpline Appeal - FAQs

Why is the Modern Slavery Helpline in crisis?

We launched the UK Modern Slavery Helpline in 2016 to offer a lifeline to anyone who is being affected by, or has a concern about, modern slavery. Demand has grown quickly, from forty calls a week to over 250 contacts per week and it has identified over 15,000 victims in the UK alone.

Data and reports generated by the Helpline provide ongoing, real time insight and intelligence to police forces, Border Force, the Home Office and other key organisations fighting modern slavery in the UK.

The demand for the Helpline’s operations has increased significantly while key income from partnerships has been slower to secure than anticipated. As a result, we have been left without enough funding to sustain the Helpline.

If it is saved, how will the Helpline be sustained in the long term?

Unseen has approached the UK government for some support to sustain the Helpline longer term. We have developed a range of services for businesses which will generate income to fund the Helpline. In addition, we have invested in our fundraising team to increase income for the Helpline through long-term, strategic fundraising and partnership activity.

Could this situation have been avoided?

Up until now we have not received any public funds for the Helpline and Unseen has funded its operation thanks to initial support from Google Foundation and BT and more recently from policing authorities and corporate sponsors. In recent months we have restructured the Helpline to streamline operations. We have increased our fundraising capacity and are building strong links with corporate partners to secure long-term income.

We have also asked the UK Government to provide support. However, the current political situation has resulted in a delay in the Government response. We are committed to keeping the Helpline open and have now committed £400,000 from our reserves. We have launched the Emergency Appeal to ensure that we can keep the Helpline operational whilst we secure a sustainable funding mix from Government, corporate partners and revenue activity.

What happens if you do not reach your target?

If we do not reach our target the Helpline will close. This will mean thousands of victims will remain trapped, hidden and exploited without this vital lifeline to freedom.

Will my donation be refunded if the Helpline closes?

No. Due to the nature of the crisis, we’re afraid we cannot ensure this. We are confident that together we will keep the Helpline open and as a key supporter we promise to keep you appraised of the situation as it unfolds.

However, by making a donation, you agree that if the Helpline receives too much or too little funding, your gift will be used by Unseen where it is needed most.

Who can call the Helpline?

Anyone. In 2018, 54% of calls came either from a victim – someone like Tania - or from someone in direct contact with a victim. 35% of calls came from members of the public who had observed suspicious activity and wanted to report it. We also receive many calls from frontline professionals. In 2018, we saw a 37% increase in calls from law enforcement officers and a 32% increase from NHS staff. Our expert team takes them through the process of victim identification in real time and provides information on the best way to support each individual. Without our input many victims are overlooked.

How much does the Helpline cost to run?

Its cost c.£550,000 a year to run the Modern Slavery Helpline. We need to raise £800,000 to keep the Helpline open and keep it running for approximately 18 months, during which time other sustainable income sources can be fully secured.

How has the appeal gone so far?

We launched the public appeal in September 2019 with an urgent call for funding to help save the UK Modern Slavery Helpline from closure on 30th November. The response to the Helpline appeal has been incredible and we have raised enough to keep the lines open into early 2020. Now the focus is on securing longer term funding to sustain the Helpline into the future.

You can read more about the UK Modern Slavery Helpline at