News / 28th June 2019

Modern Slavery & Homelessness Report

Unseen has published its report on Modern Slavery and Homelessness, revealing that 353 potential victims of modern slavery experienced homelessness, either before, during or after the exploitation occurred.

The report - Modern Slavery and Homelessness - covers October 2016 to April 2019.

The report utilises data collated through reports to Unseen's Modern Slavery Helpline showing that 48 potential victims were homeless prior to exploitation, 86 potential victims were homeless during exploitation and 234 potential victims were homeless following exploitation.

The report, which is published to coincide with a new campaign – ‘Always Be Aware’ – to raise awareness of the connection between modern slavery and homelessness, also includes information on multi-agency collaboration, and the indicators to be aware of including recruitment methods and common sectors of where work is offered.

To join the campaign, use the hashtag #AlwaysBeAware. A campaign toolkit is available to share from your social media account. Please request this by emailing info.mshelpline@unseenuk.org, including 'Always Be Aware' in the subject line.

Rachel Harper, Manager of the Modern Slavery Helpline, said:

“The Modern Slavery Helpline receives calls about individuals who have escaped situations of exploitation but are still in need - without a home and vulnerable to re-exploitation. And, we know that recruitment tactics include targeting varied vulnerabilities such as poverty, substance dependencies and language barriers. The Helpline’s data on reported cases of modern slavery and homelessness can be used to better inform prevention efforts and responses to exploitation. This report also demonstrates why awareness and collaboration with homeless charities, members of the public and housing agencies is crucial. Anyone could see and report signs of present or past exploitation, and the Modern Slavery Helpline stands as a free, confidential service ready to help 24/7.”

Andrew Smith, CEO of Hull Homeless, Chair of Humber Modern Slavery Partnership, said:

“Traffickers often gain people’s trust at soup kitchens and drop ins and trick them into slavery through false stories of success and money. We know from working with partners around the UK that exploiters and criminal gangs have tried to register as volunteers with homeless charities, using a position of trust to coerce service users into forced labour.

We must look to help all frontline homeless services to better understand the signs, risk factors and potential harm to homeless and roofless people as regards modern slavery. Only by working together in partnership can we make the homeless sector a hostile environment for traffickers and exploiters.”

The report is available to read here.