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Modern slavery

Modern slavery includes human trafficking, slavery, domestic servitude, forced or compulsory labour, and sexual exploitation. It can affect anyone regardless of age, ethnicity, nationality, gender or economic background. They are usually vulnerable, and criminals target them in order to coerce them into forced or exploitative work.

The numbers of people identified in Hertfordshire as victims of modern slavery have grown annually, however it is usually a hidden crime so the real numbers could be much higher.

Identifying modern slavery

Victims of slavery and exploitation are often hidden in plain sight. They are put to work in businesses, homes or other situations where most people would assume their rights are being respected.

As such it is vital that the public are aware that modern slavery does exist, what signs to look out for and where to report their concerns.

Signs to look out for:

Signs of Abuse

Living and Working   Conditions


Other Signs of   Modern Slavery

Physically malnourished, unkempt, or neglected

Untreated injuries

Lack of healthcare

Appearing anxious, agitated, or withdrawn

Presenting as submissive, tense, nervous or paranoid

Avoiding eye contact

Dirty, cramped, or overcrowded living accommodations or workspace

Unpaid or paid very little

Excessive work hours

Unusual work restrictions (such as prohibited from taking breaks)

Living or working at the same address

Unsafe working conditions or gear

Restricted freedom of movement or confinement

Unable to travel alone

Spoken for by someone else

Lack of control over finances or identification documents

Rarely interacts with others

Unusual travel times or travel arrangements

Reluctance to seek help

Fear of law enforcement

Missing identification documents

Owes a large debt, unable to be paid off

Lack of knowledge as to whereabouts

Inconsistent stories

Fear of deportation

Reporting Modern Slavery

  • If you believe a person is a victim of modern slavery or is in immediate danger, call 999 straight away
  • To report concerns, get advice, or seek help, call the confidential UK Modern Slavery Helpline at 0800 012 1700 or visit the website
  • Report suspicions of modern slavery by calling 101 or reporting through the website.

Operation Tropic:

Hertfordshire Constabulary has a dedicated modern slavery unit called Operation Tropic. The team was created to provide specialist support to trafficking or modern slavery investigations in the county and to coordinate the Force’s overall response to this growing issue.

Hertfordshire’s response:

The Hertfordshire Modern Slavery Partnership was set up to strengthen partnerships and systems to tackle human trafficking in the county. The partnership consists of approximately 40 statutory and non-statutory agencies and charities, including 10 district and borough councils, Hertfordshire County Council, the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office and Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Operation Tropic.  

The Partnership is coordinated by Shiva Foundation, a corporate foundation that aims to tackle and prevent human trafficking and modern slavery in the UK.

For more information on the partnership and modern slavery, visit the Police and Crime Commissioner’s website.

Download modern slavery leaflet 
Download modern slavery (for taxis) leaflet

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