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Help and support for those who are experiencing or know someone experiencing modern slavery.

Modern slavery can affect people of all ages, gender and races and includes a range of different forms of exploitation. 

Modern slavery in Wales is on the rise. In 2021, 479 referrals of potential victims of slavery were reported. This represents a 25% increase from 2020.

If you feel that you are a victim of slavery it is important that you seek help as soon as you are able to. There are people who will provide you with the help and support you need to break free from slavery.

Modern Slavery Helpline

Call: 0800 01 21 700

Lines are open 24 hours a day and are free from landlines and most mobile phones.

Report a concern on the Modern Slavery Helpline website

An advisor will read it within 24 hours and decide what action needs to be taken.

Common questions

What is modern slavery?

Modern slavery is illegal and is defined as the recruitment, movement, harbouring or receiving of children, women or men through the use of force, coercion, abuse of vulnerability, deception or other means for the purpose of exploitation. 

What are the signs and symptoms of modern slavery?

Slavery is called a hidden crime because it can be difficult to identify a victim.

There have been cases of people escaping and reporting the situation to the police. However, many are physically unable to leave their work sites without an escort and are not free to contact family, friends, or members of the public.

Common signs to look out for:

Physical appearance

  • Is fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, or nervous/paranoid.
  • Exhibits unusually fearful or anxious behaviour.
  • Appear withdrawn.
  • Avoids eye contact.
  • Reluctant to seek help.
  • Lacks health care/dental care.
  • Appears malnourished.
  • Shows signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement, or torture.


  • Not allowed to travel on their own.
  • Rarely interacts with others.
  • Unfamiliar with their neighbourhood or where they work.
  • Seem under the control of others.

Lack of control

  • Has few or no personal possessions.
  • Is not in control of his/her own money, no financial records, or bank account.
  • Is not in control of his/her own identification documents (ID or passport).
  • Is not allowed or able to speak for themselves (a third party may insist on being present and/or translating).
  • May wear the same clothes day in day out or clothes be inappropriate for the work being done.

Poor living conditions

  • Dirty cramped environment.
  • Over-crowded accommodation.
  • Living and working at the same place.

Unusual travel times

  • Maybe dropped off and collected for work on a regular basis either very early or late at night.

Signs specific to child victims:

Absent parent or legal guardian

  • A child is being cared for by an adult that is not their parent or legal guardian. 
  • The quality of the relationship between the child and their adult carer is poor and a reason for concern.
  • May not be attending school or registered with a GP.

Multiple children

  • A number of unrelated children found at one address.
  • Frequent movement of children from a premises.


  • Children may not always demonstrate outward signs of distress and may have a ‘bond’ with those exploiting them and have been groomed to not disclose their abuse – however, they are likely to be very scared and traumatised.

Identity documents

  • Missing, altered or false documentation is common.

Missing children

  • Children who come into contact with authorities often disappear and are re-trafficked within the UK or out of the country.

If you have any concerns, call the Modern Slavery Helpline on 0800 0121 700 or contact one of the specialist agencies who deal with slavery victims.

What will happen if I call the Modern Slavery Helpline?

If you call the Modern Slavery Helpline, your call will be dealt with confidentially and sensitively.

Anyone with concerns that a child or adult is a victim of slavery can contact this helpline. We also welcome calls from victims seeking help  and  practitioners seeking professional advice.

All calls are confidential and are taken by staff that are highly experienced and fully trained. You will be listened to, believed and offered help and support. You will not be judged or blamed and you don’t have to be ready to take any action.

If it is necessary to share information with other agencies, this would only be done with your full consent. The exceptions to this are if your life was in immediate danger or if there was a child at risk. In these circumstances, the authorities would be informed to ensure the safety and well-being of you and your children.

The Modern Slavery Helpline number will not show up on your telephone bill.

The Helpline is run and funded by Unseen.

What will I be asked?

The first consideration will be whether you are in immediate danger and if it is safe for you to speak. Safe arrangements may be made to call you back if you have to end  the call.

Helpline staff will then listen to why you are calling, and will respond to your needs. Whatever the need for the call, and whatever the outcome, Helpline support workers will help you to identify ways in which you can access help and support and increase the safety of you and your children irrespective of what choices you may be making about your relationship.

The Helpline may:

  • refer people (with or without children) to emergency safe accommodation
  • refer you to face-to-face support via a local support service
  • listen to you and offer emotional support.


The Helpline provides support in English. We are also a member of Language Line, and can provide access to an interpreter for callers with language support needs. The Helpline support worker arranges a three-way conversation so that the caller can speak to the Helpline worker through a translator.  

The Helpline also offers BT Type talk for callers with hearing difficulties.

What help is available to me as a survivor of slavery?

In Wales there are organisations that can provide specialist support if you are a survivor of slavery.

Care Pathways and Bawso provide support to those aged 18 and over whilst Barnardos provide support of you are under 18 years of age.

Providing you with the right care, at the right time, for you

A ‘Care Pathway’ is in place for anyone who is suspected of being a survivor of slavery in Wales. The Pathway ensures the right support  is provided  to you, depending on your needs. This includes health services, those provided by local authorities and specialist services as required.

In Wales, the main specialist services are:

Bawso  - Diogel Project

Bawso support workers work with survivors to create individual support plans, which can include financial help, support accessing health services and treatment, specialist counselling, criminal and immigration-related legal advice, education and employment opportunities and other support as needed.

Bawso provide accommodation for men and women as part of their support. They can also work on an outreach basis with those who do not require accommodation.  

If you need help you can contact an Advice Worker on 029 20644633 or 0800 7318147.

New Pathways - Liberate Project

The Liberate workers will provide survivors with psychological support, practical advocacy and  support to escape exploitive situations. They will also liaise with police and other agencies through outreach.

If you require support call 01633 250205 and ask to speak to a human trafficking worker.


Barnardo’s provides support for children ( those under 18 years of age) who have been subject to slavery. A child survivor will be given a support worker who is trained and understands that child victims of trafficking are particularly vulnerable and need support specific to their needs.

If you are under 18, a survivor of slavery and need help then call the Modern Slavery Helpline on 0800 0121700.

Bernardo’s also run specialist Independent Child Trafficking Guardianship Service (ICTGS) services in Wales, that:

  • build trusting relationships with trafficked children to help them build a positive future
  • help children navigate the criminal justice, immigration and social care systems
  • give practical support, such as help with housing, medical needs and education
  • give emotional and psychological support
  • train professionals working with children so they can spot the signs of trafficking and know how to support trafficked children

If a child you are concerned about lives or has links here in Wales, you can submit an ICTG trafficking referral form.