What is meant by modern slavery in the UK? Most people are familiar with slavery in the way that it occurred in the United States some time ago. But, it is a sad reality that, even in 2023, it is still reported in many areas around the world, including the UK and other developed nations.
Of course, slavery is outlawed and illegal in almost all countries, and if you are implicated in its practice, you will be subjected to a heavy prison sentence. But, it is worth knowing exactly what modern slavery is defined as under UK law, especially if you run a company that purchases products, such as clothing, from overseas, where these laws are a bit more flexible. So, here are some of the most common types of modern slavery as defined in the UK.
A Quick Guide on Modern Slavery in The UK
This is when someone is made to work against their will through violence, threats, or other forms of coercion. Indeed, this is often seen overseas in sweatshops, which can be troublesome if this practice is associated with your company in the UK.
If you aren’t sure whether your business is inadvertently supporting forced labour overseas, it is best to seek legal support from a criminal solicitor to investigate.
This involves bringing people into a country or moving them around within a country for the purpose of exploitation. While most people associated human trafficking with sex work, it can be linked to the aforementioned forced labour or even domestic servitude.
This is when someone is forced to work to pay off a debt, and the terms of the debt are not transparent or fair. In the UK, there have been a few cases of this reported over the last few years, relating to the infamous loan sharking. So, if you suspect that you have taken out a loan that is hard to understand the terms of, you should seek legal advice, as it may be categorised as debt bondage.
Children under the age of 18 should not be made to work, and it is a form of modern slavery if they are. Once again, many businesses in the UK inadvertently support this practice if they buy their merchandise overseas. So, to avoid getting caught up in an accusation of supporting child labour, it is best to ensure that the goods you purchased are sourced ethically.
This is when someone is made to work in a household, and their freedom is restricted; this can look very similar to the traditional Cinderella story, but it is commonly aimed at younger and more vulnerable women.
This is when someone is forced to perform sexual acts against their will; it is linked to human trafficking and domestic servitude and, once again, tends to be aimed at children and younger, vulnerable people.
This is when someone is forced to marry against their will. In some cases, this can occur below the legal age of consent for marriage in the UK, which is 16 with parental permission, and can be based on religious grounds.
We hope this quick guide on modern slavery in the UK has given you an informed outlook on what it actually means. Sadly, these practices not only exist in the UK but in many other countries as well. Change can only happen through unity – choosing not to support companies that you suspect have practices that go against basic human rights.