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Domestic Servitude

Domestic servitude is a form of trafficking which is extremely difficult to detect because the crime is taking place in private residences as seemingly normal practice. It is used as a cover for the exploitation and control of those posing as “domestic help”. These seemingly normal employment arrangements can transition into a situation whereby the victims cannot leave their place of work/ residence on their own free will.

Domestic servitude is a type of forced labour whereby the victim is usually expected to work in or around a person’s home every day and be ‘on call’ 24 hours a day.

This type of slavery can affect a spouse, partner, child, family member or a complete stranger. The victims can be male, female, young or old, UK citizens or foreign nationals.

Spot the signs of domestic servitude  

  • Potential victims may appear unhealthy – malnourished, dirty, scruffy, or display signs of bruising/injuries;
  • They might show signs of emotional and physical trauma – appearing nervous and frightened of other people living at the same address; 
  • They could be kept separate to the rest of the family; 
  • They are working excessive hours – “on call” 24 hours a day; 
  • There is no freedom of movement – they’re not allowed to leave the house unless accompanied by the “employer”; 
  • They have no access to mobile phones, cash, banking, their personal documentation, people outside of the property; 
  • They are not up to date on current affairs; 
  • They are conditioned not to engage with authority and are fearful of it; 
  • They have no bedroom or proper sleeping area; 
  • They have no private space and are not allowed in certain rooms of the house. ​

Do you recognise any of these things happening where you live or work? On your commute to and from work? Or when going about your daily routine? If so, please report any intelligence by calling 101

Alternatively, you can direct your call anonymously via the Modern Slavery Helpline on 0800 121 700 or Crimestoppers on 0800 111 555.

You can also fill in this online form, by clicking here.