ANTI-Slavery Day, taking place today, aims to raise awareness of human trafficking and modern slavery across the UK.

Here's what you need to know about modern slavery and how you can help stop trafficking.

What is Anti-Slavery Day and when is it held?

Anti-Slavery Day, held annually on October 18, aims to raise awareness of human trafficking and modern slavery.

The movement is to encourage government, local authorities, companies, charities and individuals to do what they can to address the issue.

It was created by the Anti-Slavery Day Act which was introduced by Anthony Steen CBE, who is now the chair of the Human Trafficking Foundation.

The Anti-Slavery Day Act 2010 reads: The purpose of Anti-Slavery Day shall be to:

  • Acknowledge that millions of men, women and children continue to be victims of slavery, depriving them of basic human dignity and freedom;
  • Raise awareness amongst young people and others of the dangers and consequences of slavery, human trafficking and exploitation and encourage them to be proactive in the fight against it;
  • Draw attention to the progress made by government and those working to combat all forms of slavery, human trafficking and exploitation, and what more needs to be done.

What is modern slavery?

Slavery is defined as forced to work under threats, being owned or controlled by an "employer", usually through mental or physical abuse or threat of abuse, being bought and sold as property and having restrictions placed on his or her freedom.

Modern forms of slavery can include debt bondage – being forced to work to pay off a debt – child slavery, forced marriage, domestic servitude and forced labour.

According to Unseen UK, there are several signs of modern slavery, including:

  • Signs of physical or psychological abuse, appearing malnourished, unkempt, anxious, perhaps with untreated injuries
  • Isolation, rarely allowed to travel alone and appearing to be under the control of others
  • Poor living conditions, for example, being kept in dirty, cramped or overcrowded accommodation and/or living and working at the same address
  • Having no ID documents, few personal possessions and always wearing the same clothes everyday
  • Unusual travel times such as being dropped or collected very early or very late at night
  • Those caught up in modern slavery may be reluctant to seek help, avoid eye contact and appear frightened. They may also be reluctant to speak to strangers and fear law enforcers

How can you help stop trafficking?

If you believe someone is being trafficked you should call 999 straight away or report suspicions of trafficking by calling 101 or visiting your local police station.

You can also dial the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700, which can provide help, support, advice or report suspicions of trafficking.

The Salvation Army runs a 24-hour confidential Referral Helpline on 0300 3038151 or you can also provide information to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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