Report human trafficking

This advice applies to England. See advice for See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Scotland, See advice for Wales

Human trafficking is the trade of people for exploitation and commercial gain.

If you think someone has been trafficked, you can help make them safe.

How to report human trafficking

If you suspect human trafficking, call the police. Call 999 if it’s an emergency, or 101 if it’s not urgent.

If you’d prefer to stay anonymous, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

If you don’t want to call the police, you can talk to a charity anonymously.

Identify human trafficking

Human trafficking doesn’t just happen in the sex industry. People are exploited in construction, farming and even working in other people’s homes.

Usually people who've been trafficked are:

  • lied to about what a job involves

  • brought from another country (but people can also be trafficked within the UK) 

  • forced to work 

  • monitored very closely by whoever they work for

Because people are trafficked to work for very little pay or none at all, it’s sometimes called modern-day slavery or labour exploitation.

Signs of human trafficking

All trafficking cases are different, but there are common signs. A victim of trafficking might:

  • have a lack of freedom

  • work for very little or no pay

  • seem to be in debt to someone

  • live in fear of someone or even the authorities

  • have signs of physical abuse, like cuts and bruises

  • move location regularly

Children can be trafficked too. They will share many common signs with adult victims but might stand out from other children because:

  • they have money or possessions they can’t account for

  • they don’t seem to live with parents or guardians 

  • they’re emotionally unstable, for example, aggressive, withdrawn or anxious

You can find out more about spotting the potential signs of human trafficking on the Modern Slavery Helpline’s website.

Get advice

If you want confidential advice about trafficking before calling the police, there are a number of specialist organisations you can talk to. You can contact:

If you need help to decide what to do next, contact your local Citizens Advice.

What happens after you report trafficking

The first thing the police will do is protect someone who has been trafficked from anyone that might harm them.

The police and specialist organisations will work together to provide the victim with practical and emotional support. They’ll get medical care and help arranging accommodation in safe place, away from their traffickers.

If it’s safe, they’ll be helped to return to their home country. If it’s not safe to return, perhaps because they might be trafficked again, they'll get help to stay in the UK permanently. They might be able to get free legal help (called legal aid) for this.

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Page last reviewed on 27 September 2019