Modern Slavery Signs – How To Spot A Victim 


The word slavery conjures up images of the 1800s, an era that is associated with unimaginable horrors. Unfortunately, just because slavery was since abolished in the eyes of the law, it doesn’t mean that it has disappeared altogether. Modern slavery is still rife all over the world and signs can be tricky to spot. We’ve put together some things to look out for that could indicate someone is being held and put to work against their will, in unfair and often dangerous circumstances. Read on to find out some signs that could mean someone you know is a victim.  

Firstly, it’s important to understand that modern slavery transcends age, race, and gender and anyone can fall victim, however, people who fall prey to modern slavery are often of a lower socioeconomic standing, or socially vulnerable. Sex trafficking, forced labor, and bonded servitude are all types of modern slavery. Some trafficking victims are forced into having their organs harvested, becoming criminals, or sold to the drug trade. Understanding the variety of circumstances in modern slavery is the best place to start, so do your research and know what it entails.  

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Spot The Signs: 


Many victims will appear unkempt in disheveled clothes, and some may wear the same outfit over and over. They may have signs of physical abuse so look out for repeat cuts, bruises, or marks on their skin that cannot be easily explained away. If they look thin or starved then that can be another indicator. While mental abuse is harder to spot, if someone is outward displaying signs of distress, depression, or anxiety frequently, especially if they are at work, they may be a victim.  


If the person you know seems fearful of speaking aloud, acts jumpy at the smallest things, and avoids eye contact then that can be a warning sign. If they are overly meek and quiet and shy away from help even when they obviously need it then it may be that are under the influence of controlling forces and are too terrified to speak in case they get in trouble.  

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Isolation And Helplessness 

If a person is noticeably isolating themselves from a group and is always followed by one or two other people they may be a victim of modern slavery. If they struggle to make independent choices or repeatedly avoid plans and instead leave with their ‘minder’ person, they could be trapped in a slavery situation. If they have no access to money or their personal documents despite working regularly, then they may be being controlled by others. If they are unsure of their address or the name of the place they work, that could also be a sign.  

While no single sign can be an obvious sign of modern slavery, a person suffering several of the indicators above may be in a dangerous situation. Don’t underestimate the number of people suffering in America. If you suspect anyone of being held in modern slavery conditions then you must immediately report this to the authorities.  

Have you recognized these signs in someone you know before? Share your story in the comments.