Table 1

Forms of modern slavery of children and adolescents with examples (global, non-exhaustive)1 58

Modern slavery formatExamples
Debt bondage/bonded labour
  • Frequent form of modern slavery where the victim is forced to work to pay of a debt (this may include repayment of a ‘gift’ of sportswear or other item previously received by the child).

  • Victim has little control over their debt which is often manipulated and increased exponentially to maintain control.

  • Linked to all other forms of exploitation.

Human trafficking (child)’
  • Defined as the ‘recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt’ of a child (<18 years of age) for the purpose of exploitation.3

Labour exploitation
  • Forced work in businesses or sites including building, agriculture, food and manufacture industries. Victim may live on site.

  • An adolescent victim may also hold a legitimate job* but perpetrators hold control over the victim’s bank account.

Domestic servitude
  • Victim may be forced to undertake household chores (may include childcare) for partner and often relatives. If in the context of marriage, this may be forced, arranged and/or in conjunction with other forms of domestic and sexual abuse.

  • Victims (including young children) may be exploited by relatives and extended family for household duties. Schooling and free play may be denied.

  • Victims may be forced to stay with, and work for unrelated strangers. Victims are often confined to the property.

Sexual exploitation
  • Victims may be exploited by individuals or groups of offenders and may be frequently relocated for abuse. Victims may be advertised online.

  • Victims may be trafficked and exploited in fixed brothel settings or rooms in businesses (ie, massage parlours).

  • Victims may be trafficked for the personal gratification of the offender(s) which may include long periods of victim confinement.

  • Victim may be forced to perform or be subjected to sexual acts online or for imagery.

Criminal exploitation
  • Forced gang-related criminal activity, commonly related to drug networks including ‘County Lines’ drug distribution using dedicated phone lines.

  • Forced labour for illegal purposes, including cannabis cultivation.

  • Forced acquisitive crimes including pickpocketing and shoplifting.

  • Forced begging.

  • Financial and benefit fraud. Children’s bank accounts may also be used for money laundering.

  • Trafficking for forced, sham marriage.

Descent-based slavery
  • Children born into slavery because of their class, caste or parental situation.

Organ harvesting
  • Forced organ removal, particularly kidneys, although blood and other organs may be acquired for sale.

  • *In the UK, children may work limited hours in certain jobs from 13 years old, and full time from 16 years. The exception is children with performance licenses (acting, modelling etc).59