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Modern slavery: An overview of the signs and the role school nurses can play

02 April 2020
Volume 1 · Issue 2


Modern slavery is a crime that has gained international attention in recent years. School nurses play an important role in safeguarding and protecting vulnerable young people and it is therefore essential that they feel knowledgeable about this subject. This article provides an overview of modern slavery and looks at the crucial role school nurses can play to help tackle the issue.

Modern slavery is a serious and often hidden crime that encompasses slavery, servitude, forced and compulsory labour and human trafficking. Worldwide, it is estimated that 40.3 million people are victims of modern slavery (Unseen, 2019) and every fourth victim is a child (Home Office, 2014).

Within the UK, there were 8 536 potential victims of modern slavery in 2017, of which 37% were children (HM Government, 2019). In addition, referrals for minor exploitation categories increased 48% to 3 137 in 2018, compared to 2 118 in 2017 (National Crime Agency, 2018). Unfortunately, these figures only represent potential numbers, and the actual numbers are likely to be much higher. Slavery is a shocking crime and it is the responsibility of everyone to help identify and protect potential victims. Being aware of the signs to spot and reporting your suspicions may help ensure these victims receive the support they need.

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