Modern slavery and human trafficking case studies


Mary was born and grew up in Nigeria. After her mother’s death, Mary was forced to move to the country’s capital in order to make some money. It was there that she met Tony. He told her he could offer her a good job in England. Tony organised her plane ticket, and they both left for the UK. Hours after her arrival, Mary was taken to what appeared to be a house. It was actually a brothel. She was then forced, under threat, to have sex with men who paid money to Tony. Before Mary even realised she had been deceived, she was trapped. For many months she was locked in her room and forced to have sex with as many men as Tony dictated – often up to ten or 12 men a day – and she was never allowed to say ‘no’. After some time Mary fell pregnant. When Tony found out he was furious; he attacked Mary and tried to abort her baby by force. These attempts were not successful. One evening after this ordeal, Tony and his friends had a party at the brothel. Mary took her chance to escape and, with the men too drunk to notice, fled the property.

Food supplier

In 2012, workers from Lithuania were kept in appalling conditions in and subject to ‘a climate of fear’, threats and violence whilst working to provide eggs to some of the UK’s most prominent retailers and restaurants. The workers were used to catch chickens on sites all over the UK. This labour provider subjected migrant workers to debt bondage, giving them no option to leave the squalid house in which they were forced to live and sleep. Their mattresses were infested with bed bugs and fleas.

Two individuals were arrested for human trafficking offences and reportedly perpetrated ‘one of the worst cases of exploitation ever uncovered in the food supply chain.

Forced Labour

Four men from the Czech Republic were offered work in Birmingham. When they arrived their documents were taken from them and they were forced to live in a house together, in squalid conditions. Every day, they were driven to Bedfordshire to work in a bread factory. The gang master who had seized their documents registered all four men with the worker’s registration scheme, and forced the men to pay all their wages to him. When one individual began to question his lack of wages, he was chained to a radiator and beaten. He was also burned with cigarettes. The four men eventually escaped the situation when, on the journey to Bedfordshire, travelling in the back of a van, one man feigned illness in order to make the driver stop. When the doors were opened, the four ran in different directions and escaped.


A British man called Ben, who was unemployed and living on the streets of a major UK city, was approached at a soup kitchen and offered work and accommodation by a couple who ran a block paving business. Ben was socially isolated, having broken up with his girlfriend and lost his job in a short space of time: he lacked any form of support network. Seeing no other option, he agreed to go. He was taken to a site many miles away where, upon arrival, he was subjected to intimidation and violence. He was forced to work paving driveways, and was paid little or often nothing for his labour. He was terrified of the consequences of trying to leave, so submitted to this abuse for a long time.

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