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Supporting people who have experienced or are at risk of slavery

Supporting people who have experienced or are at risk of slavery

Supporting individuals who have experienced or are risk of slavery requires sensitivity and specialist knowledge.

Slavery has devastating impact on individual victims, who often suffer physical and emotional abuse.

Support for victims/survivors of slavery needs to be comprehensive, holistic and culturally sensitive.

Client safety, rights and needs should be prioritised and the uniqueness of the individual should be acknowledged and service delivery altered accordingly.

There is no single way to support clients and it is best referred to specialist services.

It is not only victims of violence and abuse who can be traumatised by their experience. Those who help them can experience difficult reactions too. This is known as vicarious trauma.


In principle all agencies and organisations who find themselves with grounds for concern that a person may be a victim of human trafficking have a responsibility for identifying the person as a possible victim and putting him or her in touch with the responsible authorities and support providers.

To support you in this role there are a number of courses which are delivered across Wales which may be of interest.

Introduction to Anti-Slavery Awareness Course (3 hours)

This provides an overview of the signs and symptoms of slavery and how to report slavery.  

Anti-Slavery First Responder Course (1 Day)

First responder organisations in Wales are identified by Home Office and form part of a multi-agency response to rescuing victims and caring for them afterwards. If you are working for a First Responder Organisation, you can attend this training.

Modern Slavery and Organised Crime Course (3 Day)

If you work in the Police or Crown Prosecution Service you may be able to attend the three Day Modern Slavery and Organised Crime Course which is specifically aimed at Senior Investigating Officers and Crown Prosecution Service Prosecutors.


The Welsh Government has published ‘Safeguarding Children who may have been trafficked' (External link). This provides good practice guidance to professionals and volunteers from all agencies to help them effectively safeguard children who are abused and neglected by adults who traffic them into and within the UK in order to exploit them.

‘Safeguarding Children: Working Together Under the Children Act 2004’ (External link) provides guidance on safeguarding all children. It should be followed and used in conjunction with the good practice guidance to help practitioners meet the particular.

As part of the All Wales Child Protection Procedures, the ’All Wales Practice Guidance for Safeguarding Children Who May Have Been Trafficked' (External link) sets out the required response to effectively safeguard children who are abused and neglected by adults who traffic them into and within the UK for purposes of exploitation. It provides a helpful summary of the responsibilities across a wide range of sectors including voluntary sector and Leisure, Libraries and Park Services.

Which ever sector you work in, safeguarding protocols will apply.

Barnardo’s Cymru have produced an "Operational handbook: child trafficking" to be used in conjunction with existing protocols and guidance including those listed above. The aim of this handbook is as quick guide for practitioners in particular First Responders with statutory safeguarding responsibilities.


Home Office have produced guidance for identifying and supporting victims of human trafficking for health staff (External link) that sets out actions for healthcare staff who suspect that their patient may be a victim of human trafficking. This guidance is in English only.

This publication is relevant to all kinds of healthcare settings, including A&E, primary care, sexual health services and genito-urinary medicine (GUM) clinics.

In Wales, Bawso is subcontracted to provide the support provided by the Salvation Army in England.  


‘Keeping Learners Safe Guidance’ (External link) published by Welsh Government includes sections on Children who may have been trafficked and Child sexual exploitation (CSE) (chapter 4) and how education services should contribute to multi-agency safeguarding arrangements. You should refer to this and raise any questions with your safeguarding lead or your designated senior person if you are in a school.

Social Services

Under the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 a relevant partner of a local authority has a duty, if they have reasonable cause to suspect and adult or child to be at risk of abuse or neglect, to inform the local authority.

From April 2016 local authorities will be able to apply for an Adult Protection and Support Order to enable an officer authorised by the local authority to secure entry to premises in order to speak in private with an adult suspected of being at risk to determine whether they are making decisions freely; whether they are at risk and what care and support needs they may have. 

Policies & Guidance

Find relevant guidance and information on the VAWDASV Act.

Find out more


About Live Fear Free

Live Fear Free is a Welsh Government website, providing information and advice for those suffering with violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence.

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