Modern slavery: How Unseen’s new app is helping tackle this hidden crime

Modern slavery is all around us, with thousands of victims in the UK alone. Find out how we are using technology to help victims.

Monday July 30 is ‘World Day against Trafficking in Persons’, a day to raise awareness of a global problem thought to affect a staggering 40 million people worldwide.

BT is a founding partner of the Modern Slavery Helpline and equips this UK service with a free 0800 number, IT equipment and communications. The helpline, run by charity Unseen, provides a way people can seek help as well as reporting those who may be guilty of human trafficking.

Together with Unseen we’ve developed a free smartphone app to extend the helpline into people’s pockets. The app includes a contact form and phone number to report suspicions or get support. It also includes advice on the signs of slavery to look for including: physical appearance, psychological, isolation, poor living conditions and restricted freedom.

Modern slavery app screenshot

Modern slavery is a largely unseen crime that takes many forms, including domestic servitude, sexual slavery and forced labour. Modern slaves are often people from vulnerable backgrounds who have been tricked and controlled in situations of exploitation and abuse that is very difficult to escape.

The Home Office estimates there are between 10,000 and 13,000 modern slaves in the UK, 71% of whom are women and one in four of whom are children.

Eric Anderson, a senior consultant at BT who helped develop the app says: “If just one victim of modern slavery uses our app – or gets help because someone else has used it – then every single moment of our time spent developing it has been worth it.”

The Modern Slavery Helpline launched in 2016 to provide free, confidential advice and is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Between April 2017 and March 2018, 6,210 potential victims were identified from reports into the helpline.

The development of the app is part of BT’s commitment to support a world without slavery. BT’s Modern Slavery Act statement can be viewed here. 

Unseen is available for Android, iOS and Windows App Stores in the UK.  The Modern Slavery Helpline number is 08000 121 7000.

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