Initial Investigation

Suspected modern slavery offences will be treated as a serious crime. This could be the case even when potential victims may not immediately identify themselves as such. For more in depth guidance visit the College of Policing Authorised Professional Practice guide for Modern Slavery. 

Where frontline police officers or police staff respond to potential cases of exploitation, human trafficking or modern slavery, their initial action will be to advise and reassure potential victims about the specialist support that is available to them. They will immediately inform investigators that offences under the Modern Slavery Act may have been committed.

All police forces now have investigators who have received specialist training on how to respond to, and plan, modern slavery investigations. Areas of initial investigation will involve looking at:

  • Understanding the initial situation and where any potential victims may be working and living
  • Taking an accurate record of initial accounts
  • Checking on the health and welfare of potential victims, and understanding their day to day activities
  • Establishing who has control of passports and identity documents;
  • Checking with other sources of information and intelligence relating to the scene, the participants or the situation
  • Determining whether there are more victims that need to be safeguarded.

Having secured the scene of a potential modern slavery offence, evidence will be gathered as far as possible. This may include the use of body worn cameras in locations where exploitation may have taken place or where victims may have been living.

Police will want to speak to victims alone, to avoid any undue influence being placed upon them from other potential victims or exploiters. Independent interpreters will be engaged as required. People known to potential victims, even family members, will not be used as interpreters.

Resources for Law Enforcement First Responders and Investigators

Police officers, police staff, OPCC employees and colleagues working across law enforcement will find investigative guidance, analytical reports and information products in connection to MSHT posted in the Policing Slavery and Human Trafficking Group on Knowledge Hub. Copies of these materials are also provided to police forces for upload onto police force intranets. 

Knowledge Hub is the new location where the Modern Slavery and Organised Immigration Crime Programme publishes the latest versions of all guidance, analysis and other information relating to the policing and law enforcement response to modern slavery. See the link to the right on how to join.

This material supports and informs police and law enforcement partners with case studies, good practice and additional, new learning materials that are being developed as we gain more experience in responding to modern slavery cases.

This in addition to the College of Policing Authorised Professional Practice (APP) on modern slavery which is available of the College of Policing public website

Support materials available on Knowledge Hub includes:

  1. Investigation guidance and "how to" materials, including; comprehensive modern slavery investigation guides; how to use the National Referral Mechanism; and how to manage victim engagement. "Initial Actions" guidance, Victim First Contact Booklets, Initial Safeguarding Actions guidance
  2. Modern slavery case law; includes updates on the interpretation of the legal issues connected with modern slavery cases including the Section 45 Defence
  3. Operational debriefs. Over 30 individual operational debrief reports are available featuring good practice and lessons learned in each case.
  4. Training information with guidance on where and how to access modern slavery training including video "masterclasses" on a range of topics.
  5. Analysis products; including Operational overview and analytical reports on UK MS offences, offender and victim types.

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About Us


This is the website of the NPCC Modern Slavery and Organised Immigration Crime (MSOIC) Unit.  We work to support police officers, police staff and law enforcement partners to lead the fight against modern slavery,  human trafficking and OIC. 

Our aim is to help to deliver a consistent response to protecting victims and targeting offenders - and to work with partners to ultimately help prevent exploitation from having a place in our society.

Contact Us


You can contact the NPCC Modern Slavery and Organised Immigration Crime Unit by email at Modern Slavery

Alternatively colleagues in UK law enforcement can join the Policing Slavery and Human Trafficking Group on Knowledge Hub.

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