How Businesses Can Support Survivors of Modern Slavery

This member only factsheet provides practical interventions to effectively support organisations that work with survivors of modern slavery.

This factsheet will help employers identify practical interventions to effectively support organisations that work with survivors of modern slavery.


Modern slavery

Modern slavery is the severe exploitation of other people for personal or commercial gain. It is often hidden from the outside and can look like a normal job, but the victims are being controlled with the threat of violence, deportation, or inescapable debt.

The Beacon Project

The Beacon Project was an 18-month intervention aimed at helping employers understand how they can best support survivors of modern slavery.

Addressing the risks of modern slavery within business operations and supply chains must remain a key focus for employers. This factsheet How Business can Support Survivors of Modern Slavery is a collation of the knowledge and insight from the project.

We are thankful to the many support organisations that have contributed their time and expertise to this project, and particularly to InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) and Next who have generously funded it.

The needs of survivors

Survivors of modern slavery are unique among the cohorts that Business in the Community (BITC) has worked with before. This is due to their diverse demographics such as age, sex, nationality, ethnicity, work experience, work readiness. This means that, as a group, they have very wide-ranging and often complex needs.

To help businesses move forward in identifying the kind of support they can offer, we have grouped different survivor needs together into three over-arching categories:

  • Basic needs that include food, housing, clothing, mental health support, internet access and childcare.
  • Integration needs such as English language training, financial capability training, legal advice and transport costs.
  • Employability needs that involves building self-belief, English language for the workplace, digital skills, work readiness placements and employment opportunities.

Principles of business support

The broad spectrum of survivor needs, and the patchwork of support organisations trying to meet them, can make it difficult for businesses to know where to start. We have therefore developed three guiding principles to help businesses target their support effectively:

  • Businesses must go further than just their legal obligations.
  • Support must be needs-led.
  • Businesses should look to form strategic partnerships with existing support organisations.

 Where to start?

The National Referral Mechanism is managed by the Salvation Army, and 13 subcontractors across the UK. To supplement the government’s response, a number of interventions have been put in place by expert support organisations throughout the country. The interventions include outreach and identification, safehouses, long-term integration support, and employability support.

Find out more about Business in the Community’s (BITC) work on employment and skills.