National Association of Business Crime Partnerships

ADVICE for retailers

Modern Slavery

There is no one type of Modern Slavery

Criminal exploitation is a type of Modern Slavery. It refers to the exploitation of a person for the purpose of criminality and where victims are forced to perform a wide range of unlawful acts. This may include acquisitive crime such as shoplifting however, there are many ways that criminals are exploiting people.

A poster can be found here from the Modern Slavery Police Transformation Unit which could act as a reminder for staff so that they can help identify groups.

Identifying criminal exploitation in retail


Offenders target vulnerable people who may be children, homeless, suffering from addiction, or have learning difficulties.

Modern slavery.jpg

Offenders arrange and facilitate travel for victims, incurring debt for victims.

Offenders promise victims employment, accomodation and a ‘better life’.

Victims are forced to steal and are not given the work they were promised.

Offenders use violence, surveillance, abuse and debt bondage to control victims.

Signs of exploitation

Shoplifter hands over stolen goods to another person.

Shoplifter is dropped off and picked up by others.

Shoplifter is watched and/or instructed by others.

Shoplifter is committing crimes over long distances and moving around regularly.

Shoplifter (when apprehended) appears to be coached in what to say or fearful of engaging in cobversation.


If you suspect a person is being exploited in this way, call the Police on: 101 (non-emergency) or 999 (emergency).

Make it clear to the call handler that you believe a person is involved in FORCED CRIMINALITY and may be a victim of MODERN SLAVERY.

You can find the above information as a printable poster here.

Information provided by the National Business Crime Centre.