More than 85% of nurses say they do not feel they have adequate training on spotting the signs of modern slavery, according to the Royal College of Nursing.
The RCN have highlighted this as a major problem, due to the fact that 20% of victims come into contact with healthcare professionals. It is thought that 13,000 men, women and children exploited in the UK every year and forced to work in prostitution, domestic roles or manual labour.
‘Victims of trafficking and slavery are so often hidden from public view, so it’s vital that health care staff take the opportunity to identify them and alert the relevant services,’ said Carmel Bagness, RCN Professional Lead for Midwifery and Women’s Health.
The RCN have launched a guide for nurses to familairise themselves with the signs of modern slavery. The guide advises that nurses should be alerted if they see a person accompanied by a controlling individual who insists on speaking for them; vague and inconsistent explanations of school, employment, residence or age; fear of authority; and those not registered with a GP or without official documentation.
‘This needs to be something that nursing staff are on the lookout for at all times; they need to be able to read the signs and know exactly how to respond. We want to get to a point where this is second nature to all health care staff, so that every victim who comes into contact with the health service receives the help they need.’