Slaves on our streets: A major investigation to expose hidden horrors of modern-day slavery in London

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The Evening Standard today launches a special investigation into the scandal of modern slavery here in prosperous London. 

Slaves can be found all over this magnificent city, hidden in the dark corners behind the gleaming facades. 

We cannot count them. But the police believe that tens of thousands of men, women and even children, are being kept captive in sub-human conditions. They are forced to work impossible hours for little or no reward in brothels, car washes, restaurants, cannabis farms, and even the houses of the wealthy. 

Transported here from all over the world and often unable to speak a word of English, they fear the authorities barely less than the gangsters.

London: A 21st-century city in which slavery has no place (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

We call this “modern slavery”, though there is nothing modern about it. It is a persistent evil which echoes down the centuries to the London of today in which we take such pride. That pride and our humanity dictate we do all in our power to find and free them. That is why, in this special investigation, the Evening Standard will expose modern slavery in all its gruesome detail. 

We will reveal where and how it occurs. We will talk to its victims, and to the men and women fighting it through law enforcement, rehabilitation work and policy reform. We will show you how to spot the signs, and what you can do to combat it. We will demand action from Government and businesses to protect the victims and bring their abusers to justice.

The Evening Standard has a long history of campaigning journalism, for which the credit belongs to you, its readers. As a Londoner, nothing gives me greater satisfaction than seeing London respond to its problems with generosity and a fierce sense of justice. This year will be no different. Together we can — and will — help to ensure this scourge is eradicated from a 21st-century city in which it has no place.


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