Ruth Cadbury MP is taking part in anti-slavery charity Unseen’s ‘Let’s Nail It’ campaign, joining celebrities, businesses and community groups across the country who have painted their nails to raise awareness of slavery in nail salons. The campaign asks the general public to spot the signs of slavery in nail bars and call the national Modern Slavery Helpline if they are concerned.
Unseen works with survivors of modern slavery and trafficking and operates the national Modern Slavery Helpline. They have teamed up with The British Association of Beauty Therapy & Cosmetology (BABTAC) to work directly with salons and the public to ensure customers know the signs of slavery and visit legitimate slave-free salons.
Since launching in October 2016, the Modern Slavery Helpline has received reports of slavery in nail bars from at least 35 locations across the UK, indicating over 100 potential victims, 11 of which have been children.
2018 saw the first successful prosecution of modern slavery involving minors, where two people were jailed after forcing children trafficked from Vietnam to work in nail bars in Bath.
Ruth cadbury MP says:
‘Raising public awareness around slavery in nail bars is a crucial step in tackling this hidden crime. I strongly encourage consumers to remain vigilant to the signs of modern slavery, to ensure that perpetrators of human trafficking are exposed and victims are given the help and support they need.’
Unseen’s managing director Kate Garbers says:
“As the public learns about signs and indicators of modern slavery, our calls increase. Over the last two months, we have had an increasing number of disturbing cases reported – an indication that these campaigns and media coverage of the real issue is making a difference.
This is exactly the sort of response we want – an understanding that modern slavery and exploitation may be occurring in some of the nail bars people regularly use and then to have the confidence to pick up the phone and speak to someone about it if they have concerns.”
Here are some signs for you to look out for:
What do employees look like?
Do they appear withdrawn and neglected or unwilling to engage? Do they appear younger than you'd expect? Are they avoiding eye contact, or is the presence or behaviour of another individual making them appear frightened? Are they resistant to being paid directly?
Is there a manager who takes the money and is overbearing or abusive?
Are there living quarters upstairs or attached to the nail salon? Are employees brought to work at the same time?
What do they sound like?
Do they seem hesitant to talk? Do they speak to others in the salon? Can they speak English? Being unable to speak English can increase people's vulnerability.
How do you feel?
It's difficult to quantify, but trust your gut instinct. Do prices seem 'too good to be true'? Is the vibe you're getting making you feel uncomfortable? If you can't quite put your finger on it but you feel that some of the above indicators are present, you can report suspicions to the Modern Slavery Helpline.
If you suspect someone to be a victim of modern slavery you can report your suspicions or seek advice by phoning the Modern Slavery Helpline: 08000 121 700