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Cases of people being exploited, forced into modern forms of slavery and trafficked into the UK are on the increase.

Many of these people come into contact with public and private services on a daily basis. it is therefore essential in your professional capacity, that you are able to spot the signs and understand how to report to the appropriate channels so that these highly vulnerable people can receive specialist support.

The Modern Slavery Act consolidated and simplified existing human trafficking and modern slavery offences into a single act.

If a public authority believes someone may be a victim of slavery or human trafficking, they must notify the Home Office.

A UK Government process and system for identifying and supporting victims of human trafficking or modern slavery.

If a potential/identified victim does not consent to the NRM, the public authority must complete an MS1 form.

There are a number of indicators that may indicate someone is being exploited.

These pathways provide guidance on the process of reporting an adult or child victim in Hertfordshire.

Training is essential for any individuals that are likely to come into contact with people that are being exploited.

Posters, leaflets and business cards to raise awareness of modern slavery / human trafficking amongst customers, residents and clients.

Comprised of more than 40 statutory and non-statutory agencies, the purpose of the HMSP is to tackle and prevent modern slavery and human trafficking in Hertfordshire.

Modern Slavery Act 2015

The Modern Slavery Act consolidated and simplified existing human trafficking and modern slavery offences into a single act, receiving Royal Assent on Thursday 26 March 2015.

Take a look at the Modern Slavery Act summary and key definitions (PDF, 81kb) for more information on the provisions introduced under the Act, along with the key definitions for: 

  1. Slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour
  2. Human Trafficking
  3. Meaning of Exploitation

Duty to Notify

Specific public authorities have a duty to notify the Secretary of State of any person identified in England and Wales as a suspected victim of slavery or human trafficking.

In practice, this means that if a specified public authority has reasonable grounds to believe that a person may be a victim of slavery or human trafficking, they must notify the Home Office.

If an adult consents to enter the national referral mechanism (NRM), you use the NRM form. If they do not consent to the NRM, you use an MS1 form.

In the case of children, consent to the NRM is not required. All children must be referred to the NRM. 


National Referral Mechanism (NRM)

The National Referral Mechanism is a framework for identifying victims of human trafficking or modern slavery and ensuring they receive the appropriate support.

To enter the NRM, potential victims of trafficking or modern slavery must first be referred to the UK Single Competent Authority (SCA). (The SCA replaced the previous Competent Authoritis on 29 April 2019).

This initial referral will generally be handled by an authorised agency such as a police force, the NCA, the UK Border Force, Home Office Immigration and Visas, Social Services or certain NGO’s. The referring authority is known as the ‘first responder’:

Who are First Responders?

The first responder will complete a referral form to pass the case to the SCA, who will log the referral and decide the case. Referral to the SCA is voluntary for adults and can happen only if the potential victim gives their permission by signing the referral form.

Informed consent is essential to the success of support for a potential/identified victim of modern slavery and human trafficking before and during the NRM process. In the case of children, their consent is not required, but they should still be provided with all relevant information on the process.

Please Note: The SCA will not accept referral forms for adults, which have not been signed by the individual


What is the role of the Single Competent Authority?

The Single Competent Authority (SCA) (trained specialists) makes decisions on all NRM cases, regardless of the nationality or immigration status of the individual. In all referrals, the SCA must consider whether the person is a victim of any form of modern slavery (including human trafficking, slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour).

The SCA makes 2 decisions during the NRM process:

1) A reasonable grounds decision

  • A decision within 5 workings day of referral to the NRM (where possible) on whether someone is a potential victim or not

2) A conclusive grounds decision

  •  A decision on whether someone is a victim or not

Upon receipt of a positive reasonable grounds decision, the NRM grants a minimum 45-day reflection and recovery period. During this time, the SCA gathers evidence to determine whether they consider someone to in fact be a victim. 

Upon receipt of a positive conclusive ground decision, the victim will be granted another 45 days, amounting to a total 90 days reflection and recovery period

NRM forms should be completed by first responders and emailed to the Single Competent Authority (SCA) at

Read more about the National Referral Mechanism



MS1 Form – Complete if an adult doesn’t consent to the NRM

If the person has not consented to enter the NRM, they should not be referred into the NRM.

Instead, an ‘MS1: notification of a potential victim of modern slavery form’ should be sent to the Home Office at   

All agencies can send an MS1 form, but this is compulsory for the police and local authorities under the Modern Slavery Act 2015.


Reporting Pathways

The Hertfordshire Modern Slavery Partnership (HMSP) has developed referral pathways and associated documents to help anyone who may come into contact with a potential victim to respond. These documents include:

1. HMSP Adult Victim Referral Pathway - This pathway is to be followed if the potential victim is an adult.

2. HMSP Child Victim Referral Pathway - This pathway is to be followed if the potential victims is suspected or known to be a child.

3. HMSP Reporting Form for Professionals & NGOs (adults only) - This referral form is to be used if the adult in question does not consent to the NRM; they do not have care and support needs; and the person filling out the form is not a First Responder.

4. HMSP Information Flyer (for victims) - This flyer, which is translated in multiple languages, allows potential victims to understand their rights, what situations amount to exploitation in the UK, and what support they might be entitled to receive. It asks them to tick the boxes that apply to them.

5. HMSP NRM Support Booklet (for victims) - This booklet provides information to the potential victim about the NRM and what services they might be entitled to, to help him/her make an informed decision.

For more information on how to use the pathways and associated documents, please follow the guidelines given in the HMSP Launch Document (2019-2020)

Training and Resources

From April 2017-March 2019, the Hertfordshire Modern Slavery Partnership delivered awareness training on modern slavery and human trafficking to professionals.

Information on external training providers and other resources can be accessed here

HMSP Training Materials 


  • Core Modern Slavery/Human Trafficking Awareness Slides (Coming Soon)


Working with Us

The Hertfordshire Modern Slavery Partnership's strategy sets out how we're aiming to protect people from modern slavery and exploitation.


Spread the Word

Feel free to download and share these resources with your colleagues, clients and residents: