Prostitution Slavery Pledge

A responsible landlords guide, and pledge to tackling prostitution slavery and pop-up brothels.

We know that most landlords are responsible and wouldn’t want prostitution slavery associated with their property.

However, we are seeing more pop-up brothels operating in privately rented flats, houses and HMO’s, it is also suspected that these premises have been used to home trafficked women who have been forced into prostitution.

The Council is now working in partnership with the police to close suspected premises and safeguard the women involved, by using ‘Closure Orders’ for 28 days.

Landlords may now also be criminally liable, if they are aware illegal activity is taking place in their rental property and do not report it, or takes step to prevent it.

Please sign our Prostitution Slavery Pledge

By signing the pledge, you agree to look out for the signs of prostitution slavery in your properties.

If you believe a person is in immediate danger, you should call 999.

Once you have signed our Pledge, the council will provide brothel closure updates and advice on how to spot the signs of modern slavery. 

What is prostitution slavery and what does it involve?

Someone is in slavery if they are forced to work through mental or physical threat; owned or controlled by an 'employer', usually through mental or physical abuse or the threat of abuse; dehumanised, treated as a commodity or bought and sold as ‘property’; physically constrained or have restrictions placed on their freedom.

Human trafficking is when men, women and children are moved and forced into exploitation. The movement could be international but also within the country, from one city to another or even just a few streets. A person is a victim of human trafficking even if they haven’t yet been exploited but have been moved for the purposes of exploitation.

How can you identify prostitution slavery in your property?

Are occupants of the property in possession of their own passports, identification or travel documents, or are these documents in the possession of someone else?

Are occupants of the property able to communicate on their own behalf? Do they allow others to speak for them when spoken to directly?

Do occupants of the property act as if they were instructed or coached by someone else?

Do occupants of the property appear to have freedom of movement?

Do occupants of the property appear withdrawn or frightened?  Are occupants transported to and from the property jointly?

Is there evidence of poor living conditions, sub-letting or over-crowding?

Reported issues with noise, refuse etc that suggest potential issues within the property?

Are the people occupying the property the person or people named on the tenancy agreement?

Is the person paying the rent different to the person occupying the property? Does one person pay rent on behalf of a number of other individuals and is that person named on the tenancy agreement? Has somebody offered to pay the full cost of the tenancy upfront?

Thorough background checks and references can ensure that landlords are clear about who will be residing in their property and that they have a previously good record of renting. 

This includes complying with the legal requirement to check that a prospective tenant has the legal right to rent, although it is important to remember that modern slavery can affect those who are not subject to immigration controls as well as those who are.

Landlords should seek to ensure they know the names of all individuals who are occupying their property, for example by requiring all those who will be living at the property to be named on the tenancy agreement and subject to background checks, and by preventing any further sub-letting.

If the occupants of the property are different to the people named on the tenancy agreement, and change regularly; and/or if the property appears to be occupied by an excessive number of people, landlords may wish to seek clarity on this.

Tenancies linked to criminality may not pose any issues in terms of fulfilling their rental payments, but payment records – for example, a request by tenants to pay the full cost of a tenancy upfront – can sometimes flag when something is out of the ordinary.

Landlords can compare whether payments relating to the property are received from individuals named on the tenancy agreement or the people the landlord otherwise believes are occupying the property.

Again, in the case of any discrepancies between the occupants and the person actually paying for the tenancy, landlords may wish to understand why this is the case, and who the person paying for the tenancy is.