What is it?
Human trafficking is the movement of a person from one place to another into conditions of exploitation, using deception, coercion, the abuse of power or the abuse of someone’s vulnerability. It is possible to be a victim of trafficking even if your consent has been given to being moved.
Although human trafficking often involves an international cross-border element, it is also possible to be a victim of human trafficking within your own country.
Often linked to human trafficking, forced labour involves victims being compelled to work very long hours, often in hard conditions, and to hand over the majority if not all of their wages to their traffickers. Forced labour crucially implies the use of coercion and lack of freedom or choice for the victim. In many cases, victims are subjected to verbal threats or violence to achieve compliance.
Manufacturing, entertainment, travel, farming and construction industries have been found to use forced labour by victims of human trafficking to some extent. There has been a marked increase in reported numbers in recent years. Often large numbers of people are housed in single dwellings and there is evidence of ‘hot bunking’, where a returning shift takes up the sleeping accommodation of those starting the next shift.
The International Labour Organisation has identified six elements which individually or collectively can indicate forced labour. These are:
•Threats or actual physical harm
•Restriction of movement and confinement to the workplace or to a limited area
•Withholding of wages or excessive wage reductions that violate previously made agreements
•Retention of passports and identity documents (the workers can neither leave nor prove their identity status)
•Threat of denunciation to the authorities where the worker is of illegal status
Modern Slavery Protection Orders
Slavery and Trafficking Risk Orders: A STRO can be made by a Court in respect of an individual who has not been convicted of a slavery or trafficking offence. The STRO is sought through a free-standing application by the police, the National Crime Agency or an immigration officer to a Magistrates’ Court and may impose any restriction on the defendant that the Court deems necessary for the purpose of protecting the public from harm.
Slavery and Trafficking Prevention Orders: the purpose of the prevention order is to prevent slavery and human trafficking offences being committed by someone who has already committed such offences. These can either be made at the time of conviction or through a free-standing application. STPO’s may also impose any restriction on the defendant that the Court deems necessary for the purpose of protecting the public from harm.
How to report it?
In the first instance, the point of contact for all human trafficking crimes should be the local police force. If you have information about human trafficking or hold urgent information that requires an immediate response dial 999.
If you hold information that could lead to the identification, discovery and recovery of victims in the UK, you can also contact the charity Crimestoppers anonymously.
Where to get help?
Below are details of other organisations which will be able to offer help and support.
Refuge offers a range of services including refuge, outreach and resettlement support to women and children who have experienced domestic abuse, stalking, honour-based violence, trafficking, forced marriage and Female Genital Mutilation.