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Human trafficking

Human trafficking involves moving a person, or group of people, from one country to another and threatening or forcing them to work or take part in things they don’t want to do.

Human trafficking is the illegal recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of people by;

  • the threat or use of force or violence
  • forms of intimidation, fraud and deception
  • abduction or kidnap
  • the abuse of power or a position of vulnerability
  • the giving or receiving of payments to gain the consent of one person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.

Report human trafficking

If you suspect acts of human trafficking, you should report information that could lead to the identification, discovery and recovery of victims in the UK.

Warning signs to look out for, particularly at service stations or lay-bys, include:

  • People emerging from a lorry or HGV, especially suddenly or as if in a rush not to be seen
  • Hearing banging from the inside of a lorry – always call us on 999, especially if the lorry is refrigerated
  • A group of people heading towards, or going inside of, the back of a lorry 
  • If anything about the vehicle doesn’t seem quite right – for example if produce is being thrown from it or something is being done to catch the attention of other motorists 

Anyone who sees any of the above is urged to call us on 999 immediately, ideally having also made a note of the vehicle registration number even if it has foreign plates.

Human trafficking criminals

Traffickers can be anyone: strangers, colleagues friends or even family members. They tend to see vulnerable individuals as easy targets and lure them in by the promise of a better life.

Many also come from the same country or cultural background as their victims, allowing them to easily exploit the personal vulnerabilities of their targets. Other traffickers employ violence to kidnap and maintain control over their victims and many are linked to the international drugs trade.

Trafficking of young people

Young people are typically tricked into travelling to the UK by believing they will go to school or get jobs here.

When they arrive they soon realise they have been lied to and are forced to work in restaurants, steal or help a family member with chores and are not allowed to go to school. Sometimes they are even forced to work in the sex industry.

Human trafficking facts

  • Human trafficking is the second largest illegal trade in the world, the first is drugs
  • children are sold for as little as £10
  • trafficking does not always involve women in prostitution
  • human trafficking is modern day slavery
  • some trafficked women are forced to work in excess of 16 hour days and have sex with more than 30 men per day
  • every minute of every day another man, woman or child is trafficked across a border into a life of exploitation
  • one woman can earn sex traffickers in excess of £1000 per week
  • 300,000 people are trafficked every year within the EU
  • trafficking is a global problem that affects every country and every continent
  • trafficking is one of the fastest growing international crimes
  • trafficking dos not always involve illegal immigration
  • 80% of those trafficked are women and children
  • human trafficking trade earns double the worldwide revenue of Coca Cola
  • trafficking is a growing issue with 2.4million men, women and children being trafficked each year.

Further information on human trafficking is available on the National Crime Agency website.

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