Human trafficking is not a historical problem. In the 200 years of the Atlantic slave trade it is believed that 15 million people were transported to North America.
Today there are thought to be in excess of 40 million people in the world who are held in slavery and a recent estimate puts the number in the United Kingdom at about 130,000.
Human trafficking is a form of modern slavery, where people are recruited and moved for the purposes of exploitation. It does not require borders to be crossed, nor is it limited to a particular age group, or to foreign nationals; indeed recent reviews indicate that the majority of those trafficked are UK nationals. It is a process where often the exploitation is targeted at the most vulnerable as they seek to create a better life for themselves and their families.
Trafficking involves the recruitment, harbouring or transporting of people into a situation of exploitation through the use of violence, deception or coercion and their being forced to work against their will. People can be trafficked for many different forms of forced exploitation such as prostitution, labour including agricultural labour, begging, criminality, marriage, domestic servitude and organ removal.
Signs of Human Trafficking
The signs of trafficking are many and various. Have you for instance witnessed or heard stories of frequent and different male visitors to the same location or indeed people:
- Having been approached at a shelter or drop in by someone offering work
- Displaying untreated injuries or being subject to abuse
- Showing unusual anxiety of those in position of authority
- Demonstrating extreme fear of being watched
- Working for little or no pay
- Being collected and returned as a group to the same house on a daily basis and not otherwise leaving those premises or only doing so under escort
- Working in high risk areas such as the construction industry or car washes without protective clothing
- Not being allowed to leave their place of work
- Having no control of their ID
If you have seen these, then:
- If these occur in your own employers business tell the person in charge
- In all cases report to the Modern Slavery Helpline 0800 121 700
- In the event of immediate risk of injury or harm dial 999