Victim of trafficking in the UK

Human trafficking is the process of trapping people through the use of violence, deception or coercion and exploiting them for financial or personal gain.

What trafficking really means is girls groomed and forced into sexual exploitation; men tricked into accepting risky job offers and trapped in forced labour in building sites, farms or factories; and women recruited to work in private homes only to be trapped, exploited and abused behind closed doors with no way out.

People don’t have to be transported across borders for trafficking to take place. In fact, transporting or moving the victim doesn’t define trafficking – it can take place within a single country, or even within a single community.

People can be trafficked and exploited in many forms, including being forced into sexual exploitation, labour, begging, crime (such as growing cannabis or dealing drugs), domestic servitude, marriage or organ removal.

Human trafficking in numbers

  • 51% of identified victims of trafficking are women, 28% children and 21% men
  • 72% people exploited in the sex industry are women
  • 63% of identified traffickers were men and 37% women
  • 43% of victims are trafficked domestically within national borders

(Estimates by The United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

How do people get entangled in trafficking?

People trapped by traffickers are mostly trying to escape poverty or discrimination, improve their lives and support their families.

Vulnerable people are often forced to take unimaginable risks to try and escape poverty or persecution, accepting precarious job offers and making hazardous migration decisions, often borrowing money from their traffickers in advance.

When they arrive they find that the work does not exist, or conditions are completely different. They become trapped, reliant on their traffickers and extremely vulnerable. Their documents are often taken away and they are forced to work until their debt is paid off.

Girls affected by slavery in school in Niger

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What we do

We believe in a world where vulnerable people can find opportunities to provide for their families in safety and dignity, including safe migration mechanisms.

We campaign to ensure that people have the right to move to look for jobs to provide for their families without stigma, and that every human being is protected – regardless of their immigration status.

For example:

  • We successfully lobbied to make trafficking for sexual and labour exploitation a criminal offence in the UK.
  • We have worked with people migrating for work to the Middle East and Mauritius, providing them with training and information how to avoid getting trapped in trafficking
  • We supported girls and women in Nepal personally affected by trafficking, training them as paralegals and arranging placements at police stations.
  • Over 1,000 asylum-seeking trafficking victims in the UK, who had endured cruel and unlawful subsistence cuts, had their money repaid thanks to a High Court case that we strongly supported.