What is human trafficking?

The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons by means of threat, or use of force, coercion or deception…to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.

Palermo Protocol, Article 3

The What

Human trafficking is the movement of people for the purpose with the aim of exploiting them. People are trafficked into modern slavery using using force, fraud, coercion, trickery and deception.

There are three elements that form part of trafficking:

  1. The Act: recruiting, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of person
  2. The means: force, fraud, coercion, deception
  3. The purpose: exploitation

So, is it always immigrants entering the UK?

It does not always involve international transportation; a person can be trafficked across the UK from Newcastle to London. In fact, the largest single demographic of human trafficking victims are UK citizens.

The How

Traffickers lure their victims and force them into abusive  labour or commercial sexual exploitation.

Victims are often vulnerable, coming from areas where there is little work, fractured families or poverty – promising them a better life. They are offered a great deal: a guaranteed job, security and stability and the chance to build a new life.

It sounds too good to be true. And it is. Deception and expoitation is at the core of human trafficking.

When they arrive at their destination, the promises are lies. Instead, they are forced to work long hours in hard and degrading conditions with little or no pay. The threat of violence – to themselves or their families – traps them further. Anyone could be pressed into forced labour, but people in vulnerable situations – such as being in debt, or not having access to their passport – are most at risk.

Many people have fallen into this trap because they were trying to escape poverty or insecurity, improve their lives and support their families. Now, they can’t leave. 

The Why

People are trafficked for the sole purpose of exploitation. Traffickers steal the autonomy, voice and freedom of their victims – they abuse them for financial gain and personal profit.

This is called Modern Slavery.

People are being exploited and pushed into slavery all around the world. Modern slavery may be hidden but it exists and it’s controlling the lives of millions of people.