United Kingdom
Trafficking in Human Beings (THB)

The National Archives

Modern Slavery Act 2015

An Act to make provision about slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour and about human trafficking, including provision for the protection of victims; to make provision for an Independent Anti-slavery Commissioner; and for connected purposes.
> legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2015/30/contents

Child trafficking in the UK 2018: A snapshot

ECPAT UK’s new snapshot report provides an overview of the state of modern slavery affecting children in the UK, compiling the latest statistics and recent policy developments on this important issue.
There are currently no accurate figures of how many child victims of trafficking there are in the UK. However, the Government estimates that there are 13,000 victims of modern slavery nationally, of which around a third (more than 4,000) are believed to be children. The head of the National Crime Agency (NCA) has stated more recently
that the actual number of adult and child victims could be in the tens of thousands.
> ecpat.org.uk/child-trafficking-a-snapshot

National Crime Agency

Modern Slavery Human Trafficking Unit (MSHTU)

The Modern Slavery Human Trafficking Unit (MSHTU) is a multi-agency organisation led by the NCA. Our role is to provide a central point of expertise, support and coordination for the UK’s response to modern slavery and the trafficking of human beings.
We work in a coordinated way within the UK and internationally. Our work to combat modern slavery crimes involves a wide range of partners and stakeholders.

Our key responsibilities are to protect the public –safeguarding potential victims from such crimes and to target those who enable or facilitate crimes of modern slavery here in the UK.

In that respect, we collaborate with partners including police forces, the Home Office and other government departments, the UK Border Force and UK Immigration Enforcement, the Gangmasters Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA), international agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and many charitable and voluntary expert groups.
> nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/about-us/what-we-do/specialist-capabilities/uk-human-trafficking-centre
For more information on modern slavery and human trafficking see the crime threats section.

‘A day in the life’
If you are interested in the day-to-day work of the Modern Slavery Human Trafficking Unit (MSHTU), please read ‘A day in the life’ – Modern Slavery Human Trafficking unit.

‘Sophisticated’ Albanian gangs linked to people trafficking surge in UK

Latest statistics from the National Crime Agency (NCA) show a 35% increase in the number of people trafficked into the UK. The number of potential trafficking victims referred to British authorities rose to 5,145 between 2016 to 2017. Most foreign victims are from Albania, trafficked by a network of criminal gangs which operate across European countries, selling victims as commodities.
> news.sky.com/story/sophisticated-albanian-gangs-linked-to-people-trafficking-surge-in-uk-11555887

Report crimes of modern slavery
In the first instance the point of contact for all modern slavery crimes should be the local police force. If you have information about modern slavery crimes – those who are committing such crimes or where victims are at risk 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 contact the Modern Slavery Helpline 08000 121 700. Alternatively you can make calls anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
For more information visit www.unseenuk.org

National Referral Mechanism Statistics

The National Referral Mechanism(NRM) is a framework for identifying victims of human trafficking or modern slavery and ensuring they receive the appropriate support.
> NRM statistics
> NRM statistics – 2018 Quarter 1
> NRM statistics – 2017 Annual Report

National Referral Mechanism Statistics – End of Year Summary 2017
National Referral Mechanism Statistics – 2018 Quarter 1

Forced sexual exploitation of adults and children

The 2017 NRM statistics report Albania, UK, China, and Nigeria as the most common nationalities for referrals for sexual exploitation. They also stated that 34 percent (1,744 cases) of all referrals made in 2017 were cases of sexual exploitation. Of those total cases of sexual exploitation, 559 cases concerned children. Foreign victims are generally trafficked to the UK, lured by false promises of jobs, but are then forced to work in the sex industry. British and foreign children are groomed by groups of adult males or ‘county line’ gangs and given drugs before being forced into sexual exploitation. In 2018, 18 individuals were convicted of offences including sexual abuse, supplying drugs, and trafficking for sexual exploitation in a series of trials over a case involving 700 women and girls who were sexually abused around Newcastle.

The most common type of exploitation experienced by adult victims who consent to use the Salvation Army’s support services was sexual exploitation and concerned 48 percent of all victims assisted between July 2016 and June 2017. The Salvation Army delivers the UK government’s contract to manage support services for adult victims of modern slavery in England and Wales. The highest number of supported victims were female victims of forced sexual exploitation from Albania, closely followed by Vietnamese and Nigerian women who also primarily reported exploitation in the sex industry.

CPS Crown Prosecution Service logo

Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)

It is important to understand the difference between persons who are smuggled and those who are trafficked; in some cases the distinction between a smuggled and trafficked person will be blurred and both definitions could easily be applied. It is important to examine the end situation when the victim is recovered to determine whether someone has been smuggled or trafficked. Smuggling is characterised by illegal entry only and international movement only, either secretly or by deception (whether for profit or otherwise).

The Modern Slavery Act 2015 (“the 2015 Act”) consolidates existing offences of human trafficking and slavery and encompasses trafficking for all forms of exploitation. It came into force on 31 July 2015.

The Act repeals and replaces offences of human trafficking arising under section 59A Sexual Offences Act 2003 (inserted by section 109 of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012) and section 4 Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants) Act 2004. The Act also repeals and replaces the offence of holding another person in slavery or servitude or requiring another person to perform forced or compulsory labour arising under section 71 Coroners and Justice Act 2009.
> Human Trafficking, Smuggling and Slavery

Council of Europe

Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA): United Kingdom

Report submitted by the British authorities on measures taken to comply with Committee of the Parties Recommendation CP(2016)12 on the implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings – Second evaluation round
> coe.int/en/web/anti-human-trafficking/united-kingdom

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE

Trafficking in Persons Report 2018: United Kingdom

TRAFFICKING PROFILE
As reported over the past five years, the United Kingdom is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor. The government estimates there are up to 13,000 trafficking victims in the UK, with one-fourth to one-third being children.
Children in the care system and unaccompanied migrant children are particularly vulnerable to trafficking, although victims also include UK children. Victims in 2017 came from 116 countries, the top three being Albania, the UK, and Vietnam.
Most identified victims are subjected to labor trafficking, forced to work in agriculture, cannabis cultivation, construction, food processing, factories, domestic service, nail salons, food services, the hospitality industry, car washes, and on fishing boats. In Scotland, the largest numbers of victims are from Vietnam, many forced to work in nail bars. In Northern Ireland, there are cases of perpetrators forcing victims into begging, and the cultivation and distribution of illicit drugs.
> state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/2018

2018 Global Slavery Index

The Global Slavery Index estimates that there were 136,000 people living in modern slavery in the United Kingdom (UK) on any given day in 2016, reflecting a prevalence rate of 2.1 victims for every thousand people in the country.
> globalslaveryindex.org/2018/united-kingdom/