UK Action Plan and UK Human Trafficking Centre
9. In March 2007, following consultation and tying
in with the commemoration of the abolition of the slave trade,
the Government published its UK Action Plan on Tackling Human
Trafficking. The purpose of the Action Plan was to:
1. Draw together all the work that is currently underway
across government and other agencies on human trafficking
2. Identify gaps in existing work which require further
3. Increase transparency and enable us to be held
to account on delivery of our objectives
4. Provide a platform for developing a more strategic
and holistic approach to tackling human trafficking.
10. Apart from announcing that the Government had
decided to sign the Council of Europe Convention on Action Against
Trafficking in Human Beings, the Action Plan stated that the Government
had established a new UK Human Trafficking Centre (UKHTC) to forge
"closer links between the immigration service and law enforcement"
and that "Dealing effectively with human trafficking will
be an integral part of the new Border and Immigration Agency's
business". The Action Plan also said: "Up to now, our
effort has focussed mainly on trafficking for sexual exploitation.
We now need to move beyond this and also spotlight other forms
of trafficking for increased attention, such as child trafficking
and trafficking for forced labour."
The Government committed itself to developing its approach to
issues of demand: "Firstly, by recognising the different
pull factors that apply to different types of human trafficking
and building a greater understanding of the demand factors in
areas such as trafficking for forced labour. Secondly, through
the UKHTC we will consider undertaking specific measures targeted
at reducing demand."
The Action Plan listed 62 Action Points, allocating specific responsibilities
to a variety of government departments and agencies and involving
extensive co-operation with NGOs and, in some cases, the private
11. Many of the actions proposed in the Action Plan
involve the UKHTC. The UKHTC brings together staff and officers
from the police, UKBA, Crown Prosecution Service, Serious Organised
Crime Agency and social services. According to the Home Office:
"The UKHTC provides a central point for the development of
expertise and the strategic and operational coordination in respect
of all forms of trafficking of human beings
law enforcement a 24/7 support line for tactical, immigration,
victim and legal advice and has sought to raise awareness amongst
police forces about human trafficking in a number of ways".
One of the UKHTC's tasks has been to improve knowledge of the
scale and nature of human trafficking. In its written evidence
to us, the Home Office describes the UKHTC as "the central
repository of all data and intelligence on human trafficking."
Another function is increasing public awareness of trafficking,
in the hope of identifying and rescuing more victims. It recently
ran a 'Blue Blindfold' campaign, including posters on public transport
and television advertisements, which had the slogan 'Don't close
your eyes to human trafficking'. As far as its operational work
is concerned, the UKHTC is organised into five core working groups
in the areas of victim care, prevention, research, learning and
development and operations and intelligence.
12. Both the Home Office and the UKHTC on its website
emphasise the close co-operation between the UKHTC and SOCA. SOCA,
however, devotes only 12% of its effort to all organised immigration
crime, which includes human trafficking but the majority of which
falls into the category of people smuggling.
13. The Home Office told us: "The model of working
presented by the UKHTC is already being presented in international
forums as an example of best practice. Although only in existence
a short time it has established a good reputation both nationally
To a large extent, this Report provides an analysis of how well
the UKHTC is doing in meeting the expectations set out in the
Government's Action Plan.