The Trade in Human Beings: Human Trafficking in the UK - Home Affairs Committee Contents

4  Identifying victims

A young woman was trafficked to the UK from east Asia and forced to work in a brothel which was later raided by the police. She was detained at Oakington Detention Centre for 10 days until released for the purpose of obtaining a medical report. She was recovered by her 'pimp' on release and forced back into prostitution. She was apprehended in a brothel, again by the police, and again was detained in Oakington for 10 days. Her asylum claim was refused. Her lawyer encouraged her to report her abuser to the police. No interpreter was provided and no ongoing investigation was conducted by the police.

68. "Victims of trafficking share many characteristics with other categories of migrants and people experiencing abuse".[123] Victims rarely approach public authorities to complain about their treatment or to seek help, and, even when they do, those authorities may not immediately realise that the complainants' problems may be a result of trafficking.[124] Public authorities are most likely to come across those trafficked as a result of criminal activity (off-street prostitution, street crime, complaints from neighbours about activity such as noise because of unsocial working hours or overcrowding) or as immigration cases (80% of the Poppy Project's clients are referred to it by UKBA and another 13% by lawyers representing women seeking asylum[125]).

69. Key agencies are, of course, the police and UKBA but also, in the case of children, social services departments. However, each of these agencies has its own pressures and priorities and, because victims have a variety of backgrounds, may present in many different ways and are scattered over the country, it is difficult to ensure that the front-line staff most likely to come into contact with victims are aware of and can apply the criteria to assess whether someone is a possible victim of trafficking.[126] Other organisations may chance upon victims in the course of their work: Citizens Advice Bureaux, trade union representatives and local migrant organisations sometimes find people who have been trafficked for forced labour, but there is no system for helping these victims so there is little such organisations can do. Moreover, officials do not always recognise signs of trafficking and, if they feel concerns, they are not always sure what to do: Anti-Slavery International cited a case where a social services official saw a large number of workers' passports locked in a drawer in a factory; the official felt suspicious but did not know what to do and her supervisor told her not to get involved.[127] Amnesty International UK told us that some medical practitioners had seen patients with injuries they suspected to have been incurred in the course of forced labour, but they have not known what they should do in these circumstances.[128] A further problem has been the absence of co-ordination among the organisations dealing with trafficking. The Poppy Project told us that the lack of a formal mechanism for co-ordination meant that victims could be referred to them without the police being involved, or to the UKHTC without the Poppy Project being aware, or to individual police or immigration teams who might not even identify them as victims.[129]

70. Taking all these factors together, this means that the identification of victims depends heavily on the knowledge, experience and commitment of individual police officers and public officials or (where they exist) small specialist units.[130]

The police

71. In general, our witnesses considered that the police were treating trafficking seriously and that there was greater awareness of the problem among police officers than among other public officials. However, leaving aside the difficulty of determining whether prostitutes are being coerced or not, two particular areas where people may be treated as criminals rather than victims were brought to our attention. One related to children arrested in the course of criminal activity, especially cannabis cultivation. Several of our witnesses were very concerned about the number of Vietnamese children—some as young as 14—prosecuted for drug and immigration offences after raids on cannabis factories.[131] Amnesty International UK also mentioned prosecutions of victims for begging, benefit fraud, financial and credit card fraud, pickpocketing and other petty crime which they had been forced to commit by traffickers.[132] The Home Office Minister, Mr Alan Campbell, told us that the Government did not believe there should be a blanket exemption from prosecution for children—he stated, for example, that some of those employed in cannabis factories were paid well for their work. However, he acknowledged that children found engaged in crime had to be treated with care in case they were victims of human trafficking. As a result, the Home Office was considering whether the guidance for the CPS and ACPO was adequate in this regard.[133] We welcome this reappraisal.

One domestic worker managed to run away—through a window—from the family that treated her like a slave. She was terrified had bruises on her body. Her passport was locked in the house. The policeman at the station asked her for her documents. She wanted to tell him what happened, but he insisted on her documents first and said he must first know who she was.

72. The second area of particular concern related to migrant domestic workers. Migrant domestic workers fleeing abusive employers sometimes approach Kalayaan for help. 32% of those who register with Kalayaan have had their passports taken from them by their employer, and are therefore unable to prove their identity or immigration status. Employers frequently claim that, because the visa was issued on the basis of their employment of the worker, it is their [the employer's] responsibility to "cancel" it if the worker leaves the job. The UKBA has published guidelines on its website saying that employers should not retain passports, but employers either ignore these or are unaware of them. Kalayaan suggested it is not clear from the guidelines that retention of such documents is illegal. Kalayaan follows a set procedure when passports have been taken from workers: first it telephones the employer to ask for the passport to be returned to the worker or to the worker's embassy. If this fails, Kalayaan writes to the employer giving seven days to return the passport. If the passport is not returned, Kalayaan approaches the police with this evidence that the passport is being deliberately withheld by the employer.[134]

73. Retaining someone else's identity documents is illegal under s25(5) and 26 of the Identity Cards Act 2006. Kalayaan told us: "Despite this it is rare that the police will ever take action against the employer. We have never had an experience where the police see this withholding of documents as an indicator of trafficking and decide to investigate further," adding that frequently the police react with suspicion and oblige the workers to prove their status, treating them as possible immigration offenders rather than as victims. The police often choose to report the passports only as lost, not stolen.[135]

74. Furthermore,

we have many cases where missing person units contact us because employers have gone to the police saying that their domestic worker has escaped. Surely if an employer is approaching the police saying someone has escaped the police should ask a few questions about why that person would have escaped and why did they need to escape if they were here as a worker, but the police have not been taking a proactive approach in that way at all.[136]

75. There is a clear need for greater awareness training in police forces so that officers realise that domestic workers, too, may be victims of trafficking and are not merely possible illegal immigrants. This training should cover signs such as deliberate confiscation and retention of identity documents and reports by employers that domestic workers have absconded from their homes.

76. The UKHTC has been working to raise awareness of all forms of trafficking and spread best practice on identifying victims among police forces. CEOP brought together police forces with relevant experience and gave the Sussex Police the task of devising best practice guidance for police forces to promote understanding of child trafficking and help in identifying victims. A number of different models were assessed and the guidance was completed in October 2008.[137] SOCA and the UKHTC have worked on developing national intelligence for large-scale operations such as Pentameter 2; SOCA doubled the number of its staff embedded in the UKHTC in 2008; and the Director of Policy of the UKHTC led two programmes for SOCA, on human trafficking and the exploitation of migrants.[138] The Metropolitan Police—one of the forces most aware of and active against human trafficking—told us it had good relations with the UKHTC, which helped it with training and the provision of intelligence, though not as much intelligence as the Metropolitan Police would have liked.[139]

77. However, everyone agreed more needed to be done. The Poppy Project argued:

What we do not have is on the street officers, apart from the Met Human Trafficking Team, specialist officers who are out there identifying and bringing cases to court and I think that that has to be a priority. We have to date 75 cases of trafficking or trafficking associated cases that have gone to court. It is dreadful that, since we started the project in 2004, there have only been that many cases. That is what makes the UK a haven for traffickers because there are not the police out there who are doing that work.[140]

78. In the last two years, there has been a significant increase in anti-trafficking operations by police forces across England and Wales. Several were underway in the summer of 2008 when the UKHTC gave oral evidence to us.[141] Three of the best-known operations in recent years have been Pentameter 1 and 2 and Paladin, in all of which the Metropolitan Police was heavily involved.

Operations Pentameter 1 and 2 and Paladin

79. These three operations differed from the numerous others carried out by police forces across the country as they were sustained operations involving a number of agencies. Both Pentameter Operations comprised hundreds of raids. Pentameter 1 focused on sexual exploitation, Pentameter 2 on sex trafficking but also forced labour.[142] Operation Pentameter 1 lasted for four months and identified 88 victims, including 12 girls aged under 18. Pentameter 2 saw raids on 833 premises during which 167 victims were recovered and 522 arrests made. There was also a concentrated attempt to damage the profitability of the trade: more than £500,000 was seized and assets worth over £3 million held under restraint.[143] The Home Office argued that Pentameter 2 had been innovative in its use of Local Safeguarding Children's Boards and the telephone helpline, CTAIL, and of a model protocol for interviewing child victims.[144] Pentameter 2 did not escape criticism, however, particularly from those involved in the support of child victims. In summary, they thought that the operation was initially planned without the special requirements of children being taken into account, and that later attempts to address this had led to confusion and a lack of timely action to address the immediate needs of the traumatised children who were rescued.[145]

80. Operation Paladin is very different. It aims to identify child victims entering the UK via London's ports (the airports, Eurostar terminus, Victoria Coach Station and the Asylum Screening Unit at Croydon, which is legally classified as a port). The Paladin team consists of six police officers and two border agency staff. It works closely with children's services and liaises with other relevant public agencies and NGOs and with commercial companies (such as the airlines) to raise awareness and identify children at risk. Operation Paladin has been running for four years and has identified hundreds of children as being potentially at risk. Twelve people have been convicted as child traffickers as a result, and three operations have been passed on to SOCA as involving organised crime in trafficking networks. A number of other UK and some foreign police forces have visited the Paladin team to learn from them. The Paladin Team have helped the International Organisation for Migration to produce a handbook on trafficking for law enforcement agencies.[146] Paladin was praised enthusiastically by ECPAT UK and its approach is considered best practice by CEOP and the ACPO Child Trafficking Steering Group. CEOP has been supporting the development of a Paladin Manual which would enable the model to be applied throughout the UK, with variations in resourcing according to perceived need.[147] Stop the Traffik provided a vivid example of the Paladin Team's effectiveness when other agencies (a local police station, a local immigration unit, the CTAIL helpline and CEOP, and the UKHTC) had failed to intervene to help a child victim reported by a member of the public.[148]

81. According to the members of the Metropolitan Police's specialist human trafficking unit, most of the intelligence on which they based their operations came from the local level, the borough commands, who knew where brothels were located, or who were approached by victims or by local residents concerned about some activity, or who were tipped off by, for example, cards in telephone kiosks advertising 'Girls Newly Arrived'. The unit also received intelligence via Crimestoppers or from NGOs assisting possible victims.[149] However, they believed that, when dealing with the organised criminal gangs, "You do not take out such people by routine policing": it requires officers with experience in the way in which such trafficking gangs operate and of how to put together information from a variety of sources, national and international, to make a complex case.[150]

Specialist Units

82. When asked to cite best practice, the UKHTC more or less equated this with the existence of effective specialist units: they rated the Metropolitan Police's specialist unit at the top of the league table, followed by the team formed by the West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and Humberside Police, and the Kent Police. In addition to these, CEOP mentioned that the Sussex and Scottish police forces were actively engaged in seeking out intelligence on trafficking, and Anti-Slavery International complimented the work of the Cambridgeshire and Devon and Cornwall forces.[151] The UKHTC did not believe that every force should have a specialist unit: only those where a problem had been identified. (The Metropolitan Police identified the need in their area through the work of their Vice Squad.)[152] NGOs also heaped praise on the Metropolitan Police's Human Trafficking unit; and other police forces, such as the Police Service of Northern Ireland and Strathclyde Police, have visited the unit to see whether they could or should transfer the model.[153]

83. We were therefore concerned to learn that the Home Office has decided to cease funding for the Met's Human Trafficking unit. We asked the unit's officers why this was happening and what they expected the consequences to be. They explained that when the unit was set up, the Home Office provided £870,000 a year as a pump-priming exercise: "at that time it was very clear that this was a high priority for government and there was a lot of activity, not only in policing but with the immigration service." Subsequently, SOCA and the UKHTC had been established and there was a change of personnel (the police officers did not specify where the change occurred). "We had an expectation, being a priority, that funds would continue to be made available… When it became apparent with SOCA and the UKHTC that there were doubts about funding" in late 2007 the Metropolitan Police wrote to the Home Secretary. They were told that the funding from the Home Office would decrease to £600,000 for 2008-09 and again to £400,000 for 2009-10.[154] These figures were confirmed by the Minister, Mr Alan Campbell, who said he understood the Metropolitan Police would provide from its own resources match funding, pound for pound, for the £435,000 given by the Home Office. This would allow the unit an extra year in which its approach and expertise could be spread into the 'core business' of the force. He argued this was appropriate as the issue of human trafficking was not a regional problem but a national one. He added that if the Metropolitan Police considered the unit's work essential after 2010, it could fund the unit entirely from its own resources.[155]

84. When asked about the impact of the funding reduction on the force's work on human trafficking, the police officers replied that the Metropolitan Police was having to review the way it handled both trafficking and the immigration crime of facilitation. In discussions with UKBA, it was considering moving resources to deal with "criminal networks" rather than just those traffickers arrested at the end of the chain in the UK. The officers stated baldly that the loss of funding would affect their ability to find trafficking victims.[156]

85. Despite what the Minister implied, it is clear from the evidence given to us that the Human Trafficking unit of the Metropolitan Police serves a national as well as a local role, in providing an example of best practice that is regarded as a model by other police forces, by NGOs and—as we note later—by foreign law enforcement bodies and multinational agencies such as Europol. We have been given examples where the unit has played a key role in operations conducted with other police forces within the UK and abroad. In principle, we agree that best practice must spread out from specialist units to inform the work of every police officer and PCSO in the UK if trafficking victims are to be identified and rescued whenever and wherever they appear. However, we are still a long way from that ideal, even within London: as our witnesses acknowledged, the UK is just starting to tackle the problems of trafficking for forced labour and for street crime. We are therefore particularly disturbed by the police officers' assessment that closing down the unit will make it more difficult to identify trafficking victims.

86. Furthermore, we are concerned about the continuing tendency to view trafficking as an immigration crime, coupling it with facilitation or people smuggling, which is completely different. Not only does this increase the risk that victims will be treated only as those whose immigration status needs to be determined, it also poses the threat that those whose immigration status is not in doubt—UK nationals or those from the EEA, or migrant domestic workers with the correct visas, for example—will be ignored altogether.

87. As a result, we recommend that the Home Office continue to provide funding at its original level for the specialist Human Trafficking unit of the Metropolitan Police beyond 2010, until it can be proved that sufficient expertise on identifying victims of trafficking and dealing with the perpetrators has been spread through police forces throughout the UK.

88. We note also that only two of the six police posts in the Paladin Team are funded specifically for this purpose.[157] This team, also, is a national and international exemplar, and we recommend it be fully funded so that it can continue its vital work.

UK Borders Agency

89. The UKBA has a role in monitoring ports to detect potential victims, identifying victims among those whose immigration status is uncertain and in connection with its shared responsibility for the issue of visas before foreign nationals come to the UK. In concert with the UKHTC, it has set up a number of 'immigration crime' teams across the UK, part of whose remit is human trafficking.[158] We were concerned that one of our witnesses, ATLeP, considered the monitoring of potential trafficking victims at ports to be less vigilant than it was five years ago, and that victims, even if identified, were less likely to be referred to support services.[159]

90. The problem of correct identification of victims is particularly acute with children, who may have no idea what trafficking is, or even think that the way they are being treated is quite normal, either because they have always been abused or because they have no idea of norms in the UK, or simply because they are more vulnerable to coercion or threats against themselves or their families.[160] CEOP described the difficulties faced by immigration officials at ports as follows:

if you imagine as you walked here this morning if you identified an adult with a child 15 feet away from you and then tried to make an assessment before you passed them about whether or not that child was trafficked, they are faced with those type of problems …. Some of these children who are coerced are shown videos of what to do and where to go and where to hide until they present themselves at a particular stage, even at airports. So there are issues that make it difficult for them …[161]

91. A practical suggestion was that there should be separate immigration entry channels at ports of entry for children accompanied by someone other than their parent or guardian. At present, the child and adult go through the same channel and are interviewed together by an immigration official. We were told this means that often the adult is questioned more than the child. ECPAT UK suggested separate interviews so that the answers could be compared and any discrepancies could be examined more rigorously.[162]

92. Furthermore, unaccompanied children are unlikely to be questioned in depth when they are first taken into care by local authorities as the policy is to grant discretionary leave to remain in the UK to minors, so there is no need to give substantive consideration to their cases. The result is that children may not be asked the right questions until they are approaching the age of 18 when they have to seek extension of leave to remain in the UK—and then, as we discuss later, immigration officials often are suspicious that the trafficking claim is simply a ploy to enable them to stay in the UK.[163] The NSPCC concludes: "Given the length of time and level of support it took for the children in our service to disclose their experiences of trafficking we think it is unlikely that the majority of separated children who have been trafficked will ever be identified as such."[164]

93. There is also a specific difficulty that affects babies and very young children. We were told that those trafficked for benefit fraud or illegal adoption, and generally those too young to speak for themselves, do not fall within the definition of trafficking used in the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants etc) Act 2004.[165] We understand that the Government disputes this interpretation of the legislation, arguing that babies are covered by section 4(d) of the Act: a person is trafficked if "requested or induced to undertake any activity and would likely to have refused the request or inducement if he was without illness, disability, youth or family relationship."[166] However, in a recent case where a woman was accused of buying a baby in Nigeria and bringing him back to the UK in order to get priority housing, she was prosecuted for people smuggling rather than trafficking. Others who commit such crimes and are caught are presumably prosecuted under legislation relating to benefit fraud and adoption. However, we assume that those they exploit cannot be treated as trafficking victims. It is imperative that the Government amend the 2004 Act to clarify the status of such victims. We note that the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Bill [Lords] now awaiting second reading in this House presents a good opportunity to make such an amendment.

94. Representatives of those victims who came to the attention of the immigration officers after they had escaped from their traffickers in the UK, were in general very critical of their clients' treatment by the immigration authorities. The members of ATLeP said that their clients' stories were typically disbelieved. As a result they were questioned numerous times, often in ways that added to their distress and sometimes led to suicide attempts; they were held in prison or detection centres; were given no protection against their traffickers; and often encountered "prejudice, hostility and occasional direct abuse" from immigration judges.[167] ATLeP argued that these attitudes were especially damaging to child victims, who were also interviewed repeatedly to establish their age: it was not unusual for such children to be interviewed 20 times by different professionals.[168] ECPAT UK said that the asylum claims of trafficked children were "routinely rejected", which it attributed to ignorance and lack of concern about human trafficking among UKBA officials and immigration lawyers.[169]

95. The Poppy Project told us that very few, if any, applications for asylum from their clients were accepted at initial decision level, and this situation had not changed under the New Asylum Model. However, about 80% of these cases either succeeded at appeal or the women were given indefinite leave to remain as refugees or under humanitarian protection. The Poppy Project suggested this was six times the rate of successful asylum appeals in general. Unfortunately, most appeals were not accepted as fully meeting the criteria under the Refugee Convention, so they were not considered as establishing case law—which in turn meant that they could not feed through into improving the initial decision-making process.[170]

96. We were told that the UKBA's guidance to its employees on the identification and treatment of trafficking victims (the Operational Enforcement Manual, or OEM) was very good, and all that needed to be done was to apply the profile at the first interview with the applicant.[171] For example, the guidance states:

"During Operations enquiries into whether a person is a victim of trafficking should take precedence over enquiries into the individual's immigration status. Officers should be aware that victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation are likely to be classified as vulnerable persons and detention will not normally be appropriate. ….Officers are advised to deal with such individuals in a professional and sensitive manner and should be aware that the individuals concerned may be extremely vulnerable. …

It is likely that individuals will have been isolated from their family circle/friends and living in an unfamiliar country/area. As a result, in addition to possible feelings of fear and intimidation they may feel dependant upon their controllers. Individuals may on initial contact exhibit an unwillingness to cooperate with authorities, especially if they are in the presence of their controllers or around other victims. In addition many victims may not understand the concept or think that they are victims of trafficking…

Be aware that victims of trafficking may suffer a wide range of health, mental health, psychological and physical problems. Look out for signs of distress or physical injury and watch for signs of drug/alcohol abuse and associated unusual behaviours.

Victim's participation in any future proceedings will often depend on their psychological, emotional, physical and mental health. It is important to ensure that the appropriate physical healthcare and psychological support is provided to these individuals…."[172]

ATLeP told us that the police follow similar advice quite effectively, but among immigration officials it "is not followed in practice. It is certainly not followed by all enforcement officers. It should also be reproduced and given greater prominence as guidance/training for case officers and adopted by immigration judges."[173]

97. ATLeP noted Home Office initiatives to introduce specialised case workers to deal with suspected victims of trafficking, but said that after a while the best of these case workers were promoted or moved and there was no process of continual training to support their successors. ATLeP also expressed surprise that case workers knew only about the specific aspects of immigration law relevant to their current job, and were unable to take a broader view. ATLeP suggested that immigration officials should be expected to show the same level of expertise as immigration lawyers, who were barred from giving advice unless they were accredited in all aspects of immigration law.[174]

98. The Metropolitan Police said it was an over-simplification to suggest that the UKBA officials were simply focusing on removing as many illegal immigrants from the UK as possible. The police thought the attitude of officials had changed recently and that they did recognise the special status of trafficking victims.[175] We were told by police officers that they had never known a child victim identified under Operation Paladin returned to the child's home country, nor an adult returned before they had been asked whether they were prepared to supply information about their traffickers.[176] Mr Alan Campbell, the Home Office Minister, also thought that the UKBA's ability to identify trafficking victims was improving, but he said that identifying victims early was the key, otherwise there was a suspicion that they might be claiming to be victims in order to get round the immigration rules.[177]

99. Time after time in our inquiries into immigration and asylum matters we are told that the UKBA's rules and processes are good but they are not carried out properly. Our witnesses said that the UKBA is trying to ensure that victims of trafficking are correctly identified and then treated appropriately within the immigration system, and we are sure that many UKBA officials are doing their best. However, the evidence we have received is that there are still major gaps in awareness and training within the agency. These must be addressed by a greater emphasis on the excellent guidance already available.

100. We were also disturbed to hear anecdotal evidence of a lack of awareness about trafficking and its effect on victims among immigration judges. It seems that there is a pressing need for training of judges, too.

Reflection Time and the Fast Track process

101. One of the reasons for the high success rate of the Poppy Project's clients in being given leave to remain was that they were allowed a 'Reflection Period' of 30 days in which to recover from the trauma of their treatment and to decide whether they were able and wished to give information to the authorities that might lead to the arrest and prosecution of their traffickers.[178]

102. Article 13 of the Council of Europe Convention on the Trafficking of Human Beings says:

1 Each Party shall provide in its internal law a recovery and reflection period of at least 30 days, when there are reasonable grounds to believe that the person concerned is a victim. Such a period shall be sufficient for the person concerned to recover and escape the influence of traffickers and/or to take an informed decision on cooperating with the competent authorities. During this period it shall not be possible to enforce any expulsion order against him or her. This provision is without prejudice to the activities carried out by the competent authorities in all phases of the relevant national proceedings, and in particular when investigating and prosecuting the offences concerned. During this period, the Parties shall authorise the persons concerned to stay in their territory.

2 During this period, the persons referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article shall be entitled to the measures contained in Article 12, paragraphs 1 and 2. [ie material help such as appropriate accommodation, medical assistance, counselling, legal advice, the services of interpreters, education for children]

3 The Parties are not bound to observe this period if grounds of public order prevent it or if it is found that victim status is being claimed improperly.

The Explanatory Report accompanying the Convention clarifies the purpose of the Reflection Period:

173. … This minimum period constitutes an important guarantee for victims and serves a number of purposes. One of the purposes of this period is to allow victims to recover and escape the influence of traffickers. Victims recovery implies, for example, healing of the wounds and recovery from the physical assault which they have suffered. That also implies that they have recovered a minimum of psychological stability. ….

174. Other purpose of this period is to allow victims to … decide whether they will cooperate with the law-enforcement authorities in a prosecution of the traffickers. From that standpoint, the period is likely to make the victim a better witness: statements from victims wishing to give evidence to the authorities may well be unreliable if they are still in a state of shock from their ordeal. "Informed decision" means that the victim must be in a reasonably calm frame of mind and know about the protection and assistance measures available and the possible judicial proceedings against the traffickers. Such a decision requires that the victim no longer be under the traffickers' influence.

175. The reflection and recovery period provided for in Article 13(1) should not be confused with issue of the residence permit under Article 14(1). Its purpose being to enable victims to recover and escape the influence of traffickers and/or to take an informed decision on cooperating with the competent authorities, the period, in itself, is not conditional on their cooperating with the investigative or prosecution authorities.

177. The Convention specifies that the length of the recovery and reflection period must be at least 30 days. … At present countries which have a period of that kind in their domestic law have lengths of one month, 45 days, two months, three months or unspecified. … The Group of Experts on trafficking in human beings which the European Commission set up by decision of 25 March 2003 recommended, in an opinion of 16 April 2004, a period of at least 3 months.

178. The … victim must not be removed from the Party's territory during the recovery and reflection period. Although free to choose what method to employ, Parties are required to create a legal framework allowing the victim to remain on their territory for the duration of the period. …

179. To help victims to recover and stay free of the traffickers for that period, it is essential to provide appropriate assistance and protection.

103. The Poppy Project cited 2006 research into the health consequences of trafficking which suggested that victims needed up to several months to recover from trauma before being able to give accurate information to the police or make informed decisions about whether they were willing to co-operate in any criminal investigation.[179] This, and the recommendations of other bodies such as the European Commission's Group of Experts, led the Poppy Project and other witnesses to state that the UK should adopt a Reflection Period of three months, rather than the minimum under the Council of Europe Convention of 30 days.[180]

104. Some of our witnesses argued that the Fast Track system for considering asylum claims was fundamentally incompatible with the Reflection Period laid down by the Council of Europe Convention. Under the Fast Track, decisions on asylum applications have to be taken within one week. The Fast Track system depends upon a list of countries in which the UK Government considers there is little or no threat of persecution, so the presumption is that no one from these countries has a valid claim to asylum. However, the list includes a number of major source countries for trafficking victims, such as Albania, Moldova and Ukraine. Although the Home Office has issued instructions that, where there is evidence from a credible source such as the Poppy Project that an asylum applicant is a trafficking victim, the applicant should be excluded from the Fast Track process, other potential sources of evidence—such as evidence from health screening that a child has been sexually abused—is not enough to block use of the Fast Track.[181]

105. ATLeP was also concerned about the fit of a minimum 30-day reflection period with initial decision-making under the New Asylum Model, which came fully into force in March 2007. The New Asylum Model is intended to speed up the processing of claims by making one case worker responsible for each case from beginning to end, with the aim of concluding the process with either an approval or removal from the UK within six months. Within this model, different categories of applicant are dealt with in different ways. However, an initial decision is supposed to take only between 11 and 20 days.[182] ECPAT UK suggested a system of renewable residence permits for victims as an alternative to having immediately to claim asylum.[183]

106. We are concerned that the Government's laudable aims of deterring fraudulent applications for asylum and speeding up the decision processes for genuine asylum-seekers may disadvantage the often severely traumatised victims of trafficking. At the very least, the Government must consider whether the existing exemptions from Fast Track processes adequately protect people trafficked for forced labour who—not least because of the lack of support services for them—may well not present through recognised expert bodies like the Poppy Project. Removing people from the Fast Track does not mean that their cases would be examined less rigorously; it just means that there would be more time in which evidence of trafficking might be adduced.

107. Since we finished taking oral evidence for this inquiry, the UK has ratified the Council of Europe Convention Against Human Trafficking. It has announced the introduction of a 45 day reflection and recovery period, and "the possibility" of a one-year residence permit for victims. We welcome many aspects of this, but would like the Government to confirm that clear instructions have been issued to all immigration case workers that the reflection and recovery period applies to all victims of human trafficking, not just those forced into the sex trade, and that it is not dependent on the victim's co-operation with law enforcement authorities. We would also like clarification of whether the 45-day period came into force immediately on ratification of the Convention by the UK on 17 December 2008.

108. We remain concerned that, for some severely traumatised victims, 45 days may be too short a time for them to recover sufficiently to make an informed decision about co-operating with the police—not least because there are so few support and counselling services available to victims. We recommend that provision exceptionally be made for the reflection period to be extended for the most severely traumatised, where this is recommended in reports from psychiatrists experienced in dealing with such victims.

109. Our witnesses who represented victims also wanted those who co-operated with the law enforcement authorities to be given an automatic right to stay in the UK longer-term:

At present, there are no automatic rights for victims of trafficking to remain in the UK even if they provide substantial information and/or agree to testify in court proceedings against their traffickers and perpetrators. The threshold to qualify for leave to remain under Asylum and Humanitarian Protection legislation remains very high, with the burden of proof falling to individual victims to show that they are at risk of persecution if returned to country of origin. As a result, victims of trafficking are asked to make the decision to co-operate with the authorities without knowing whether this may potentially put them at further risk, should any pending application for leave to remain in the UK be refused.[184]

Our witnesses denied that an automatic right to stay would 'open the floodgates' and in effect encourage illegal immigration to the UK in the hope of permanent settlement. The Poppy Project argued that, first, if illegal immigrants wanted to stay in the UK they would avoid trying to identify themselves as victims because this immediately brought them to the attention of the immigration authorities; and, secondly, for some time Italy had been operating two routes under which those trafficked for sexual exploitation could remain in the country, one being co-operation with the law enforcement authorities and the other being a 'social' route for those who could not co-operate—this had not led to a flood of women claiming to have been forced into prostitution in Italy.[185]

110. We also ask the Government to clarify whether victims would be able in any circumstances to obtain an extension of the one-year residence permit.

Returning victims to their home country

111. We were told that in many cases deporting victims to their home countries led to re-trafficking. This was because they were being returned to exactly the same conditions that had made them vulnerable to trafficking in the first place—in fact, sometimes their position was worse as they were stigmatised because of the trafficking, so their families rejected them. 21% of the Poppy Project's clients had been re-trafficked, some only a short time after they had returned to their home country.[186] As a result of these dangers, ECPAT UK strongly opposed the introduction of enforced removals of unaccompanied children who refused voluntary return.[187]

112. Our witnesses were not opposed to the idea of voluntary returns, but were concerned about the amount of support available in their home countries to those who returned. In some cases, victims were sent back to their families, as this was their government's stated policy, even when it was family members who had trafficked them in the first place.[188] The Home Office takes some account of the services available to those returned, but, according to ATLeP and Amnesty International UK, it has insufficient information to judge the adequacy of the provision: whether there are enough shelter places for the number of victims likely to be returned, or the length of time victims are allowed to spend in such sheltered accommodation, or whether victims are given any assistance (through training or placement in jobs) to help them support themselves financially. ATLeP said that Nigeria provided an example of this: while an organisation called NAPTIP had been set up to help trafficking victims, it was under-resourced, with the result that within six months of their return to Nigeria from Europe 60% of women had been retrafficked back, sometimes via NAPTIP institutions.[189]

113. Voluntary returns of victims should be encouraged; but it is both cruel and pointless to return victims of trafficking to their home countries if they are just going to be sent back to western Europe again shortly afterwards. The UKBA must make more use of the intelligence available from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for International Development and NGOs as to the real level of support for reintegration of victims into their home country in order to judge whether returning them is appropriate. We also recommend that the Government make an assessment of the extent of re-trafficking.

Access to legal advice

114. Putting together a case to enable a trafficking victim to claim asylum is often a complex affair, not least because of the unwillingness of victims to relive some of their terrible experiences through describing them to others. Healthcare professionals, psychiatrists and country experts sometimes have to be involved, and information may have to be obtained from foreign jurisdictions or international bodies like Interpol. We were told that these cases typically cost the lawyers who take them significantly more than the average for immigration cases, but not enough to exempt them from the fixed fee system for funding immigration advice.[190] We understand why the fixed fee system for immigration cases was introduced, and have no wish to encourage frivolous cases or vexatious appeals. However, we do in part share immigration lawyers' concerns that some law firms may be unwilling or unable to take the risk of such potentially high-cost cases. We recommend the Government to keep under review whether there is a decline in the willingness of lawyers to represent those suspected of being victims of trafficking, and, if so, to exempt such claimants from the fixed fee system, subject to safeguards such as the need for their claim to be supported by recognised experts like the Poppy Project.

Issuing Migrant Domestic Worker Visas

115. As explained above,[191] there is a separate visa regime for Migrant Domestic Workers. Because these workers are allowed greater flexibility than others seeking employment in the UK, and because of the problems that had arisen under the previous regime where workers were brought into the UK as a visitor or family member, or given a "to work with" stamp, one of the requirements on those issuing visas is that the worker should be interviewed separately from the employer. Such workers are also supposed to be given information about their rights at this point. Kalayaan told us that the majority of workers registered with them had not been interviewed separately from their employer by entry clearance officers—many had not been interviewed at all—and they had not been informed of their rights.[192]

116. We asked Kalayaan for further details, including which UK overseas posts were involved. We think it worth quoting Kalayaan's response extensively:

The 89 new migrant domestic workers who registered at Kalayaan between 3 January 2008 and 31 March 2008 when asked by Kalayaan about their visa application process reported the following:

Interviews when applying for visa:

52 were interviewed at an overseas British embassy

32 were not interviewed (but were issued a visa)

5 did not supply any data

Of those interviewed how many had their employer present

during the interview?

41 told Kalayaan that their employer or a member of their employer's

household was present during their interview

11 told us that they were interviewed alone

At which British posts overseas were these 89 visas issued and

how many interviewed the workers to whom they issued visas?
British embassy Total MDW visas issued by this post How many of these workers were interviewed?
Didn't name embassy 85
India30 19
Singapore2 0
Jordan 1 1
Oman3 2
Kuwait6 3
Hong Kong4 2
Brunei4 1
UAE8 3
Qatar2 2
Saudi Arabia5 1
Bahrain3 3
Morocco1 1
Russia3 3
Cyprus1 1
Israel1 0
Nairobi, Kenya1 0
Colombo, Sri Lanka 22
Lagos, Nigeria2 1
Indonesia1 1
Philippines1 1
Total visas issued 8952


Kalayaan was not sure whether the heavy representation of workers from India in these figures was merely a reflection of the fact that predominantly their clients are from India, Sri Lanka or the Philippines.[194]

117. Kalayaan was also aware of cases where domestic workers had applied to enter the UK as domestic workers—and their interview notes made it clear that they had done so—but they were still issued with a visitor visa. Other workers fleeing abuse had been issued with family member visas, and a few had no entry clearance (they had entered the UK on their employer's private plane and had not passed through immigration). Unfortunately, Kalayaan is unable to help any of these people at all, as its remit is limited to those who entered the UK on Migrant Domestic Worker visas.[195]

118. The Migrant Domestic Worker visa was introduced to deter abuse of such workers. An essential part of the regime is that before a visa is issued there should be screening to ensure that the worker is travelling of (usually her) own free will and there are no obvious signs of maltreatment. It is also vital that the worker is given information about her employment rights in the UK. This can be done only if the worker is interviewed by the post issuing the visa, and interviewed separately from the employer. We wish the posts named in Kalayaan's list as failing to follow the correct procedures to give us an assurance that they will tighten up procedures in future; and we want the UKBA to explain to us what they are doing to ensure that all posts are aware of and apply these requirements in future.

119. Kalayaan also told us that some Migrant Domestic Workers were not sure whether or not they had a visa as they had never been in possession of their passport, not even when they passed through passport control at their port of entry. We agree with Kalayaan that immigration officers should look out for cases where adults are not holding their own passports and should make inquiries, if necessary insisting that the person not in possession of their passport be interviewed separately. Even if there is no evidence of abuse, this would enable migrant domestic workers to be informed of their rights at this point.[196]

Awareness amongst other authorities

120. The police and immigration authorities are not the only public bodies whose work brings them into contact with possible victims of trafficking. We were concerned that awareness of trafficking might be low outside the police and the UKBA and asked our witnesses what was being done to train other officials. We were told that NGOs such as the Poppy Project help with training in victim identification and support for law enforcement and other public and voluntary sector organisations. Trafficking profiles to help identify and refer potential child victims at ports have been developed in collaboration by the Home Office, ECPAT UK, West Sussex social services and others.[197] ECPAT UK has recently completed the second year of a three-year DCSF-funded project to help design and deliver awareness training to local authorities.[198] The NSPCC, aided by CEOP and ECPAT UK, has set up a telephone helpline, the Child Trafficking Advice and Information Line or CTAIL, intended to be used by any official, whether from the police, immigration authorities, social services, health service or schools, who suspects that a child has been trafficked. So far, the UKBA and police have made greatest use of it, but CEOP was disappointed that fewer people than expected had phoned the service. CEOP admitted that there needed to be greater efforts to publicise its existence to all those who might use it.[199] Funding for this helpline is due to end in July 2009.[200]

Local authorities

121. The evidence given to us by the Local Government Association emphasised the degree of confusion still surrounding the question of how to detect child victims of trafficking. The Local Government Association told us: "Our concern is that there is no exhaustive list of signs of trafficking", adding that there was a need for greater clarity to differentiate between child smuggling "with no ulterior motives" and child trafficking "with the intention of exploitation".[201] (This was despite the fact that in December 2007 the Home Office and Department of Children, Schools and Families jointly published 'multi-agency guidance' on child trafficking, including risk indicators and advice on appropriate safeguarding action.[202]) ATLeP was also concerned about the lack of expertise about trafficking among local authorities.[203]

122. The local authorities in London are considered to have made more progress in addressing the problem of trafficking than those in many other parts of the country, as they became aware of the problem earlier. As a result, in March 2008 the London councils held a conference for officers and councillors, bringing together lead members for children and families with those for community safety. A number of recommendations for best practice emerged from that conference, and the boroughs have also worked together to produce a London trafficking toolkit which, we were informed, was to be launched in 2009.[204] We were told of a number of relevant initiatives by London local authorities, including a strategic review of the likely impact of the 2012 Olympics on the sex industry and sex trafficking, an investigation into whether private fostering was acting as a cover for trafficking (according to CEOP, a neglected area because Children's Services are overburdened[205]), work with NGO partners and others on the dangers of trafficking via the new Eurostar terminus at St Pancras station, work with faith- and community-based organisations on child labour, as well as with NGOs on victim support and with PCSOs on the identification of trafficked children.[206]

123. Evidence given to the Vulnerable Workers Enforcement Forum described the Borough of Newham's initiative with HMRC's National Minimum Wage enforcement team and the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate on training council workplace inspectors (those working in trading standards, environmental health and licensing) to report suspicions of infractions of employment law to the relevant enforcement bodies.[207] Following the training, the Borough agreed to undertake a one year trial to see whether the partnership with the local authority can "generate useful intelligence about bad employers which can add value to the enforcement effort".[208]

124. Councillor Shireen Ritchie of the London Councils Children and Young People's Forum said that the team involved in the Pentameter Operations had given a presentation to the Local Safeguarding Children Board of the Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, and she thought this might also have happened in other London boroughs, but this kind of training was not general practice.[209] However, she pointed out that one of the difficulties faced by local authorities was the division of responsibilities between children's services and those involved in community safety.[210] Mr Steve Liddicott, the Borough of Croydon's director of Children's Services and representative of the Association of Directors of Children's Services, believed that there was little emphasis on human trafficking in the training provided to social workers now: there had been none when he was trained.[211] He thought all authorities that had contact with children, and therefore potentially with child trafficking victims, needed to focus more on obtaining proof of the relationship between a child and the adult apparently responsible for that child. He had in mind, for example, more rigorous questioning when an adult was attempting to enrol a child for a school place or register the child with a GP.[212] Mr Liddicott suggested that one of the most useful things the UKBA could do would be to give information to local authorities about how to detect false documents, such as passports, so that local officials were better able to determine whether a claimed relationship was true.[213]

125. Councillor Ritchie made a number of suggestions as to how local officials could be encouraged to look out for trafficking victims in the course of their normal work. As far as children were concerned, she considered the Local Safeguarding Children's Boards key: they could train licensing, environmental health and housing officers, though, she noted, such Boards did not have the financial resources for training. She also suggested that local authority licensing boards could impose conditions on, for example, lap dancing establishments to try to protect employees.[214]

126. Local authorities obviously are important in terms of their responsibilities for services for children. As the Vulnerable Workers Enforcement Forum pointed out, they can also be a valuable source of intelligence about where adult trafficking victims may be located as "they often know who the worst employers are in their area,"[215] and their officials may well come across victims in the course of routine inspections. We sought information about the spread of best practice in relation to awareness-raising and training in the identification of possible victims: the Local Government Association referred us to the London authorities. We applaud the imaginative action being taken by a number of London Borough Councils, and the fact that they appear to be conscious of the need to spread experience and best practice. We are, however, disturbed that yet again the initiatives seem confined to London—or, if they are not, the Local Government Association appears unaware of them. There must be a much more concerted effort to use local knowledge and the opportunities provided by existing local activities to identify trafficking victims. We ask the Government to inform us what it intends to do to encourage the spread of best practice among local authorities.

Health and education services

127. CEOP told us that its next target audience for awareness-raising was health and education providers. Sometimes victims became so ill that even the traffickers realised that they needed medical assistance, and they then normally used Accident and Emergency Departments. CEOP knew of occasions when A&E departments had contacted the police or local authority children's services about children they suspected were trafficking victims, but "when they have delved a bit deeper the child and accompanying adult in most of those cases disappear."[216] The Department of Health had seconded a part-time member of staff to CEOP in 2008. She had developed some guidance for the health sector, which CEOP hoped would be "out quite soon".[217] However, an inhibiting factor on these other public sector bodies sharing information about potential victims was fear of contravening the Data Protection Act. CEOP considered that, however much guidance was given that people should not feel inhibited from sharing information when someone's safety was at stake, in practice officials felt deeply uncomfortable about doing so. CEOP suggested this might be solved by the addition to the Act of a provision giving protection to named services if they shared information among themselves because they were concerned over the safety of a vulnerable person.[218]
G jumped out of the window on the 2nd floor brothel where she was held against her will. She broke her foot in the fall and got lots of cuts and bruises. A passer-by saw her and called for an ambulance. She was referred to the POPPY Project via the hospital social worker.

128. CEOP is concentrating on raising awareness about child trafficking among those working in the health service and education. There is clearly also scope for raising awareness of adult victims of trafficking among health providers.

Other statutory bodies

129. As indicated earlier, victims of forced labour in legal employment sectors are even less likely to be identified than those involved in off-street prostitution or crime. Such victims sometimes come into contact with public authorities—for example, the social worker who noticed the passports locked in an office in a factory; or environmental health officers dealing with complaints about noise or overcrowded dwellings or public health concerns in relation to catering;[219] or health and safety inspectors; or those inspecting potentially unsafe vehicles; or buildings inspectors—but there appears to have been little or no effort to alert such officials to the problem of human trafficking, let alone to inform them of how to react if their suspicions have been aroused.

130. One exception to this is a sector where a tragedy—the death of Chinese cockle-pickers in Morecambe Bay—brought the problem of trafficking to public attention. As a result of this, the authority given responsibility for regulating labour in this sector, the Gangmasters Licensing Authority, is alert to the possibility that some of the workers it deals with may be victims of trafficking.

131. From May to August 2008, the Gangmasters Licensing Authority took part in a pilot scheme to identify victims of forced labour. The objectives of the pilot were:

  • To increase understanding of the scale, scope and nature of human trafficking for forced labour in the UK;
  • To increase awareness and the ability of front line staff to identify potential victims, and to limit the possibility of inaccurate identification;
  • To improve an identification process, including a national referral mechanism[220] to a competent authority;
  • To provide access to accommodation and support for victims; and
  • To increase investigations and convictions under section 4 of the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants etc) Act 2004.

The Gangmasters Licensing Authority led the pilot in the East of England, an area where traditionally large numbers of gangmasters have supplied labour to the local farmers and food processors and packers. Other strands of the pilot ran in the West Midlands (led by the UKBA) and North Yorkshire, and there was a further strand that involved third sector partners (Kalayaan and the Poppy Project) in London.[221]

132. There is some anecdotal evidence that the closer regulation of the supply of labour in the sectors supervised by the Authority may be diverting traffickers into other sectors. Moreover, some areas of casual labour—the ethnic restaurant trade, for example—have been targets for traffickers for some years. We were aware that some trade unions were expressing growing concerns about the incidence of forced labour in the UK, and we decided to request evidence from one of the most vociferous, UCATT (the Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians).

133. UCATT has conducted research across the UK to detect the scale of migrant trafficked labour. It provided us with a number of examples in three areas, the Midlands, North-West and Northern England, including: assaults and threats of violence; very low pay (below the National Minimum Wage); excessive deductions from pay for rent, tools and utility bills; and provision of sub-standard accommodation. UCATT stated: "The systematic abuse of workers by contractors, employment agencies and gangmasters in the construction industry is a constant thread in our research among migrant workers in the UK."[222] However, it is impossible for us to determine whether the undoubted abuses amounted to trafficking in all cases because it is not clear whether any of the workers willingly accepted the conditions and were free to leave their jobs if they disliked them. At least in part, this lack of clarity arises from the fact that the vast majority of workers on major construction sites are classified as self-employed. The extent to which those claiming to be self-employed in the construction industry really are self-employed is a matter of dispute. We note, in this regard, a recent report from our sister Committee, the Business and Enterprise Committee, Construction Matters, which set out the widely varying estimates of the relevant unions and HMRC, ranging between 200,000 and 1 million 'bogus' self-employed workers in the sector.[223] UCATT told us that an important factor casting doubt on the 'self-employed' status of many workers was the increasing incidence of gangmasters providing labour to major construction sites. UCATT claimed: "gangmasters and labour providers' use of illegal labour is rife on major [construction] contracts throughout the UK."[224]

134. UCATT's evidence on the changing profile of the construction industry confirms us in our conclusion that the GLA model should be extended to other sectors.

National Referral Mechanism

135. Anti-Slavery International considered the treatment of victims of trafficking in the UK had improved over the last five years or so.[225] However, a number of our witnesses argued that the training and information provided currently were not sufficient to ensure that people were correctly identified as trafficking victims. They considered that the only way to do this was to have statutory involvement of relevant NGOs in the process. They argued that NGOs contributed different experience and expertise from law enforcement and immigration agencies and could encourage victims who were frightened of state authorities to come forward. Their ideal was a form of National Referral Mechanism: a multi-agency body consisting of experts in law enforcement, the indicators of sexual or labour exploitation, mental health and medical issues. This, they argued, would lead to swift identification of victims and provision of appropriate support to them. It would also have the beneficial result that the police and the UKBA could concentrate on their own jobs, without having to try to provide support services too.[226]

136. The NGOs pointed to two examples of where a National Referral Mechanism had been successful. One was in the Netherlands, where such an independent body has been in existence for more than 20 years. This body operates what is called a 'help desk procedure' under which all cases of trafficking or suspected trafficking are referred to it, so that its experts can carry out a thorough process of examination in order to identify any victims and to assess the victims' individual needs. This system had, according to Anti-Slavery International, resulted in a "good number" of prosecutions of perpetrators.[227] The other example was Operation Pentameter 2 in the UK, where the majority of the victims were identified as such by NGOs and not by the police or immigration officials. However, the Poppy Project conceded that not all the possible victims discovered during Pentameter 2 were considered under the referral mechanism—some had opted to go home immediately without any referral. But of those referred, in only one case was there a dispute about the woman's status and that was not because there was any doubt as to whether she was a trafficking victim but because it was argued that she had been allowed enough reflection time already.[228]

137. With ratification of the Council of Europe Convention, the UK has adopted a new national referral mechanism. The Government has named the UKHTC along with the UKBA as the 'competent authority' under the National Referral Mechanism. According to the Explanatory Report accompanying the Council of Europe Convention:

129. By "competent authority" is meant the public authorities which may have contact with trafficking victims, such as the police, the labour inspectorate, customs, the immigration authorities and embassies or consulates. It is essential that these have people capable of identifying victims and channelling them towards the organisations and services who can assist them.

130. The Convention does not require that the competent authorities have specialists in human-trafficking matters but it does require that they have trained, qualified people so that victims can be identified. The Convention likewise requires that the authorities collaborate with one another and with organisations that have a support-providing role. The support organisations could be non-governmental organisations (NGOs) tasked with providing aid and support to victims.

Some of our witnesses have raised concerns whether the UKHTC and UKBA are qualified to be competent authorities. In particular, ECPAT UK argued that the UKHTC to date had not shown that it understood the specific requirements under the UK's international obligations to respect children's rights, as opposed to a generic approach to victim care. ECPAT UK said it would "like to see a multi-agency approach and local decision making as part of the national referral process. ECPAT UK believes that local authorities are well placed to make competent authority decisions about whether a child has been trafficked, yet the proposed Government model does not include local authorities as a 'competent authority'", adding: "It is not at all clear why the Government refuses to accept that Local Authorities be allowed to make competent authority decisions regarding the identification of trafficked children".[229] Kalayaan reported a number of problems with the pilot operation for identifying trafficking for labour exploitation in May-September 2008,[230] in which the UKHTC and UKBA had acted as the 'competent authority'. These included a lack of clear case ownership; delays in identifying potential victims far beyond the five day period specified; failure by the UKHTC to speed up the process of obtaining information on the immigration status of victims whose passports had been taken away by their traffickers; lack of co-ordination; and excessive bureaucracy, which, for example, hindered the provision of accommodation to victims. Kalayaan was clearly of the view that the UKHTC and UKBA needed to address problems of co-ordination before they would be able to fulfil their role as competent authorities properly.[231] Amnesty International UK, Stop the Traffik, the NSPCC, UNICEF, the Immigration Law Practitioners' Association, Anti-Slavery International and Glasgow Community and Safety Services (which runs the TARA project) had similar worries, arguing that the key role to be played by the UKBA made the 'competent authority' in effect an immigration screening mechanism rather than one to identify and help victims, and that NGOs needed to be far more closely involved in the authority to improve victim identification.[232]

138. We hope that the UKHTC and UKBA have learned the lessons from 'Operation Tolerance', as the pilot was known. It is obvious that greater thought needs to be given to the practicalities of identifying and assisting victims. As ECPAT UK points out, much of the work of supplying accommodation and support services needs to be done with local knowledge and contacts, and we are concerned that the UKHTC and UKBA may not have such knowledge and contacts. We would like the Government to provide us with a clear account of how the competent authorities intend to ensure that they are capable of fulfilling this role.

123   Ev 154, para 2.2 (Poppy Project) Back

124   Ev 195, para 29 (Home Office); Ev 138, para 20 (Salvation Army); Ev 151, paras 5-6 (Stop the Traffik); Ev 185, para 11 (Amnesty International UK); and Ev 250 (UNICEF) Back

125   Q 51 Back

126   ECPAT UK referred to a "culture of disbelief" which it said existed across the UK in local authorities, police and immigration services: Ev 261, para 2 Back

127   Ev 97, para 3.18 Back

128   Ev 186, para 17 Back

129   Q 51 Back

130   Ev 154, para 2.12 (Poppy Project) Back

131   Q 21 (Anti-Slavery International) and Ev 105, para 4.7 (ECPAT) Back

132   Ev 272, paras 11-13 According to Amnesty International, the European Commission is currently reviewing the EU definition of trafficking to include trafficking for the purpose of criminal activity. See also Ev 132, paras 27-32 (Immigration Law Practitioners Association); Ev 190, paras 40-42 (Refugee Council); and Ev 269, para 37 (ILPA) Back

133   Qq 539-540 Back

134   Ev 120, para 15 Back

135   Qq 160 and 172 and Ev 119, para 9 Back

136   Q 171 See also Ev 119, para 14 Back

137   Q 364 Back

138   Q 228 Back

139   Q 447 Back

140   Q 74 Back

141   Qq 220-221 Back

142   Qq 220-221 (UKHTC) Back

143   Ev 95, para 21 and Home Office Press Notice, 'Government ratifies European Convention against human trafficking', 17 December 2008. We discussed Pentameter 2 during our oral evidence sessions, but at that time the Operation had not been evaluated. Back

144   Ev 202, paras 90-91  Back

145   Ev 245, paras 4.1-4.4 (NSPCC), Ev 247 (NSPCC and ECPAT) See also Ev 250, para 1 (Stop the Traffik) for more general criticism of Pentameter 2. Back

146   Ev 241 Back

147   Qq 110 (ECPAT) and 364 (CEOP) and Ev 241 Back

148   Ev 250, para 9 Back

149   Q 429 Back

150   Q 434 Back

151   Q 404 and Ev 273, para 20 (Anti-Slavery International) Back

152   Qq 218-219  Back

153   Qq 74-75 (Poppy Project) and 445 (Metropolitan Police) and Ev 273, para 20 (Anti-Slavery International) Back

154   Qq 409-415 Back

155   Qq 512-522 Back

156   Qq 415-416 and 418-419 Back

157   Ev 241, para 2 Back

158   Q 219 (UKHTC) Back

159   Ev 174, para 23 Back

160   See, for example, Q 362 (CEOP) and Ev 114, para F.3 (NSPCC) Back

161   Q 376 Back

162   Q 111 Back

163   Q 183 (ATLeP) and Ev 106, paras 14 and 16 (ECPAT) Back

164   Ev 114, para F.2 Back

165   Q 209 (ATLeP); Ev 105, para 5 (ECPAT); Ev 264, paras 5-12 (ILPA); Ev 241, para 10 (Stop the Traffik) Back

166   HL Deb, 6 April 2004, col 1645ff and HL Deb, 6 July 2004, col 671ff Back

167   Ev 173, paras 11, 15 and 18 See also Ev 206, para 6.1 (Refugee Council) Back

168   Ev 174, para 20 and Ev 176, para 31 Back

169   Ev 106, para 19 Back

170   Q 64 and Ev 155, paras 3.3-3.4 ATLeP also criticised the quality of initial decision making: Ev 176, para 32 Back

171   Qq 194 and 198 (ATLeP) Back

172   In Chapter 42, Identifying Victims of Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation Back

173   Q 198 and Ev 175, para 24 (ATLeP) See also Ev 135, paras 3.3 and 3.6 (CARE); Ev 169, paras 4.18-4.19 (Trafficking Law and Policy Forum) Back

174   Q 182 Back

175   The Poppy Project also told us that the number of referrals it received from the UKBA had increased in 2008-09 which, it thought, indicated greater awareness of trafficking in the Agency: Ev 258, para 3.2. Back

176   Qq 455-456 Back

177   Q 528 Back

178   Ev 155, para 3.6 Back

179   Ev 154, para 2.4 Back

180   Ev 154, para 2.7 (Poppy Project); Ev 167, paras 4.4-4.15 (Trafficking Law and Policy Forum); Ev 188, para 24 (Amnesty International); Ev 206, para 7.1 (Refugee Council) Back

181   Q 190 (ATLeP) and Ev 175, paras 27-29 and footnote 149 (ATLeP) Also Ev 129, paras 16-22 (ILPA); Ev 188, paras 34 and 36-38 (Amnesty International); and Ev 272, para 17 (Anti-Slavery International) Back

182   Ev 175, para 28 See also Ev 189, para 30 (Amnesty International) and Ev 207, para 12.1 (Refugee Council) Back

183   Ev 106, para 13 Back

184   Ev 154, para 2.5 (Poppy Project). See also Q 213 (ATLeP) Back

185   Qq 65-66 and 70 (Poppy Project) and 213 (ATLeP) Back

186   Q 68 and Ev 156, paras 3.9-3.10 (Poppy Project); Ev 106, para 17 (ECPAT) Back

187   Ev 106, para 19 Back

188   Ev 175, para 30 (ATLeP) Back

189   Q 181 (ATLeP) and Ev 189, para 33 (Amnesty International) Back

190   Qq 191-193, Ev 176, paras 32-44 and 49-51 and Ev 182-183 (ATLeP) Back

191   Paragraph 58 Back

192   Qq 159, 161-169 and 173 and Ev 119, para 13 Back

193   Ev 121 Back

194   Q 166 Back

195   Q 155 Back

196   Q 173 Back

197   Ev 153 (Poppy Project) and Ev 174, para 23 (ATLeP) Back

198   Ev 247, para 1 Back

199   Qq 372 and 385. Funding for CTAIL comes jointly from the Home Office and Comic Relief.  Back

200   Ev 208 Back

201   Ev 148-149 Back

202   Ev 193, para 13 and Ev 196, para 35 (Home Office) The guidance is called Working Together to safeguard Children Who May Have Been TraffickedBack

203   Qq 183 and 198 Back

204   Qq 463-466 (London Councils Children and Young People's Forum) This may be the local authority toolkit mentioned by ECPAT UK as going "well beyond" anything being used by the UKHTC: Ev 261, para 9. Back

205   Qq 398-399 Back

206   Q 475 Back

207   The briefing covered national minimum wage and employment agency legislation, how the enforcement bodies operated, how complaints were handled, and how to make contact with the agencies when non-compliance was suspected. Initial feedback reported that the inspectors' knowledge of these areas of enforcement had increased. Back

208   Vulnerable Workers Enforcement Forum - Final Report and Government Conclusions, paras 4.15-4.17 Back

209   Q 484 Back

210   Q 465 Back

211   Q 484 Back

212   Qq 469-471 and 486-487 Back

213   Q 484 Back

214   Qq 466 and 468 Back

215   Op cit, para 4.14 Back

216   Qq 379-381 Back

217   Q 382 Back

218   Qq 383-384 Back

219   See Councillor Ritchie's positive response to the idea of training inspectors in detecting victims: Q 467 Back

220   See paragraphs 135-137 below for this Back

221   Ev 215, paras 6.6-6.7 Most of the 50 victims identified in London were domestic servants: see Ev 253 (Kalayaan) and Ev 240, para 1.2 (Poppy Project) Other organisations involved were the UKHTC and Department for Work and Pensions, and the operation took place in five police force areas: Qq 223-224 (UKHTC) Back

222   Ev 253, paras 3 and 5-7 Back

223   Ninth Report of Session 2007-08, HC 127, paragraphs 164-169 Back

224   Ev 239 Back

225   Q 36; see also Qq 376-377 (CEOP) Back

226   Q 36 (Anti-Slavery International); Q 62 and Ev155, para 2.8 and Ev 157 paras 6.1-6.3 (Poppy Project) Back

227   Q 36 Back

228   Qq 62 and 63 Back

229   Ev 262, para 9 Back

230   See paragraph 131 above. Back

231   Ev 253 Back

232   Respectively, Ev 185, para 13; Ev 25, para 5; Ev 250, para 5.2; Ev 250, para 9; Ev 264, paras 13-19; Ev Ev 271, para 25; and Ev 274, paras 4.8 and 4.10 Back

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