with source and transit countries
179. Relations with source and transit countries
are key to stemming the trade in human beings. Source countries
need to be encouraged to spread information about the risks of
trafficking to potential victim groups and to tackle the perpetrators,
some of whom are their own nationals.
Source countries must also be helped to provide appropriate support
for returned victims. Transit countries must be persuaded not
to ignore the trade on the grounds that it is 'someone else's
problem'. Both source and transit countries may have to deal with
corruption and sometimes overt collusion with criminals by officials.
And the picture is complicated by the fact that many countriesincluding
the UKare source, transit and destination countries.
180. We were told that the degree of co-operation
between source and transit countries varied widely. In general,
there appears to be a very good relationship with new EU members
such as Romania and Bulgaria and also with countries bordering
the EU such as Ukraine. Bucharest hosts a regional centre for
liaison officers from all South East European and some other European
police forces to help with information sharing and co-ordination
of operations. Romania has sent police officers to both Austria
and the UK to form Joint Investigation Teams to address specifically
the problem of child trafficking from Romania.
The Gangmasters Licensing Authority has recently agreed arrangements
with the Bulgarian Chief Labour Inspectorate to monitor and control
companies supplying agricultural workers to the UK.
Misha Glenny, the investigative journalist, praised the efforts
made by the British Embassies in Romania and Bulgaria to establish
links between British and local police forces, and the way in
which the UK Government had helped in training civil servants
as well as the police. He thought the work done by the UK and
others in South East Europe was showing positive signs, including
in Serbia, which was running an information campaign to warn the
public about human trafficking. He suggested that the model of
co-operation between UK and Spanish authorities in tackling organised
crime in the narcotics trade could usefully be applied more widely.
The UKHTC has taken a lead in respect of Romania and Bulgaria,
working with the International Organisation for Migration and
the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to run campaigns in both countries
to raise awareness of all forms of trafficking. Coupled with this,
the International Organisation for Migration established a telephone
advice line in Bulgaria and Romania. The campaign ran for three
months at the beginning of 2007. The helplines received just over
200 calls, most simply seeking information on preventing human
trafficking, but nine calls in Bulgaria and twelve in Romania
related to actual cases of trafficking.
181. Ukraine was frequently cited to us as a country
making great efforts to tackle the scourge of trafficking. It
acts as both a source and a transit country. We visited Ukraine
as part of our inquiry and we were favourably impressed with the
commitment of the authorities, their eagerness to co-operate with
the UK and other EU Member States, and the key role played by
well-established NGOs in raising awareness, identifying and assisting
victims. Some examples of successes are already coming to light:
a group of Ukrainian women trafficked to the Czech Republic had
beforehand been given information about what migrants should do
if they found themselves in a difficult situation, and had been
provided with the telephone numbers of organisations that could
help. They used this information to alert the Czech authorities
and were quickly rescued.
The NGOs we met in Prague implied this was not an isolated case.
This success is attributable to the strong co-operation between
the Ukrainian and Czech public authorities, the hard work by NGOs
in awareness-raising in both countries, and the fact that the
route for sex trafficking between Ukraine and the Czech Republic
is well-established so that potential victims can be given specific
informationphone numbers and addresses of those who could
help them. Europol also said it found it easy to obtain and exchange
relevant information with Ukraine and to promote close relations
between Ukrainian and Member State law enforcement agencies.
The Metropolitan Police confirmed this, but noted that, while
Ukraine and Russia co-operated in specific cases, they were not
yet working with other police forces more generally to tackle
the organised crime gangs based in their countries.
182. Moldova was another source country perceived
to be co-operating in the attempts to stop the trade in human
beings. The Gangmasters Licensing Authority has worked with the
Moldovan authorities on awareness-raising about trafficking for
forced labour. The Director of Europol visited Moldova in 2008
to meet officials setting up a government-funded institution whose
purpose was to spread information among children and parents about
the dangers of traffickingand especially about fraudulent
offers of jobs as au pairs or in restaurants in Western Europe.
He noted the strong support by NGOs in Moldova for this work.
Misha Glenny sounded a note of caution, however, saying that Moldova's
ability to co-operate was limited by its extreme poverty and high
levels of corruption.
We also heard conflicting reports of the willingness of authorities
in Russia and Lithuania to take action, while Turkey was commended.
183. The country which almost all our witnesses mentioned
as posing problems was Nigeria. The exception to this view was
the Metropolitan Police's human trafficking unit: it reported
that it was working with the Nigerian authorities to discover
how victims were recruited and the routes taken by traffickers
to Europe. Other
witnesses made a number of specific allegations that went beyond
simple reluctance to take the problem seriously or to co-operate
with others. Anti-Slavery International said that Nigeria was
not willing to put basic anti-trafficking provisions in place.
It also noted that because Nigeria does not issue replacement
passports through its embassies abroad, returned victims often
have to travel home on temporary travel documents, which identifies
them as victims and leads to harassment, ostracism, detention
and sometimes immediate re-trafficking. Anti-Slavery International
hinted that airport workers in Nigeria might be linked to trafficking
gangs, as victims were found and re-trafficked so swiftly.
The Poppy Project said their Nigerian clients had indicated that
traffickers found it easy to obtain visas and other travel documents
from the British High Commissionthere was no need to forge
noted that as yet it had been unable to make a strategic co-operation
agreement with Nigeria, with the result that it did not obtain
any intelligence direct from that country: it had to rely on Member
States to pass on any information they received from Nigeria.
184. Other countries named to us as unable or unwilling
to join in the battle against trafficking were Albania (where
corruption and the extent to which criminal gangs have penetrated
all sectors of society, including law enforcement agencies, thwart
efforts to counter trafficking) and Vietnam (where the authorities
often refused to accept that a trafficking victim without papers
was a national of the country, thus leaving him or her in effect
185. CEOP told us that it had been researching how
and why children from South-East Asia, South Africa and parts
of Europe become victims of trafficking. It had already established
good relationships with a number of countries and was hoping to
build on the very cost-effective approach already used in relation
to sex offenders and child internet pornography, the Global Virtual
Task Force, to deal with child trafficking.
The Task Force was able to give a round-the-clock response to
questions linked to operational requirements. Using this facility
and the relations CEOP had already established with NGOs active
in source countries such as Cambodia, CEOP hoped to be able to
run operations to stop the trafficking of children from these
186. Where countries
are willing to co-operate, there is clearly a readiness on the
part of government agencies and NGOs both in the UK and elsewhere
in Europe to help run information campaigns, advise and train
local police forces and other public officials, and help by information
sharing and with joint operations. Where there is no intention
by source and transit countries to co-operate, diplomatic pressure
is an option, not least pressure from neighbouring countries which
may be suffering as transit routes and from an overspill of criminality.
It is also not always necessary to have the whole-hearted support
of the government: there may be more benefit from working through
NGOs, as Europol hinted to us. There also may be more that could
be done in the way of pooling information for general use, through
Europol and Interpol, by destination countries that have good
relations with the less co-operative source countries.
187. All these
solutions require the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the
Department for International Development to keep the effort to
combat human trafficking as one of their priorities. In general,
our witnesses were complimentary about the work of these departments
in specific countries. There appears to be scope for extending
this worksuch as that done in South-East Europeto
188. The UK Presidency of the EU made a priority
of human trafficking, and we are pleased that the current holders
of the Presidency, the Czech Republic have done so, too. We
recommend the UK Government to take the lead in ensuring that
at least once a year the source, transit and destination countries
meet together to discuss practical measures to improve the co-ordination
of efforts against trafficking, which should supplement the best
practice conferences for experts currently held by the EU. These
could perhaps be held under the aegis of an organisation not connected
to a particular country, such as the International Organisation
for Migration. We recommend that an early item on the agenda for
such a meeting should be how countries could co-operate more closely