Memorandum submitted by the Salvation
This response is made by The Salvation Army
(UK and Ireland). It sets out our knowledge and experience of
human trafficking and the efforts we have made internationally
in order to reduce both supply and demand. Our answers to the
specific questions posed are summarised below:
Estimating the scale and type of
activitydata on the scale of trafficking in the UK is highly
unreliable and out of date. An extensive investigation into the
nature and extent of this crime is now long overdue. Our experience
suggests that the prevalence of human trafficking is significantly
underestimated at present.
The difficulty of finding those who
have been trafficked when they are normally too frightened to
complain to the authorities; and the role of NGOs in helping to
identify and assist victimsgreater protection for victims
of trafficking is vital and NGOs must play a critical role in
The treatment of those who have been
trafficked but have no legal right to remain in the UK, including
the requirements imposed by the Council of Europe Convention on
Combating Human traffickingby virtue of their having being
trafficked to the UK, the British government owes a duty of care
to that person, whilst s/he is present in the UK.
Co-operation within the EU (including
Europol); and control of the EU's external frontiersThe
Salvation Army (UK and Ireland) has no knowledge or experience
of this area.
Relations with transit and source
countries, and the role of Interpol and the UN Office on Drugs
and CrimeThe Salvation Army (UK and Ireland) runs anti-trafficking
projects in India, Sri Lanka, Malawi, China and the Philippines.
At present the laws against trafficking are inadequate to prosecute
traffickers effectively (the UK has introduced specific legislation
only in the last decade too). Instead they are limited to prosecuting
for other offences such as "employing" an under-age
child and preventing children from going to school.
Effectiveness of the co-ordination
between public authorities in the UK (Home Office, FCO, police
forces, Serious Organised Crime Agency, Border and Immigration
Agency, social services)The establishment of the UKHTC
has clearly done much to reduce the overlap in work between the
different public authorities and the provision of such a focal
point for trafficking and trafficking-related issues is most welcome.
There does however appear to be tension between the aims and mandates
of the various key stakeholders which can often result in confusion
and mixed messages being sent to both the victims themselves and
their care providers.
Other CommentsCriminal Justice
and Immigration BillIn The Salvation Army's opinion, the
UK should to more to address the demand side of the problem. As
far as legalising prostitution is concerned... it doesn't work
in our opinion.
1. The Salvation Army (UK and Ireland) is
pleased to make this response to the Home Affairs Committee inquiry
into Human Trafficking. As one of only three providers of safe
housing in the country we have developed expertise that informs
2. The Salvation Army is a member of the
Stop The Traffik Campaign. The campaign is driven by a coalition
of organisations and individuals who are determined to stop the
sale of people once and for all. We also belong to CHASTEChurches
Alert to Sex Trafficking across Europe.
3. 2007 was the 200th anniversary of the
abolition of the transatlantic slave trade in the UK. The harsh
reality is that the problem of modern-day slavery is even bigger
today than it was all those years ago.
4. This response to the Home Affairs Committee
consultation answers the questions set and indicates our knowledge
and experience of the current position. Please do not hesitate
to contact us should any comments or queries arise.
Estimating the scale and type of activity
5. As the UN definition (2000) makes evident,
trafficking in persons is not limited to sexual exploitation but
also includes domestic servitude, street crime, drug smuggling,
forced marriage and labour exploitation.
As Malarek (2004) makes clear, the UK is now recognised as a major
sex trafficking destination; men, women and children are trafficked
into the UK every year to undertake all the above types of exploitation.
However, official estimates of the extent of trafficking into
the UK remain woefully inadequate.
6. In terms of the scale of sex trafficking,
the main point of reference is Kelly and Regan (2000), who suggest
that between 142 and 1,420 women are trafficked for sexual exploitation
in the UK every yearthis study is based on figures from
1998 and is now ten years out of date.
The Home Office estimated that in 2003 the size of the UK market
for trafficking for sexual exploitation was around £275 million
and there were at least 4,000 trafficked women residing in the
UK. This figure is believed to be a massive underestimation of
the problem, yet no official police estimates currently exist
or are available.
7. A commonly held belief is that the figures
are more around the 25,000 mark (for trafficked women) at least.
Other studies done by media have also suggested much higher numbers.
8. Certainly local figures in Croydon for
example, where The Salvation Army has been a vital part of the
Croydon Community Against Trafficking (CCAT) movement, suggest
a much bigger problem than official estimates.
9. In 2006 there were over 100 advertising
brothels in Croydon alone. Of these it is believed that 84% of
women are highly likely to be trafficked and are from overseas.
10. This has been evidenced by recent brothel
raids as well. Whilst this is a local example, this kind of scale
is also echoed around the country in places like Peterborough
11. Knowledge of the scale of trafficking
of minors into the UK is also extremely vague and there are no
official statistics. In 2004, ECPAT UK found that 32 out of the
33 boroughs in London believed that they had a problem with trafficked
A Home Office-commissioned survey in 2007 identified 330 cases
of suspected or confirmed victims of trafficking over an 18 month
periodmost of them from China or from Africabut
warned of an "unknown quantity" that have not come to
the attention of the authorities.
According to UNICEF, in 2003 at least 250 children had been identified
as trafficked in the previous five years, However, it warns that
the real numbers trafficked into the UK each year are more like
"hundreds, if not thousands" (UNICEF, Stop the Traffic!).
12. There are no reliable statistics on
domestic and labour exploitation. However research by the TUC
and Anti-Slavery International found evidence of labour exploitation
in the catering, construction, agricultural, cleaning and domestic
13. Data on the scale of trafficking in
the UK is highly unreliable and out of date. An extensive investigation
into the nature and extent of this crime is now long overdue.
14. In terms of the type of activityThe
Salvation Army's CCAT experience is that the scope of the services
on offer is wide and depraved. We have also noticed a drop (up
to 30%) in prices for sexual services and have been offered sex
without condoma service the Prostitutes coalition adamantly
assert would not be something that a woman who "chooses prostitution"
would agree to.
15. This has been evidenced again by victim
accounts which support that they were forced to have sex without
condom after their enslavers were paid extra by punters for the
experience. From as little as £30 oral sex and even full
sex is offered, more is charged for other depraved services.
16. The type of activity is quite frankly
unlimited, which again suggests women who are not in control of
their own bodies. The offers from brothels are overt and explicit
and many offer more than one girl at a time. On a recent undercover
film done by ITN reporter they were offered nine underage Romanian
trafficked girls in one brothel. Others we have contacted in East
London for example have offered the choice of over 20 girls from
all different nationalities.
The difficulty of finding those who have been
trafficked when they are normally too frightened to complain to
the authorities; and the role of NGOs in helping to identify and
17. In our experience among rescued women
it is true they are traumatised on arrival at the safe house and
only after intense and careful working with each person, is there
any hope that they might share something of their ordeal that
might help themselves or others. The Salvation Army's International
network and profile is most useful in linking up with families
in the sending nations.
18. In the insecure time after rescue the
immigration process is felt to be threatening and certainly from
a logistical viewpoint is burdensome and ties up staff members,
thus necessitating a high staff resident ratio.
19. The Salvation Army provision and cost
of the safe house is borne entirely by Salvation Army funds. We
recognise the need is not diminishing and equally recognise the
finite funding that exists. The need for and lack of funding is
the major risk factor to the provision.
20. The situation that trafficking victims
find themselves in once in the UK frequently means that they are
too frightened to come forward to the authorities. Traffickers
generally operate in organised gangs which have extensive networks
across the globe. This tends to mean that victims are fearful
of what will happen to their families if they come forward or
speak out; or what may happen to them when they return home. Victims
may also to live in an extreme fear of authority; as Kate Holt
(2002) writes in the Observer "much of their experience of
law enforcement has been tainted by corruption and they are reluctant
to trust anyone".
This can be compounded by cultural and language barriers as well
as a lack of any form of support network in this country. Due
to such barriers, trafficked victims may have little understanding
of their rights; "the complexity of the...migration system
and the fact that such a wide range of departments and agencies
are involved in different administrative procedures, makes it
very difficult...to understand what their entitlements, obligations
and possibilities of help are."
21. To such difficulties must be added the
uncertain immigration status of the majority of trafficked victims;
"UK efforts to combat trafficking have not been unified into
an effective, comprehensive strategy that prevents, deters and
punishes trafficking and has the rights and protection of trafficked
persons as its centrepiece".
In October 2007, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith declined to give
a guarantee that those rescued would not face deportation as illegal
migrants; the UK has tended to take a migration control approach
rather than a human rights or victim centred approach to issues
associated with trafficking. It is hoped that the ratification
of the European Convention against Trafficking will recognise
the victims of trafficking as such, rather than as perpetrators
of a crime. Vulnerability to deportation and the threat of being
returned to their home country before having the chance to apply
for asylum may compound the fear some victims have of presenting
themselves to the authorities. As Mary Cunneen (2005), director
of Anti-Slavery International, said: "We know from experience
that...women will not identify themselves as trafficking victims
and will say they want to return. They may have good reason from
their experiences in their own countries to be distrustful of
law enforcement. They may have been given very real threats either
against themselves or their friends and families. They may simply
22. The UK currently provides very limited
support for women trafficked into sexual exploitation; the Home
Office funds only one project, the London-based Poppy Project,
which has a limited access criteria. There is currently no specialist
provision for children who have been trafficked into the UK or
other victims trafficked for forced labour. Greater protection
for victims of trafficking is vital and NGOs must play a critical
role in this. The Salvation Army and The Medaille Trust have successfully
set up safe houses for trafficked women. Specialist organisations
have a strong history of assisting vulnerable people and trafficking
victims should be offered the best possible support by organisations
that have experience in helping women who have undergone violence,
both physical and psychological.
The treatment of those who have been trafficked
but have no legal right to remain in the UK, including the requirements
imposed by the Council of Europe Convention on Combating Human
23. Article 13(1) of the Council of Europe
Convention on Combating Human Trafficking and its stipulated minimum
30-day reflection period is welcome and has been long overdue.
There could however be a strong and convincing argument made that
a person who has been trafficked to the UK would have grounds
for asylum if s/he so wishes under Article 1.(2) of the 1951 Geneva
24. [...] owing to a well-founded fear of
being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership
of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside
the country of his nationality and is unable, or owing to such
fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that
country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the
country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events,
is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.
25. Notwithstanding the British government's
obligations under the terms of that Convention, if the trafficked
person wished to waive that right to asylum, The Salvation Army
would argue that by virtue of having being trafficked to the UK,
the British government owes a duty of care to that person, whilst
s/he is present in the UK.
26. The current situation is deeply unsatisfactory
where those without recourse to public funds are having to rely
on, for example, a sympathetic GP in order to get access to the
care and treatment they badly need. It is also not acceptable
that front-line staff at both voluntary and statutory agencies
are having to think of increasingly inventive ways of "getting
around the system", in order to meet the needs of their clients.
A systematic and integrated review of the current migration status
of those who have been trafficked to the UK (and consequent legal
rights), encompassing the evidence from the relevant NGOs and
care providers is badly needed.
Co-operation within the EU (including Europol);
and control of the EU's external frontiers
27. The Salvation Army (UK and Ireland)
has no knowledge or experience of this area.
Relations with transit and source countries, and
the role of Interpol and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime
28. The Salvation Army (UK and Ireland)
runs anti-trafficking projects in India, Sri Lanka, Malawi, China
and the Philippines.
29. The article below provides an insider
view from Malawi. Although originally drafted for a different
audience to the Home Affairs Committee inquiry, many salient points
are made. This article is available online, in our Develop Magazine.3
There are many other similar stories to cite.
30. When there are over 300 children playing
and singing at the tops of their voices it's hard to imagine that
even one of them is dealing with trauma. A seemingly insatiable
joy is spread across their faces, manifested in beaming, enthusiastic
smiles. But behind some of these smiles lies a grim reality that
is shocking to all of us. Behind some of these smiles lie lives
that have been exploited and abused.
31. The border town of Mchinji in Malawi
is best described as rural. Just over 100kms from Lilongwe and
a short drive from the border with neighbouring Zambia, it is
a town that represents the classic western view of African life.
The fields of corn, tobacco and potatoes, interrupted by modest
houses and dirt roads, form a beautiful and rugged landscape.
The people of the area are equally beautiful. Always friendly,
full of joy, always welcoming. Well, most of them.
32. There are a small number of people who
have infiltrated this community and nearby areas who don't reflect
this friendly norm. They are the traffickers. Many of them probably
don't even see themselves as that. But that is nonetheless the
reality. These people see others, especially children, as a means
to an end, as necessary to their personal economy. Even just as
"the way things are done". For them the shocking horror
of slavery is not shocking at all. It is what sustains their lifestyle.
33. Many of the children trafficked to this
area are trafficked to work as herd boys or on the tobacco farms.
Tobacco is one of Malawi's biggest exports. But this industry
brings a new depth of meaning to the "Smoking Kills"
warning we see on the side of cigarette packets in our local corner
stores. The cigarette doesn't even have to be lit to cause harm
to lives in this part of the world. And this demand for tobacco
has indeed killed. Children, boys and girls are being trafficked
to work as slaves on the farms. They are lured with the promise
of pay to their families after one year. A deposit is usually
paid to the family to convince them of the promisethe average
can be as little as 10 pence.
34. Once on the farm, the children are forced
to live in horrible conditions with very little food to sustain
them. They work long days, every day, and recent reports from
local social services also tell us that some of these children,
especially the girls, are then being prostituted out to local
men at night. Children who have been rescued from raids and police
crackdowns on this slave labour tell of horror stories of other
children who have demanded their freedom or asked to be taken
home. These children are often just dumped somewhere remote or
in some cases have been killed. Smoking really does kill.
35. The police are seemingly powerless to
stop the traffickers.
36. At present the laws against trafficking
are inadequate to prosecute traffickers effectively (the UK has
introduced specific legislation only in the last decade too).
Instead they are limited to prosecuting for other offences such
as "employing" an under-age child and preventing children
from going to school.
37. Dumisani was trafficked for one of the
major forms of trafficking in this area. Hundreds, possibly thousands,
of boys are trafficked every year to work as herd boys. A herd
boy's life is hard and dangerous. They are forced to work very
long days and are usually confined to sleeping with the animals
at night. If an animal goes missing whilst they are grazing them
during the day, the child will have to go and look for it until
it is found. The meagre ration of food the boys get is often withheld
as punishment and goes alongside beatings. Added to this is the
danger of agricultural pirates. Gangs of men, often armed, raid
the countryside to steal cattle and other animals. Herd boys are
the least of their concerns and are frequently injured in these
38. Dumisani lived with his family in the
south of Malawi. Traffickers came to his home offering a job to
Dumisani. Although he was still in high school, the offer was
accepted under the promise that Dumisani could return to them
after a year with his pay. Dumisani doesn't know how much of a
deposit the trafficker gave to his parents but even a small "deposit"
would have been a lot for his large family who were struggling
to survive. Never having heard of trafficking and vulnerably poor,
the family thought the offer seemed an innocent and amazing opportunity.
The reality was much different. Dumisani's hands and feet bear
testament to the hardship he endured, scarred with deep lines
and hardened skin. Dumisani still remembers the stench of the
animals that he slept beside each night. He remembers the hunger
he felt in his belly for a decent meal and he remembers vividly
the fear he endured during his horrible experience. But Dumisani
is making new memories now. Memories that involve freedom and
39. Whilst out grazing the animals one day,
Dumisani met a social worker. The social worker asked him about
his life and the conditions he lived in and why he wasn't at school.
Hearing Dumisani's story, he then told him that he could help
him. Bravely, Dumisani wanted to tell his enslaver he was leaving,
and so he went with the social worker to confront the man who
had treated him so badly. Dumisani was then taken to The Salvation
Army's centre for trafficked children in Mchinji. Suddenly life
became very different.
40. Now Dumisani is being cared for and
supported through a range of programmes. He is being given psychosocial
support to help him deal with the trauma he has experienced and
is experiencing love again in the care he is given. He is also
back at school. In most cases children will be reunited with their
families. But importantly, education and awareness programmes
need to be rolled out with local communities to ensure that children
who return aren't re-trafficked and that others aren't lured by
the same false promises. For now, Dumisani is dreaming of what
he will be when he grows up. He says he wants to be a social worker
so that he can help other children like himself and help them
not to be fooled by the traffickers.
41. The home is a safe place and the children
definitely feel loved. But the environment is basic. Services
like this require ongoing funding and support and although the
centre is still new, the future is uncertain without support.
42. It's hard to imagine how people can
exhibit such blatant disregard for the lives of others. How a
trafficker can purchase a life for less than what we pay for a
bar of chocolate. It's hard to imagine how enduring and brave
children like Dumisani are not only to survive but also to recover.
It's hard to imagine how a child who has been traumatised in this
wayhow anyone treated this waycan still smile.
43. But Dumisani does.
44. And so do so many of the other children.
Some are still trying to smile, but in time they will find an
instinctive joy that comes with hope, freedom and the touch and
interaction of being loved.
45. Turning our anger at oppression into
supportive action is possibly one of the best ways for us to heal
from an encounter like this. Certainly it has been for me. It
is the smiles of healing children and the selflessness of committed
staff that bring back beauty into this landscape and community
that has been defiled by the slavery that has pervaded its tranquil
existence. It is the knowledge that people are doing something
to stop lives being bought and sold and to stop this sale from
happening to so many others that brings a resolute peace to anybody
that encounters this amazing context. And with support and sustained
commitment, we will see an end to this trade and restoration to
the victims of the injustice of trafficking in Mchinji. And then
again in the next town. And the next...
46. People shouldn't be bought and sold.
It's true for our neighbours in Malawi and their town in Mchinji.
It's true for us.
Effectiveness of the co-ordination between public
authorities in the UK (Home Office, FCO, police forces, Serious
Organised Crime Agency, Border and Immigration Agency, social
47. The establishment of the UKHTC has clearly
done much to reduce the overlap in work between the different
public authorities and the provision of such a focal point for
trafficking and trafficking-related issues is most welcome. There
does however appear to be tension between the aims and mandates
of the various key stakeholders which can often result in confusion
and mixed messages being sent to both the victims themselves and
their care providers. For example, there is clear conflict of
interest between the aims of the Border and Immigration agency
and those whose prime objective is the health and social welfare
of the trafficked person. It would appear that work still needs
to be done on reconciling these differences in a way that the
person at the centre of the problemthe trafficked personreceives
the care and assistance they need, whilst simultaneously gathering
any intelligence and/or evidence that the law enforcement agencies
need to take steps against those responsible for their trafficking.
48. It is interesting to note that the FCO
is named as one of the public authorities concerned with trafficking
to the UK and any initial mapping of the field would inevitably
include the FCO as a key stakeholder. However, when a researcher
from The Salvation Army made a telephone call to the FCO recently
to enquire about their anti-trafficking programmes, she was told
"we don't have any member of staff here who covers that"
and it took several subsequent phone calls and persistence on
the part of the researcher to talk to anyone within the FCO who
works on trafficking issues. It could therefore be suggested that
in addition to further co-ordination and co-operation between
the different agencies, better and more effective communication
within each agency itself might be a priority.
Other CommentsCriminal Justice and Immigration
49. In The Salvation Army's opinion, the
UK should to more to address the demand side of the problem.
50. There are a number of studies out about
thisone recently suggested that 53% of men access services
through local papers for example. There is much evidence that
suggests that the demand is fuelling the huge supply. Perhaps
the UK could go stronger on this side of the argument and on the
prosecution of punters rather than the criminalisation of the
51. As far as legalising prostitution is
concerned... it doesn't work in our opinion. In Amsterdam for
example, the same lobby group that lobbied to make prostitution
legal all those years ago are now lobbying to make it illegal
again. Our sources suggest that the Swedish modelwhilst
perhaps not as successful as their government suggestshas
done a great deal to make trafficking a higher risk activity in
8 February 2008
76 United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and
Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children,
V. Malarek (2004), The Natashas: The New Global Sex Trade.
London: Vision. Back
L. Kelly and L. Regan (2000), Stopping Traffic: Exploring the
extent of, and responses to, trafficking in women for sexual exploitation
in the UK. London: Home Office. Back
(just one comment on it-but also widely reported) Back
End Child Prostitution and Trafficking UK, Cause for Concern?
London Social Services and Child Trafficking, 2004. Back
Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) "Scoping
Project on Child Trafficking in the UK", published in June
K Holt "Once they were girls. Now they are slaves".
The Observer, 3 February 2002. Back
K Skrivánková, Trafficking for Forced Labour
UK Country Report, Anti-Slavery International 2006. Back
W Young and D Quick, "The Struggle Between Migration Control
and Victim Protection: The UK Approach to Human Trafficking",
M Cunneen, quoted in "Home Office defers expulsion of women
held in brothel raid", The Guardian, 2005. Back