There is a myth that human trafficking only happens across international borders. However, it also happens within countries – from city to city, street to street. Including the UK.
The latest report from the UK National Crime Agency (NCA) states that human trafficking and modern day slavery in the UK are “far more prevalent than previously thought” (Will Kerr, NCA Director, Vulnerabilities – 2017).
What is Human Trafficking?
Human trafficking is a heinous crime that violates a person’s human rights and traumatises those subjected to it. We should not underestimate its impact. It comes under the umbrella term of “Modern Day Slavery” and is defined by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime as:
“The Act of recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.”
United Nations Office On Drugs and Crime (Link)
Human trafficking therefore happens when human beings are treated as commodities to be bought, sold, controlled and exploited. In basic terms, it involves three elements:
- What – The movement, recruitment, or receipt of persons
- How – by abduction, deception, coercion or threat of force
- Why – for the purpose of exploitation
This exploitation happens in various ways, including:
- Child exploitation
- Sexual exploitation
- Forced labour
- Domestic servitude
- Forced criminal activities
- Forced marriage
- Organ harvesting