UK’s Appalling Response to Human Trafficking

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In the News:  It Happens Here!  The UK’s Appalling Response to Human Trafficking

By Lazarita Chumpitazi, J.D., LL.M., Graduate Fellow, Human Trafficking Academy

The Center for Social Justice (CSJ) in the United Kingdom has published a report titled “It Happens Here!” describing the lack of efforts and measures against human trafficking in the country.  The CSJ is a non-partisan working group, comprising of prominent academics, practitioners, and policy makers who have expertise in the fields relevant to human trafficking.  They consult with national and international charities, social enterprises, academics, and the like who are well versed in their respective fields.

The 224-page report was written after an 18-month investigation during which a team of experts interviewed hundreds of witnesses.  The investigation found that large numbers of people, including minors, were being used for forced criminality such as benefit fraud, organized begging, forced pick-pocketing, drug cultivation, and sexual exploitation.

The CSJ expresses its shock at the lack of awareness among professionals regarding the subject. Inter alia it states:

The CSJ has been shocked at the low awareness among professionals and has seen that many are not equipped to fulfill their responsibility.  We have encountered unacceptable levels of ignorance and misidentification of victims among police, social services, the UKBA [UK Border Agency], the judicial system and others whose responsibility is to identify victims and ensure they are protected.  This is a grave hindrance to the UK’s response to the victims hidden within its communities and the traffickers who seek to exploit them.

The report outlines more than 80 recommendations, including the appointment of an independent anti-slavery commissioner in order to ensure proper political focus and new legislation to better protect victims.  The authors of this report state that the scale of the problem of human trafficking and the lack of understanding of the issue warrant major changes. A copy of the full report can be found at http://www.centreforsocialjustice.org.uk/UserStorage/pdf/Pdf%20reports/CSJ_Slavery_Full_Report_WEB%285%29.pdf.

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