Brexit and UK immigration policy ‘increase risks for victims of trafficking’ | Human trafficking
A damning new report on trafficking in the UK has warned that Brexit and the Home Office’s new immigration plan increase risks for victims of trafficking.
The report also found links between terrorism and trafficking in cases involving British families ending up with ISIS in Syria and an increase in the recruitment of trafficking victims through social media.
The influential Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (Greta), which is one of the 47 countries of the Council of Europe, monitors the implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings. against trafficking in human beings, entered into force in the United Kingdom. in April 2009.
The number of potential victims of trafficking referred to the UK’s National Referral Mechanism (NRM) increased tenfold, from 1,182 in 2012 to 10,627 in 2019. The number of referrals in 2020 was 10,613.
The proportion of male victims referred to the NRM has increased over the years: among possible victims in 2019, 68% (7,224) were men and 32% (3,391) were women. In 2019, possible victims of 125 different nationalities were referred to the NRM. The largest number of referrals were from UK nationals, accounting for 27% of the total, followed by Albania, Vietnam, China and India.
The number of children referred to the NRM increased dramatically from 1,279 in 2016 to 4,946 in 2020, the majority of whom were from the UK and were involved in county gangs.
Labor exploitation continues to be the most common type among adults. Sectors considered high risk include the clothing industry, construction, hospitality, domestic work, car washes, nail bars, waste management, logistics and warehousing.
There has been a growing trend to use social media and online platforms to recruit victims; in sex trafficking, there has been a shift towards the use of online platforms. Traffickers can move victims quickly between residential properties – “pop-up brothels” and vacation rental properties.
The report urges the UK authorities to take further steps to improve the identification of victims of trafficking and to ensure that victims, especially children, receive legal assistance during the identification process. He also called on the UK to redouble its efforts to ensure effective access to compensation for victims.
The report welcomes efforts to establish specialized bodies to combat trafficking, the UK government’s active participation in international cooperation to combat trafficking and its commitment to prevent and eradicate human trafficking in businesses and supply chains, including in the public sector.
The authors of the report fear that the Home Ministry’s new immigration plan may increase the vulnerability of victims of trafficking who are undocumented migrants, as they may be reluctant to approach authorities for fear. to be prosecuted for immigration-related offenses.
The report cites cases of potential victims of trafficking recruited in the UK to join a terrorist organization abroad and says the government should ensure that victims of trafficking are identified as such and receive support and assistance.
A report by the NGO Reprieve documents the circumstances under which many British families currently detained in north-eastern Syria were recruited from the UK and potentially trafficked to territories controlled by ISIS.
The Greta report states that “Brexit has increased the risk of exploitation for EU workers” and warns that victims of slavery may have difficulty claiming the EU’s settlement agenda.
He adds: “Frontline and migrant organizations have noted that the offense of illegal work, which is part of the UK’s hostile environment for undocumented migrants, acts as a major driver of exploitation and a obstacle to justice.
A spokesperson for the Interior Ministry said: “Modern slavery and human trafficking have absolutely no place in our society and we remain determined to fight these heinous crimes. The UK has been a world leader in protecting the victims of modern slavery and we continue to identify and support those who have suffered intolerable abuse by criminals and traffickers.