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Human trafficking statistics scale new heights in UK

Written on:October 18, 2023
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Human trafficking victims are forced into labour and are sexually exploited

The latest human trafficking statistics reveal that the number of people being trafficked into the UK has been rising, with the latest government estimates revealing that 946 victims were illegally transported into the country in 2011, compared with 710 in 2010.

Two cases of people being trafficked for illegal organ donations were also revealed in the latest human trafficking statistics report but they were traced and stopped before the donations were carried out. One case involved the planned sale of a victim’s kidneys. The inter-departmental ministerial group report also said there had been an increase in the number of children being forced into crime, including street begging.

Detective Inspector Kevin Hyland, of London’s Metropolitan Police, said that some victims travelled to the UK in lorries or containers but the majority arrived lawfully, often accompanied by their traffickers. Hyland said that most of the victims come to the UK in hope of a better life. He also added that it was often “almost impossible” for border guards to spot human trafficking victims because they often did not even know they were being trafficked.

Hyland reveals that most human trafficking victims are lured by job promises in the hotel or leisure industry, or as interpreters, but when they arrive they are “groomed or threatened”. “Once in the UK they are moved on to the exploiters to be used for sexual exploitation or forced labour, or both”, he said.

In London, police deal with more than 100 cases of trafficking a year. Some will involve more than 400 victims but the majority involve about 10 to 15 people.

The inter-departmental ministerial group on human trafficking said that the biggest threat to the UK comes from crime gangs in China, Vietnam, Nigeria and eastern Europe. It has emerged that the largest number of referrals of victims from within Europe involved Romanian nationals.

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