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Updated 09/08/2017

It is estimated by the Global Slavery Index  that 45.8 million people were living in some form of slavery in 2016, of which there may be around 11,700 in the UK. While slavery is illegal throughout the world it still exists in the form of forced labour of children and adults; bonded labour (work in order to repay a debt); sexual exploitation; and forced marriage. While drugs can be sold once, human beings can be sold again and again.
In the developed world most people end up in slavery through human trafficking.

What is Human Trafficking?

Human trafficking is the movement of people by deception, coercion or violence, in order to exploit them. It involves 3 elements:

What is done: recruiting, transporting, harbouring and receiving people

How it is done: using threats or the use of force, coercion, abduction, fraud or deception, abuse of power, payment etc.

Why it is done: in order to exploit people: Including sexual exploitation, forced labour, domestic servitude, other forms of slavery, removal of organs, controlling people so that they will perform criminal acts etc.

This is the internationally recognised definition of human trafficking:  

‘Trafficking in persons shall mean the 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 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 of another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or removal of organs.’

To read more about the situation in the UK and Northern Ireland click here. 

What can you do?

Find out as much as you can so that you can spot the signs and act to help trafficked people.