CARE: Christian Action, Research and Education

Human Trafficking
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Human trafficking, modern day slavery and exploitation in the commercial sex industry are some of the grossest violations of human dignity. As Christians, God calls us to bring freedom and restoration to those who are oppressed and ill-treated as a sign of our commitment to Him.

CARE believes that every person is made in the image of God and that human trafficking is a violation of that fundamental truth. CARE has been working since 2006 for change through advocacy within the UK Parliaments and Assemblies and in Europe.

Reducing modern slavery starts with putting the needs of victims first. Join us in working to tackle demand for human trafficking, advocating for a longer period of support for victims, and for improved victim care – particularly for children.

Topic primer

Human trafficking involves recruiting, transporting or holding a person by use of threats, coercion or deception in order to exploit them. Essentially, it is the oppression and abuse of people motivated by financial or personal gain. It is often described as a form of modern-day slavery.

Trafficking happens in all parts of the world, both across international borders and within countries. Because trafficking is, by nature, a hidden and secretive crime, it is hard to know precisely how many people are affected. However, research shows there are now more people enslaved around the world than in all the 400 years of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. An estimated 40 million people are in modern day slavery worldwide. Trafficking for sexual exploitation is the most common globally with 54 per cent of all identified victims. Forced labour and domestic servitude is the second most prevalent, accounting for 38 per cent victims.

Each year about 5,000 men, women and children are identified as possible victims of trafficking in the UK, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are thought to be 10,000 – 13,000 victims of modern slavery in the UK. A 2018 estimate by the Walk Free Foundation suggests there may be ten times that number: 136,000 people hidden in modern slavery in the UK.

Over 5,000 referrals were made to the UK authorities in 2017, where people were identified as potential victims of trafficking. This is an increase of one third from 2016 and includes individuals from 116 countries and over 2,000 children. 34% of these people referred were in sexual exploitation and 46% were in labour exploitation.

The UK is also among the top 10 ‘source’ countries for trafficking victims in our own country. In particular, British children are being trafficked by organised groups. They groom them, developing relationships, often plying them with gifts, alcohol and drugs, before forcing them into prostitution or to sell drugs in towns across the country (so-called “county lines” activity). British men are also being trafficked within the UK for exploitative labour.

Victims of trafficking are often tricked into coming to the UK by false promises or because of threats against them or their family. People are trafficked into prostitution, pornography, agricultural and building labour, manufacturing, domestic servitude, forced begging, benefit fraud, petty criminality and organ removal. They are forced to work for little or no pay; they may have limited freedom and poor living conditions. Many experience physical or emotional abuse.

When someone escapes from slavery, they need somewhere safe to say, medical treatment, mental health support, legal advice, education and support to rebuild their life.

Unlike victims of modern slavery in Northern Ireland and Scotland, the law in England and Wales does not currently give victims a right to support. This has left many victims of modern slavery homeless, destitute and at risk of being retrafficked.

CARE is working to ensure that our current laws on human trafficking are implemented effectively and we are continuing to call for further action where we believe it is needed.

Find out more about what CARE is doing to fight human trafficking.

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There is more to read from CARE's perspective

Kevin Bales
Slavery is not a hor­ror safely con­fined to the past; it con­tin­ues to exist through­out the world, even in developed countries…Across the world slaves work and sweat and build and suffer.
Kevin Bales Professor of Contemporary Slavery, University of Nottingham
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Join us in helping modern slavery victims live free for good.

When someone escapes from slavery, they need somewhere safe to say, medical treatment, mental health support, legal advice, education and support to rebuild their life.

Unlike victims of modern slavery in Northern Ireland and Scotland, the law in England and Wales does not currently give victims a right to support. This has left many victims of modern slavery homeless, destitute and at risk of being re-trafficked.

CARE has joined leading anti-trafficking charities and businesses to form the Free for Good campaign, which backs the Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill. This Bill will give all victims at least 12 months of support in law.

Reducing modern slavery starts with putting the needs of victims first.

Join us in helping victims live free for good.

Support the Bill

Recent human trafficking news

Trafficking 4

Hundreds of trafficked children fall off Home Office systems

New data has revealed that in 2022, 1,871 children identified as potential victims of human trafficking or modern slavery dropped off the support system set up by the UK government system after they turned 18.

Read article
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Asylum seeker given £3,000 to relocate to Rwanda

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British boys at greater risk of modern slavery, report finds

Rishi

Budget cuts reveal that Modern Slavery is ‘less of a priority’ for govt.

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Rwanda plan threat to modern slavery victims

Opinion

Resources

Here are a range of resources to help you dig deeper on the issue of human trafficking.

‘I was freed from modern slavery. Now I work tirelessly to save others’

I was freed from mod­ern slavery. Now I work tire­lessly to save others’

The inspiring story of Analiza Guevarra.

A Filipino woman who escaped modern slavery now spends her time fighting to free others through an organisation operating out of a south London church. Read more about her story.

Read more
Women in the shadows

Women in the shadows

The Clewer Initiative have released a series of hard-hitting video's which show the reality of human trafficking and modern slavery here in the UK.

Watch more
Ope: 'I was trafficked into UK prostitution'

Ope: I was traf­ficked into UK prostitution’

28-year-old Ope was brought from Nigeria to Coventry to work as a prostitute. Figures from the National Crime Agency show nearly 800 women and girls working in the sex trade were identified as trafficking victims in 2014, with many of those coming from West Africa. Ope told her story to the Victoria Derbyshire Programme. Her name and some have been changed for her own protection.

Watch
BBC Scotland Investigates 2017 Humans for Sale

BBC Scot­land Invest­ig­ates 2017 Humans for Sale

BBC Scotland produced the hard hitting investigation into "Humans for Sale" in 2017.

Watch
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If you suspect an instance of trafficking in your area

If you suspect an instance of trafficking in your area you can contact:

• the Police (101 or 999 if someone is in immediate danger)

• the National Modern Slavery Helpline (0800 0121 700 modernslaveryhelpline.org)

• Crimestoppers (0800 555 111crimestoppers-uk.org) where you can leave information anonymously

Do not confront a suspected trafficker or victim of trafficking. Your safety and that of any possible victims is of primary importance.

Contact the modern slavery helpline
Take action

You can make a difference today.

Together we can make a difference shaping our culture and society. Here are three things you can do right now…

Pray.

We believe God cares deeply about those who are vulnerable and exploited. Join us in praying for victims to be properly supported and for perpetrators to be brought to justice.

Pray now

Write.

Ask your MP to support key amendment to the Nationality and Borders Bill to give confirmed modern slavery victims at least 12 months support

Write now

Raise awareness.

Hold a Human Trafficking Sunday at your church

Raise awareness now