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Legal lounge: human trafficking

May 20 2009
What are the rights of people who have been trafficked into the UK? Human trafficking - The law and your rights
Information supplied by the College of Law pro bono unit. People trafficking is the movement of people through force, fraud, deception, or some other means, with the aim of exploitation. Many of those who end up in the UK originated from Eastern European countries, such as Lithuania, Russia, Albania and Ukraine. Others come from the Far East, South America, and Africa.

People can be trafficked for sexual or non-sexual reasons, and often have their passport and papers removed on entry to the UK, restricting their movements out of the country. Many of the people trafficked into the UK are told they will be working as waitresses, cleaners or child carers. This is not the reality. Many people are trafficked into the UK sex industry, whilst others are forced into domestic slavery, housebound and receiving little or no money for their work. Traffickers control the freedom of their victims by threatening them and their families with violence to stop them escaping. The law on people trafficking is developing as the problem gets bigger across the world. In the UK, the law on people trafficking comes from domestic, European Union and International law.

There are severe penalties for Traffickers: A person trafficking into the UK for sexual exploitation may receive a maximum prison sentence of 14 years. A person arranging or assisting the arrival of a person in the UK, for exploitation for any reason, or using money obtained from people trafficking, may receive a maximum prison sentence of 14 years and a fine. If you are a victim of trafficking, contact the Police and cooperate with their questions, they can help you and make sure traffickers receive the punishment that they deserve.

There are many charitable organisations that help victims of trafficking:
Eaves - Provides accommodation for victims of trafficking for prostitution. Tel: 020 7735 2062
- Provides assistance and accommodation for women who have been trafficked for sexual exploitation. Tel: 020 7840 7141
Kalayaan Centre
- Provides advice, advocacy and support services in the UK for migrant domestic workers, who are subject to domestic slavery. Tel: 0207 243 2942
UK Human Trafficking Centre Tel: 0114 252 3891
Assistance is also provided by: refugee legal centres, Immigration Advisory Service, and embassies.