Human trafficking

Human trafficking is a serious crime that can affect anyone, of any age, gender or nationality. It involves the possession of people by improper means, such as force, threat or deception to exploit them. It is the illegal movement of a person into or through a country. More recently, the term modern slavery has been introduced as an umbrella term to include the offences of humna trafficking and slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour.

Examples of human trafficking and slavery

Adults and children can be trafficked or enslaved and forced to sell their bodies for sex. People are also trafficked or enslaved for labour exploitation, for example:

  • to work on a farm or factory
  • to work in a house as a servant, maid or nanny
  • to beg on the street  

Where children have been trafficked and exploited this is an offence, even if no force or threats have been used and the child has given consent.

Signs to look out for

Victims of trafficking or slavery can be found in a variety of situations. Below are just some of the indicators that someone may have been trafficked.

General signs

People who have been trafficked or enslaved may believe that they must work against their will. They might receive little or no payment and be unable to leave their work environment. Trafficked and enslaved victims may be subjected to violence or threats of violence against themselves or others, and they may not be in possession of their passport or other documents.

Children

Children who have been trafficked or enslaved may have no access to their parents or guardians. They may look frightened and behave in a way that is not normal for children of their age. They may have no access to education and might travel in groups with people who are not relatives.

Sexual exploitation

People who have been trafficked or enslaved for sexual exploitation may move from one brothel to the next, or work in various locations. They might live or travel in a group, sometimes with others who do not speak the same language.

Evidence that someone has had unprotected and/ or violent sex, or that they cannot refuse unprotected and/ or violent sex, may also be an indicator that they have been trafficked or enslaved for sexual exploitation.

Labour exploitation

People who have been trafficked or enslaved for labour exploitation may live in groups in the same place where they work and leave those premises infrequently, if at all. They might not be dressed adequately for the work they do, have no labour contract, work excessively long hours, or lack basic training and professional licences. They might also be subjected to insults, abuse, threats or violence.

These are just some of the signs that someone may have been trafficked or enslaved.  

More information is available from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Spot the signs video

The video below 'No more traffick' has useful information on how to spot the signs of trafficking or slavery:

What to do if you suspect someone has been trafficked or enslaved?

If you suspect that someone has been trafficked or enslaved:

  • call 999 in case of an emergency  
  • call 101 about the general situation
  • call 0800 0121 700 for the Modern Slavery Helpline

Education resource pack 

An education resource pack on human trafficking has been produced for teachers of year 10 and Key Stage 4. You can find the education resource pack at the following link:

Help available for victims of human trafficking and slavery

There may be some people in Northern Ireland who are not aware that they are victims of human trafficking or slavery. Learn more about the signs, rights and what help is available. You are entitled to have your human rights respected.

 

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