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According to the United Nationals Office on Drugs and Crime, trafficking in persons is the ‘acquisition of people by improper means such as force, fraud or deception with the aim of exploitation.’ This can therefore include people being forced into sex, prostitution, drugs and violence, as well as forced labour and slavery. They also usually have their identity and documents removed from them.

It is estimated that 21 million people are victims of trafficking around the world, and one third of this figure consists of children.

The UN Describes human trafficking as ‘a serious crime and a grave violation of human rights’. In 2000, the UN General Assembly adopted the Trafficking in Persons Protocol. This protocol supports a comprehensive approach to punish the traffickers and protect victims with full respect for their human rights.

However, despite many countries implementing laws compatible with the UN Trafficking in Persons Protocol, human trafficking continues to be an issue internationally, as victims are criminalized and traffickers prevail.

This year, the UNODC is using this day to focus on the importance of Government Intervention, as well as to highlight that ‘special attention should be devoted to identifying victims and strengthening domestic frameworks for victim protection’.

There are a variety of factors to consider when determining if you, or someone else, is a victim of trafficking:

  • Physical warning signs, which can include evidence of physical abuse, tattoos (bar codes can indicate a person being traded) and inappropriate clothing;
  • Behavioral red flags, which can include anxious behavior and the outward effects of drug and alcohol.

If you suspect human trafficking you must report this to the Police. You can also report it to Crimestoppers.

There is the Modern Day Slavery Foundation’s helpline who can be contacted 24 hours a day on 0800 0121 700.

If you believe a child is in danger of or is being trafficked then you can contact the NSPCC’s helpline on 0808 8005 000.

After alerting the relevant authorities victims of human trafficking may wish to seek help and advice from a Solicitor particularly, if they are at risk from the people or person that was trafficking them.

What can we do?

At Ramsdens our Family department can offer advice in relation to Forced Marriage (people may be trafficked for the purposes of being forced to marry) and domestic violence. We offer advice on all areas of law such as divorce, separation and children matters.

As mentioned above, people that are being trafficked can be subjected to violence. At Ramsdens our Abuse team also advise and fully support survivors of such violence whether that be physical or sexual in proceeding with a civil claim for damages either via the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority or against the perpetrator or any affiliated organisation or public authority which may have failed them. We work closely with the survivor supporting from reporting to the Police to rehabilitation.

If any issues in this article have affected you or someone you know, please contact our Ramsdens offices on 01484 821 500 and we can direct you to the correct department. We have a number of offices across Yorkshire and we also offer early morning and late evening appointments.