Care and Support for Adult Victims of Trafficking in Human Beings: A Review

A Review examining the care and support needs of victims of human trafficking and what works to meet those needs, including a consideration of Scottish provision.

1 We are very grateful to respondents from TARA, Migrant Help, SCDEA and Legal Services Agency for their contributions to this review.

2 Since the inception of the National Referral Mechanism (NRM), victims from over 80 different countries have been referred.

3 Although international Directives prioritise the needs of children, this review was commissioned to focus specifically on the needs of adult victims of trafficking.

4 UKBA (Scotland) and the Scottish Refugee Council did not respond to requests for information.

5 See Annex Two - for questions that may ascertain status of victim.

6 Operation Pentameter 1 focused on sexual exploitation, Pentameter 2 on sex trafficking and forced labour.

7 “Internal trafficking generally flows from rural to urban or tourist centres within a given country, while trafficking across international borders generally flows from developing to developed nations” (Ribando Seelke 2010:3).

8 Indeed, the victims of human trafficking should be entitled to protection and right to remedies under UN Resolution (60/147) Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law.

9 Access to education for adults, along with training and employment opportunities are also important.

10 Thus the Convention differs from the Trafficking Protocol which applies to certain offences of a transnational nature and involves an organised criminal group.

11 Although there is very little guidance on what is meant in terms of quantity or quality of compensation.

12 Victims who have escaped with nothing other than the clothes they were wearing may also commit ‘survival’ crimes such as petty theft before coming to the attention of the authorities.

13 Prevention is thought of as “discouraging demand” however this concept generally refers to the sex industry rather than labour or domestic servitude. In the latter two cases, reducing the demand for labour and domestic labour is unlikely.

14 Recent developments aimed at bringing practice in the UK into line with the EU Directive includes: Human Trafficking: The Government’s Strategy (HM Government, 2011) and the introduction of a Bill which is currently going through the House of Lords (at Second Stage) with a focus on the provision of care and support for victims of trafficking (Human Trafficking (Further Provisions and Support for Victims) Bill [HL]).

15 Subsequent updates have been produced: Home Office and Scottish Government (2008) Update to Action Plan on Tackling Human Trafficking; Home Office and Scottish Government (2009) Update to Action Plan on Tackling Human Trafficking.

16 The Special Representative Report (2012) referred to the importance of a human-rights approach alongside a crime-fighting approach. A victim-centred approach, she argued, would complement and improve the criminal justice response, an argument that was challenged by the Home Office in response to the Report (see Special Representative, 2012: Appendix 1).

17 Difficulties in the production and interpretation of NRM data is evident. The report by the Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings (Special Representative, 2012) highlighted concerns that during the first two years of operation of the NRM (1 April 2009 to 31 March 2011) out of 954 referrals, positive conclusive grounds decisions totalled 331 (less than 35%) out of which 45 related to UK nationals. In response, Justine Currell of the Home Office challenged these figures stating that during this period (1 April 2009 to 31 March 2011) there were 1481 referrals to the NRM. Of these, 1345 reasonable grounds decisions had been made by 31 March 2011 and 895 (67%) were positive. Of the 895 cases that had proceeded to the conclusive grounds stage, a decision was reached in 711 cases by 31 March, of which 497 (70%) were positive. Currell also notes that the largest number of cases referred by a single First Responder was from UK Border Agency staff (48%) while those from the police amounted to 26% (Special Representative, Annex, 13).

18 Responses to trafficking in Scotland are informed by European and UK policies. Asylum and immigration issues and some preventative aspects of trafficking are a reserved responsibility under the Home Office. The Scottish Government has direct responsibility for certain areas such as justice and prevention and detection of trafficking through the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency (SCDEA)

19 Although see Easton and Matthews (2012) for awareness of trafficking identified as part of ongoing work on indoor sex industry in Aberdeen.

20 For instance, people being located in cannabis farms. There is guidance in England and Wales that looks at non punishment in respect of young people located in cannabis farms: ACPO Lead’s on Child Protection and Cannabis Cultivation on Children and Young People Recovered in Cannabis Farms. At present this does not exist in Scotland. Without it, and appropriate training to support this, potential victims of trafficking may not be accessing appropriate support and protection.

21 Asociación de Salud Integral, Guatemala City, Guatemala 2008


Email: Debbie Headrick

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