Last Updated: Monday, 30 May 2016, 14:07 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - United Kingdom

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 12 June 2007
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - United Kingdom, 12 June 2007, available at: [accessed 30 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

United Kingdom (Tier 1)

The United Kingdom (U. K. ) is primarily a destination country for women, children and men trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Some victims, however, are also trafficked within the country. The majority of victims are women trafficked internationally to the U. K. for sexual exploitation, though children are also trafficked to the U. K. for the same purpose. Migrant workers are trafficked to the U. K. for forced labor in agriculture, construction, food processing, domestic servitude, restaurants and possibly for illicit activities such as street theft. Children, particularly from West Africa, are also trafficked to the U. K. for forced labor in cannabis factories and Afghan minors may be trafficked for forced manual labor. Main sources of foreign trafficking victims found in the U. K. are Lithuania, Russia, Albania, Ukraine, Malaysia, Thailand, the People's Republic of China, East and Central Africa, Nigeria, and Ghana.

The Government of the United Kingdom fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. Over the last year, U. K. authorities launched aggressive anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts and sustained significant measures to identify and provide specialized care to adult female sex trafficking victims. To strengthen its response to trafficking, the U. K. should rely more on its specific anti-trafficking laws and less on related laws to prosecute traffickers, and provide systematic and specialized care for child trafficking victims.


The U. K. government demonstrated strong efforts to combat trafficking through law enforcement in the last year. The U. K. prohibits all forms of trafficking through its 2004 Sexual Offenses Act and its 2004 Asylum and Immigration Act. Under these laws, any form of trafficking carries a sufficiently stringent maximum penalty of 14 years, although the punishment for sex trafficking is less severe than that prescribed for rape. In 2006, U. K. authorities prosecuted 109 individuals for trafficking offenses, 28 of whom were convicted and nine of whom were acquitted. The remaining 75 prosecutions are ongoing. Of the 28, 23 received prison sentences of four years or greater, while two traffickers received less severe sentences of 27 and 30 months, two received a caution, and one received an undisclosed sentence for managing a brothel. Although the government is developing best practices for enforcing its specific anti-trafficking laws, many trafficking cases are prosecuted using non-trafficking statutes, making accurate law enforcement data difficult to obtain. From March to May 2006, the government carried out Operation Pentameter, deploying 55 police units to conduct 515 raids of off-street prostitution sites in the UK. Police arrested 232 individuals, of whom 134 have been charged with sex trafficking or related crimes. In April 2006, the government established the Serious and Organized Crime Agency (SOCA) dedicated to dismantling organized crime, including trafficking. In October 2006, the government launched the U. K. Human Trafficking Center (UKHTC), an entity under the Association of Chief Police Officers that will share trafficking intelligence with SOCA and develop training modules to help attorneys to more effectively prosecute traffickers.


The government demonstrated solid efforts to provide care for adult women trafficked for sexual exploitation. It continued to encourage these victims to assist in trafficking investigations and prosecutions by funding two NGOs to provide rehabilitation services to victims who choose to assist law enforcement officials. During the year, the government provided care to 169 adult sex trafficking victims trafficking into the U. K. Through Operation Pentameter, police rescued 84 women and children trafficked for sexual exploitation. The government created a position within the UKHTC for a victim care coordinator who will develop best practices for first responders dealing with trafficking victims. NGOs published reports critical of the government's lack of systematic and specialized assistance for child trafficking victims. The government places child victims in the care of general social services, such as foster care. The U. K. government did not provide systematic and specialized victim care for adult victims of labor trafficking. The U. K. provides foreign victims with some legal alternatives to their removal to countries where they face hardship or retribution. By filing asylum, humanitarian protection or extraordinary relief claims on a case-by-case basis, such victims may obtain residency. Victims are not inappropriately incarcerated, fined, or penalized for unlawful acts as a direct result of being trafficked.


The Government of the United Kingdom continued strong efforts to educate the public about trafficking during the reporting period. As 2007 marks the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade in the former British Empire, the government has used this anniversary to raise awareness of modern forms of slavery as well. For example, a U. K. official gave a speech in Romania – a source country for victims trafficked to the U. K. – drawing a parallel between slavery and trafficking. He also made similar remarks in a speech to Parliament in April 2006. The government has put up anti-trafficking posters targeting brothel patrons, such as one captioned "male friend or trafficker?" The government is in the process of finalizing its draft national action plan to combat trafficking and has made an electronic version available for public viewing.

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