Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 May 2016, 11:51 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2003 Trafficking in Persons Report - United Kingdom

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 11 June 2003
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2003 Trafficking in Persons Report - United Kingdom, 11 June 2003, available at: [accessed 25 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 is primarily a country of destination for internationally trafficked women from Eastern Europe, particularly Albania, Kosovo, Romania, Bulgaria, Lithuania, and Russia. Some also come from East Asia, especially Thailand and China, and from West Africa, particularly Nigeria, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. The trafficked population includes children and men. While women are trafficked primarily into sexual exploitation and domestic servitude, trafficking of laborers, predominantly male, into agriculture, sweatshops, and industry also occurs. The United Kingdom also may play a minor role as a transit country to other western European countries.

The Government of the United Kingdom fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The government's efforts were particularly strong with regard to strengthening cooperation between police and prosecutors both domestically and internationally, and in supporting preventive programs in source countries and regions. In order to fully assess law enforcement strategies and mechanisms, this report must consider statistics on trafficking-related offenses and prosecutions. While such information was unavailable, new legislation establishing trafficking-related offenses will hopefully provide information in the coming year.


The government focused on prevention and reduction both at the national and EU levels. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development conducted preventive campaigns in countries of origin, including disseminating anti-trafficking materials in Southeastern Europe. The Department for International Development has contributed funding to a project by the International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor to combat the trafficking of children within the Mekong sub-region of Southeast Asia. The government supports multinational and international efforts to prevent trafficking, in particular, EU, UN, OSCE and Stability Pact initiatives. It also worked closely with various NGOs to produce an awareness raising toolkit on trafficking. The government adequately monitors its borders.


There is no law specifically prohibiting all forms of trafficking in persons, but many human trafficking offenses are punishable under existing laws. The Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act of 2002 was changed to establish an offense of trafficking for prostitution that carries a maximum penalty of 14 years. New offenses related to human trafficking are in recently introduced legislation on sexual offenses. Strengthening the operational and legal fight against human trafficking is one of the government's priorities for the European Commission five-year (2003-07) funding program in the area of police and judicial cooperation. Task Force Reflex, a U.K. law enforcement initiative, coordinates all agencies involved in combating trafficking and migrant smuggling. With the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act of 2002 only in effect since November 2002, numbers of trafficking-related prosecutions under this act were not yet reported, but public reports in the press highlighted a number of trafficking investigations and arrests. The Crown Prosecution Service works closely with the police at home, appoints prosecutors as liaison magistrates abroad, and works increasingly with Eurojust (an initiative of the EU Justice and Home Affairs Council) to combat serious cross-border crime, including trafficking in persons. Prosecutors provide advice to police at the investigation stage, and joint police-prosecutorial criminal justice units were established in 46 towns, with some 85 more to come. As an effort to combat transnational crime, including trafficking in persons, the government provided liaison magistrates in Spain, Italy and France.


The government assists victims with a full range of social and health care services, and temporary residence is available on an individual basis. It provides funding to UK and foreign victim-assistance NGOs. The government established a pilot project to support victims of trafficking through cooperation with a specialized domestic violence NGO. Victims who wish to return home or who are not authorized to remain are provided reintegration assistance, including initial counseling, suitable accommodation and support in reintegration into their own community. The police issued standard operating procedures to prevent the intimidation and harassment of witnesses. The Home Office prepared specific guidance for officials who may encounter trafficking to understand the difference between trafficking victims and illegal migrants. Victims are encouraged to assist in investigation and prosecution of trafficking and may file civil suits.

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