According to Article 3, paragraph (a) of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, (the Palermo Protocol) which supplements the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime:
“Trafficking in persons” shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs;
The UK is primarily a destination country for trafficking. Some people are brought directly to the UK and their exploitation commences only after arrival here, while others are brought to the UK in stages and exploited in transit countries before ultimately arriving in the UK. The majority of trafficked victims in the UK are from Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa and South America.
Hundreds of men, women and children are trafficked each year to the UK. Research carried out for the Home Office estimates that the number of women trafficked into the UK is between 4,000 and 10,000.
The trade in human persons constitutes a shocking offence against human dignity and a grave violation of fundamental human rights. John Paul II
“The 22-year old eastern European woman had come to the UK on the promise of ‘a good job’ in a hotel and an income she could send back to her impoverished grandparents. Instead, in circumstances typical for many trafficked women, she was locked in a basement and told that her family back home would be killed unless she worked as a prostitute, receiving up to 40 clients a day.. This woman had to earn her captors £300 a day to pay off the debt of £20,000 she had allegedly incurred in the journey to Britain. She was subjected to a fine if she refused to have anal or unprotected sex, or if a client did not find her attractive… She was regularly gang raped and beaten to prevent her from escaping.”
“I am from India, a Punjabi girl. My heart was broken by the traffickers. I felt that everyone hated me and I started to hate myself. I felt very weak in my heart. I was in a dark place, lonely, without hope and no love. What hurt me the most was the fact that my own people were my traffickers.
Since my experience, I’ve lost my father’s respect and love, and my sister subsequently died. I feel I have paid a big price for what has happened to me. When I was rescued, I stayed with my family and during those months I did not have any money, not even one pence. I was threatened by them and I started to hate myself again. I decided to take my life one day. But God heard my prayers, I had been crying out to him.
Through other people I came to The Medaille Trust. It has a small name but in this name it held a big meaning for me. It meant at last I had hope. They gave me love and my respect back, and taught me how to respect myself again. They gave me clothes and money, and gave me my life back. To them I need to say thank you, especially to the manager who provided all the lovely staff for me. And also the house staff for all they have done.
God bless them.”