Human Trafficking is a complex and varied crime and its victims are exploited in numerous forms.
Victims of trafficking are often subjected to debt bondage. A trafficker may assist the victim in arranging travel, finding employment and accommodation and then require him or her to “work off” the debt owed for the services provided.
Typically, the individual is tricked into accepting terms which are exploitive in nature, as the combination of unlawfully low wages and unlawfully high interest rates create a situation of increasing debt that make it virtually impossible to ever earn back the amount purportedly owed to the trafficker. Even if the victims sense that debt-bondage is unjust, it is difficult for them to find help: language, social, and physical barriers often keep them from obtaining assistance.
Trafficked individuals are prevented from escaping their situation through debt bondage as well as retention of travel documents, violence and threats of violence against themselves or their families.
Trafficking for sexual exploitation involves the use of violence, deception or coercion to force an individual into prostitution in off-street brothels or to do other related work, such as working in a strip club. The vast majority of its victims are female. However, some men and boys are also exploited in this manner.
Also known as involuntary servitude, forced labour is any work or services which people are forced to do against their will under the threat of some form punishment. Many people trafficked into the UK - particularly boys and men – are forced to carry out backbreaking work on farms or in factories for little or no pay. Forced labour is most frequently found in labour intensive, low pay and/or under-regulated industries, such as: agriculture, contruction, fishing and manufacturing.
Domestic workers have been particularly vulnerable to exploitation from employers. They work alone and are reliant on their employer for their work and accommodation. If the employer does not respect their rights, migrant domestic workers have little bargaining power and can find themselves trapped in this invisible form of slavery. Cases of domestic servitude in the UK include both adults and children, normally migrants, who are forced to work long hours cooking, cleaning and doing other domestic chores.
Forced Criminal Activity
Victims of trafficking, both adults and children, are trafficked and forced to commit a wide range of criminal offences. Some of the most common crimes include cannabis cultivation, ATM theft and benefit fraud and forced begging.
This may occur where traffickers force or deceive victims to donate an organ. Alternatively, victims may agree to sell an organ but then are not paid in accordance with that agreement.