2014 Trafficking Statistics for UK


The National Crime Agency has just released statistics for victim recoveries through the NRM in the UK from January to December 2014. 

The National Referral Mechanism is the process through which potential victims of human trafficking in the UK are identified. These are the numbers reflected below. 

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The report breaks down the statistics in terms of type of exploitation (see below for NI.) It’s interesting to note the increase in cases of labour exploitation – this does not mean that labour exploitation is necessarily more common than sexual exploitation in Northern Ireland, but is simply more common amongst the cases the PSNI worked on in 2014. It’s worth remembering this when we talk about trafficking: sexual exploitation is not the only form and indeed, if we neglect other forms, we do victims of those forms a disservice.

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The report also highlights the victims’ countries of origin. Romania and China are the most common in NI, but take note of the wide variety of nationalities and the case of exploitation of a UK national. Human trafficking happens within, out of, and into countries across the globe.

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The NRM statistics only reflect a small part of the wider picture. The UK-wide Strategic Baseline Assessment would propose that approximately half of the identified victims in the UK go through the NRM for various reasons; which would suggest just under 100 recoveries in NI in 2014. 

Across the UK, the numbers are significantly lower than what it is felt they should be. The NRM process has been reviewed in the hope that it will facilitate first responders and victims when they use it. The discrepancy between these numbers and what the Home Office suggests is a more realistic picture (10-13,000 victims each year) is concerning and means that the UK’s ability to identify human trafficking and address it appropriately needs strengthened. 

Practically this means that:

  • Key frontline professionals must be trained and equipped regularly. 
  • No More Traffik addresses this need through delivering training to Border Force, medical and legal staff, workers in the community context and other networks.
  • Individuals and communities must be vigilant and able to report signs of trafficking. 
  • The 8 community groups that are a part of the No More Traffik family campaign locally and raise awareness amongst their communities to strengthen this response. Join one here.
  • The intelligence gathered from those communities must be organised appropriately. 
  • The Anti-Slavery Commissioner spoke yesterday of arrangements being made with call-handlers and Crimestoppers who receive anonymous information.
  • Law enforcement must be fresh in their knowledge and enabled to respond to intelligence.
  • We commend the work of the PSNI in addressing human trafficking so far – the numbers have been increasing each year. However, we want to see the numbers continue to increase – we will continue to train the PSNI new recruits with the Service’s Organised Crime Branch.

We’d love for you to watch this video to help you spot the signs of human trafficking – and share it with your circle of influence. Please be vigilant, and please report. Let’s aim for an increase in our numbers in 2015.