Trafficking is the movement of people by force, deception or coercion for the purpose of exploitation. Trafficking is a growing phenomenon and EEA nationals who find themselves homeless and using day services and soup runs are being targeted. When engaging with EEA nationals ensure that your assessment process is sensitive to spotting the signs that someone may have been, or is at risk of, being trafficked.
Homeless Link has produced a detailed guidance on Trafficking and Forced Labour for homelessness organisations:
Indicators of trafficking (taken from Homeless Link Guidance)
In your assessment, it is important to look for the following indicators:
- Does the individual display low self-esteem and reticence? Can you see any signs of psychological trauma?
- Does the person show signs of abuse (mental, physical or emotional)? Do they have injuries that could indicate physical control / restraint?
- Does the person display fear or mistrust of services? Are they scared of coming into contact with authorities?
- Does the person act as if they have been instructed by someone else? Are they reluctant to travel or move to a different locality?
- Is the person in possession of their ID or legal documents? If not, are they being held by someone else?
- Is money deducted from the person’s salary? Do they talk about having to work to pay off debts, or working but not receiving any pay?
- Is the person in need of medical care? This may have been prevented by their traffickers.
- Have there been threats against the individual or their family members?
- Does the individual tell a confusing story about their whereabouts or how they travelled to the UK?
- Is there evidence to suggest that the individual has been deceived or coerced? Do they have an inaccurate understanding of immigration, employment or benefits rights?
- Is the individual dependent on one person to meet more than one of their needs e.g. food, clothing, housing, work, alcohol?
Responding to trafficking and forced labour
Once you have identified that someone may be a victim of trafficking it is important to explain the options that are available to them. There is a National Referral Mechanism for support that agencies will generally refer in to via their local police. It is also important to recognise that not all victims are ready to report their experiences to the police. The Homeless Link Guidance provides detailed information on reporting arrangements.
- If someone is in immediate danger call 999
- If you are suspicious about something you have seen or heard about: Call your local police 101
- Modern Slavery Helpline 0800 0121 700
- For advice and information on any trafficking matter call UK Human Trafficking Centre: 0844 7782406
- For victim support: Call Salvation Army 0300 303 8151 (24/7 helpline)
- For victims to report: Police Trafficking Helpline 0800 783 2589
- For anonymous reporting: Call Crimestoppers 0800 555 111
There are a range of resources including posters and leaflets in key languages that can be found here: http://www.homeless.org.uk/our-work/resources/trafficking-and-forced-labour