Immigration Minister Damian Green has launched a new strategy focusing on supporting victims of human trafficking, alongside better intelligence and enforcement activity to disrupt organised criminal networks.
The new strategy includes a review of the current legislation to ensure that traffickers receive appropriate penalties for their crimes and a targeted focus on the countries that are a major source of trafficking and raising of awareness among potential victims.
It also extends the use of current powers to seize the profits of traffickers and make it less attractive in addition to establishing closer relationships with overseas law enforcement agencies to carry out joint operations across borders.
The new National Crime Agency (NCA), on its establishment in 2013, will build on and enhance these capabilities to crack down on organised trafficking gangs.
“We are sending a message that the UK is not a soft touch for traffickers,” Mr. Green said. “We will pursue and disrupt trafficking networks overseas wherever possible to stop them before they ply their trade in the UK and then bring them to justice. These measures along with improved victim care arrangements will ensure that all victims – adults and children – receive care tailored to their specific needs.”
The strategy strengthens the support for adult victims of trafficking. The Salvation Army will be providing a service tailored to their needs as part of a £2 million a year allocation. The strategy also contains a specific section on the protection of child victims of trafficking building the role of Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP).
“Child trafficking is a terrible crime and can have devastating consequences for those affected,” Peter Davies, chief executive of the CEOP, said. “This commitment to enhance the coordinated efforts of law enforcement, government and the wider child protection community is a major step forward, as we all strive to improve the level of support to vulnerable and frightened child victims.”