2013 | Rachel Annison

This report looks at how the UK’s criminal justice system deals with the crime of trafficking in human beings. It demonstrates that there is still much to be done to ensure the prosecution and conviction of traffickers as well as the protection of victims.

People who are trafficked sometimes commit offences. They may well be trafficked and forced to carry out illegal activities, such as cannabis cultivation, street begging or pick-pocketing. Many may also be committing immigration offences as part of their trafficking ordeal. However, it is crucial to remember that they do not commit these offences of their own free will. They commit them because they are in the thrall of their traffickers. Unfortunately the UK’s prosecution system all too often fails to recognise who are real victims and who are offenders. This is a sad reflection of the lack of understanding throughout the criminal justice system of what trafficking is, and how it affects those who are trafficked.