This report sets out an assessment of human trafficking in the UK by the Inter-Departmental Ministerial Group on Human Trafficking (IDMG), recognising that human trafficking is an international crime that touches people and communities all over the world. The IDMG comprises representatives from the UK Government, the Scottish Government, the Northern Ireland Executive and the Welsh Government. All IDMG members have agreed the content of this report.
Fuelled primarily by those who seek to make a profit from the misery of others, human trafficking is the vilest of crimes and equates to modern day slavery. Men, women and children from across the world are exploited and forced into performing services or other work against their will. In some instances the exploitation can be experienced over a prolonged period of time. Those who are exploited may face years of sexual abuse, forced labour, or domestic servitude and, in many instances never fully recover from their traumatic experience.
A range of socio-economic factors (including poverty, poor education, and poor employment opportunities) mean that some individuals are more susceptible and vulnerable to exploitation. The ease of international travel allows more and more people to move and settle elsewhere: from villages and towns to cities; from one city or region to another; or across international boundaries; either through necessity or for want of a better life. This increased mobility can be positive both economically and socially but it can also open up greater opportunities for vulnerable people to be exploited.