The Department considers a victim of human trafficking to be an individual who has been subjected to the crimes set out in sections 57-60 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 and section 4 of the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants) Act 2004.
However, identifying if someone is a victim of human trafficking is a complex issue. It is a largely an unreported crime and there is also a need to protect against fraudulent claims. The UK is currently in the process of developing a formal identification procedure to help identify if there are reasonable grounds to believe that an individual is a victim of human trafficking. This will follow the internationally recognised definitions of human trafficking as set out in the Palermo protocol.
It is not possible to give a percentage breakdown of trials and investigations which are ongoing throughout the country.
The data provided by the UK Human Trafficking Centre indicate that of the 92 convictions secured for offences of human trafficking for sexual exploitation, 28 have been as a result of operations by the police in the Metropolitan Police Service area. It is not possible to break down the number solely related to the work of the Met’s trafficking unit as operations against this crime often involve officers from the boroughs, the clubs and vice unit as well as from the joint operations involving UKBA staff.
The number of convictions by year is as follows:
Number 2004 1 2005 10 2006 10 2007 1 2008 6
[holding answer 15 December 2008]: The covert nature of crime makes it difficult to make an accurate assessment of the scale of the problem faced by the United Kingdom.
The latest estimate is that at any one time in 2003 there were up to 4,000 women in the UK who were possibly victims of human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation. There is no estimate available at this time on the numbers of possible victims of trafficking for the purpose of forced labour.
The UK Human Trafficking Centre, in conjunction with the Serious Organised Crime Agency and Police Regional Intelligence Units continues work to build a clearer picture of the nature and scale of the threat posed by all forms of trafficking.
It is not possible to give an estimate of the number of trafficking victims rescued solely as a result of the work of the MPS human trafficking team as operations against this crime often involve officers from the boroughs, other forces, the Clubs and Vice Unit as well as from the joint operations involving UKBA staff.