Raising awareness of human trafficking is central to our approach to combating human trafficking. This is an issue that is being led by the UK Human Trafficking Centre through the development of its Blue Blindfold campaign and its work to increase awareness among law enforcement agencies. Any costs associated with this work has been met from within the overall budget of the UKHTC. Additionally, much work has been undertaken to raise awareness within the relevant law enforcement and other agencies which are likely to come into contact with victims of human trafficking. The costs associated with this work have been met from within existing budgets.
In addition to these costs we have spent £136,000 on raising awareness through a project run in conjunction with the International Organisation for Migration in Romania and Bulgaria and on the “Walk in a Punter” poster campaign in Nottingham and London in 2008.
Since 2006 we have invested a total of £4.646 million in the law enforcement response to human trafficking. This includes the doubling of the budget for the UK Human Trafficking Centre from £843,000 to £1.7 million for this year, £1.7 million to the Metropolitan police for Operation Maxim, including their human trafficking team in 2007-08, the fund of £1.678 million this year which is administered by ACPO—the Association of Chief Police Officers—and the £435,000 for the Metropolitan Police Service to assist them in the their effort to mainstream the work of the trafficking into their existing budget.
The Serous Organised Crime Agency receive a total of £400 million in order to combat organised crime including that focused on immigration related matters such as human trafficking. This work is being taken forward through the co-ordination of two inter-agency programmes of activity to reduce such crime at source and key points overseas and to reduce the exploitation of migrants within the UK. Additionally, we provided a total of £60 million under Reflex for time limited projects to tackle organised immigration crime under the 2002 spending review period.
Human trafficking is core police business and as such forces are expected to meet operational costs of undertaking this work from within existing budgets. Historically, we provided a central funding stream to encourage forces to increase their efforts on organised immigration crime, including human trafficking.
It is not possible to disaggregate this funding to give an accurate figure for the amount dedicated to human trafficking work for the period 2004 to 2006.
We have a regular dialogue with a range of interested groups from all sectors and with our partner organisations both nationally and internationally and on 17 December we ratified the Council of Europe convention on action against trafficking in human beings.
Our victim-centred policy on human trafficking is set out in the UK Action Plan and progress on the action points contained within it continues to be overseen by the Inter-Departmental Ministerial Group.