Following the signature of the Council of Europe convention on 23 March, we are now beginning to develop details on how implementation will be taken forward.
It will inevitably take some time to move from signature to ratification of the convention. Unlike some of our Council of Europe colleagues the UK will not ratify the convention until all changes to domestic legislation, processes and guidance are in place to ensure that we fully comply with its terms. Officials are currently investigating what changes will be required particularly in relation to Articles 4, 10, 12, 13 and 14 of the convention.
The United Kingdom Human Trafficking Centre (UKHTC) currently has 17 full-time staff including staff from the police, Immigration and Nationality Directorate, Crown Prosecution Service and the Serious Organised Crime Agency. The staffing level will rise to 17.5 posts later this month with the arrival of a senior social worker.
In addition to the full-time UKHTC staff, partner organisations such as the Child Exploitation Online Protection Agency and the Revenue and Customs department (HMRC) are embedding relevant key work into their work streams. A member of HMRC now sits on the UKHTC senior management team.
ACPO will be responsible for a budget of over £5 million, used to fund the organisation and its planned growth, and pump-priming anti trafficking activity among local forces.