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United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Country Profile

Action Plan on Trafficking in Persons – Smuggling of Migrants

 In March 2007, the UK government launched the first Action Plan on Tackling Human Trafficking. It  included 38 measures in four areas:  

  1. prevention;  

  2. investigation, law enforcement, and prosecution;  

  3. victim protection and assistance;  

  4. Specific measures for child victims of trafficking. 

Pursuant to the Action Plan, tackling human trafficking is an integral part of the tasks of the UK  Border Agency. The Action Plan also referred to the Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Unit  (MSHTU), which created closer links between the immigration services and law enforcement  agencies.  

The UK Government response to modern slavery is structured around the “four Ps” framework  used in the Modern Slavery Strategy since 2014. In 2018, the government published a new strategy  for serious and organized crime, which includes modern slavery and complements the 2014 Modern  Slavery Strategy. 

In 2019, the UK Government created the Independent AntiSlavery Commissioner (IASC). IASC plays an instrumental role  in giving independent advice on modern slavery issues and how  they should be tackled across the UK. 

The Anti-Slavery Commissioner Strategic Plan 2019-2021  has four priorities: 

  • Improving victim care and support 

  • Supporting law enforcement and prosecution  

  • Focusing on prevention  

  • Getting value from research and innovation 

For Further information, please refer to the:  

Related Action Plans  

  • Strategy to End Violence Against Women and Girls, 2016 to 2020: In March 2019, an  updated strategy was published to re-affirm commitments to tackling violence against women  and children. The update provided detail of progress since the 2016 strategy and set out  additional actions to strengthen response through 2020.

Institutional Framework

The Institution/s in charge of identifying VOTs or traffickers in the  field 

First responder organizations that are authorized to refer a potential victim of modern slavery into  the NRM. The current statutory and non-statutory first responder organizations include:  

  • police forces 

  • certain parts of the Home Office 

  • UK Visas and Immigration 

  • Border Force 

  • Immigration Enforcement 

  • National Crime Agency 

  • local authorities 

  • Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) 

  • health and social care trusts (Northern Ireland) 

  • Salvation Army 

  • Migrant Help 

  • Medaille Trust 

  • Kalayaan 

  • Barnardo’s 

  • Unseen 

  • Tara Project (Scotland) 


  • BAWSO 

  • New Pathways 

  • Refugee Council 

Referrals are received by the Single Competent Authority (SCA) at the Home Office, which oversees  the decision-making process to formally identify a victim.

Agencies Responsible for Border Management 

The Border Force, a division of the Home Office, is  responsible for frontline border control operations at air, sea,  and rail ports. 

The Border Force is responsible for: 

  • checking the immigration status of people arriving in and  departing the UK 

  • searching baggage, vehicles, and cargo for illicit goods or  illegal immigrants 

  • patrolling the UK coastline and searching vessels 

  • gathering intelligence 

  • alerting the police and security services to people of interest

National Actors Addressing Smuggling of Migrants  

  • The Border Force (see above) 

  • Immigration Enforcement is responsible for preventing abuse, tracking immigration offenders, and  increasing compliance with immigration law. It works with partners such as the police to regulate  migration in line with government policy. It works to prevent migrants from entering the UK  illegally and overstaying, deals with threats associated with immigration offending, and enforces  the return of illegal migrants to their home countries. 

  • National Crime Agency (NCA): NCA officers work at the forefront of law enforcement,  building the best possible intelligence picture of serious and organized crime threats, pursuing  the most serious and dangerous offenders, and developing and delivering specialist capabilities on  behalf of law enforcement and other partners.

National Coordinating Bodies 

An Inter-Departmental Ministerial Group (IDMG) on Modern Slavery, which operated from around  2011 to 2016, brought together HM Government (England), the Scottish Government, the  Northern Ireland Executive, and the Welsh Government to collaborate and coordinate efforts in the  fight against trafficking. In 2017, the Prime Minister’s Modern Slavery Taskforce took on the majority  of functions of the IDMG, and the Home Secretary took on the role of National Rapporteur for the  UK, which includes publishing annual reports on trends in modern slavery and results of actions to  tackle modern slavery. The 2019 UK Annual Report on Modern Slavery October 2019 in available  online.  

  • A Modern Slavery Strategic Implementation Group (MSSIG)  was established to support implementation of the UK  Government’s modern slavery agenda through collaboration  and engagement between the government, Devolved  Administrations, NGOs, and businesses. It was expanded in  September 2018 and now consists of six thematic groups  covering different aspects of the modern slavery strategy:  law enforcement, prevention, protection, preparation,  international cooperation, and protection of minors. Each  group decides its own priorities and work plan in conjunction with the Home Office. The chairs  from each group meet quarterly. To learn more about MSSIG, contact the Human Trafficking  Foundation.

Specialized Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and Smuggling of Migrants  (SOM) Unit 

There is no single specialized agency. The following agencies are responsible for TIP operations such  as identification, rescue, and criminal investigations. 

National Crime Agency: NCA leads the UK’s fight to combat  serious and organized crime. NCA officers work at the  forefront of law enforcement, building the best possible  intelligence picture of serious and organized crime threats,  pursuing the most serious and dangerous offenders, and  developing and delivering specialist capabilities on behalf of law  enforcement and other partners. 

Modern Slavery Human Trafficking Unit (MSHTU) - NCA: MSHTU, part of NCA’s Organized Crime  Command, works with a wide range of partners and stakeholders in the UK and internationally to  combat modern slavery. The MSHTU provides annual reports on their website.


General Information  

Over the past five years, human traffickers were reported to  be exploiting foreign and British nationals. The government  reports 10,627 cases came through the NRM, with the latest  government estimates of up to 13,000 trafficking victims  present in the UK, with twenty-six percent of cases asserting  that their exploitation occurred entirely outside of the UK.  Labour trafficking is the most common form of exploitation  among adults and minors. Nearly half of all victims identified  are children. Children processed into the welfare system and  unaccompanied migrants are particularly at risk of trafficking.  Youth trafficked by gangs are forced to act as drug couriers  from larger cities to rural areas across the UK. Traffickers force  adults and children to work in agriculture, cannabis cultivation,  construction, food processing, factories, domestic service, nail  salons, food services, the hospitality industry, and car washes,  as well as on fishing boats. In Scotland, most victims are from  Viet Nam, with many forced to work in agriculture, particularly  cannabis farms, and nail salons. In Northern Ireland, there  are cases of perpetrators forcing victims into shoplifting and  the cultivation and distribution of illicit drugs. Young women  and girls from Albania, Bulgaria, and Romania, including ethnic  Roma, remain vulnerable to sex trafficking in Northern Ireland.

Main Trends and Figures 

In 2019, 10,627 cases of modern slavery were referred to the NRM, a 52% increase from 2018. Of  the cases referred in 2019, two-thirds claimed that the exploitation occurred in the UK only, whilst  26% indicated that the exploitation took place overseas only. The nationality of the cases were  diverse, comprising of 91 nationalities, with the largest source countries being the UK, Albania, and  Viet Nam. Just over half of referrals were for individuals who indicated that they were exploited as  adults, and 43% were for individuals who were exploited as minors. Of the referred victims, 3,391  were female, 7,224 were male, 1 was transgender; and the gender of 11 was unknown. Authorities  identified 4,550 minors in 2019, an increase from 3,137 the year before, due in large part to  heightened awareness among the public and authorities about “County Lines” gang recruitment of  children as drug couriers across the country. SOM: The UK Government reported that more than 100 people were convicted of people  smuggling in 2019. At least 1,892 migrants successfully crossed the Channel on small boats, and a  further 1,235 were intercepted by French authorities.

United Kingdom

Existing Mechanisms

Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and Smuggling of Migrant (SOM) Hotline

TIP/SOM  National Hotline (Modern  Slavery Helpline)- 08000 121 700

Others (Children protection/ assistance)- 0800 1111

*These hotline are available free of charge 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

Other ways to report:  

Measures to Detect Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and Smuggling of  Migrants (SOM) Cases Along the Borders  

  • The Border Force works closely with law enforcement agencies and civil society organisations  in source countries to intercept traffickers, prevent victims from being trafficked to the UK in the  first place, and provide enhanced support and protection against re-trafficking. 

Measures taken include: 

  • Ensuring that all frontline officials receive training that enables them to spot the signs of trafficking  and to understand the trafficking threats specific to their airports or ports. 

  • Rolling out specialist safeguarding and trafficking teams at major airports and ports, to support  potential victims identified at the border and ensure that they receive the immediate help and  support they need. 

  • Guide frontline Border Patrol personnel on the issues of modern slavery victims. 

  • Border Force’s Operations Manual includes a section entitled “Human Trafficking (including modern slavery).” This section contains guidance on the indicators of trafficking and modern  slavery, the treatment of potential victims, and the process for referring individuals to the NRM.  It also provides a detailed process map and embedded links to other relevant guidance and  reference documents.  

  • More Information on measures taken to detect TIP and SOM at the borders can be found in  the report: An Inspection of Border Force’s Identification and Treatment of Potential Victims of  Modern Slavery

National Referral Mechanism (NRM) and/or Standard Operating  Procedures (SOP)  

The National Referral Mechanism (NRM) is a framework for identifying victims of human trafficking  and ensuring they receive the appropriate protection and support. The NRM is also the mechanism  through which the Home Office collects data about victims. This information contributes to building  a clearer picture about the scope of human trafficking in the UK. Since April 2019, decisions are  made by a Single Competent Authority in the Home Office who hold overall responsibility for  implementing the NRM.   

  • First responders complete the referral forms and send them to the Single Competent Authority  (SCA). The SCA will make a first stage, “reasonable grounds” decision. This should be done  within five days. A positive decision triggers a 45-day recovery and reflection period,  which gives victims access to tailored support while their case is considered, which  may include: 

  • access to relevant legal advice 

  • accommodation 

  • protection 

  • independent emotional and practical help.

This support is delivered through the Victim Care Contract coordinated by the Salvation Army and  a number of subcontractors. The Salvation Army will assess each potential victim to determine what  support is most appropriate. A potential victim must give consent for the referral to be made. The  Salvation Army should be contacted as soon as possible to make the support referral (prior to the  reasonable grounds decision). If the individual requires immediate support, you should contact the  Salvation Army as soon as possible. 

To learn more about the NRM:  

Law Enforcement Agencies Responsible for Investigating Cases of  Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and Smuggling of Migrant (SOM)  

Criminal investigations, including those concerning TIP offences, are mainly carried out by:  

  • Modern Slavery Police Transformation Unit (MSPTU) within NCA, which provides dedicated specialist teams  to support all 43 police forces in England and Wales, to  transform the police response to modern slavery. The  MSPTU provides annual reports on their website.  

  • National Anti-Trafficking and Modern Slavery  Network (NATMSN) brings together Police Crime  Commissioners from across the country to focus on issues  relating to modern slavery and human trafficking 

Investigations concerning SOM offences are carried out by:

  • National Crime Agency: NCA leads a UK task force targeting the organized crime group  threat to Europe through the Mediterranean region and the UK. Project INVIGOR includes UK  partners such as Immigration Enforcement, Border Force, police, and the Crown Prosecution  Service. The task force is active in source and transit countries developing intelligence and  building international capability to combat the threat. It also works closely with partners across  Europe and within the UK to share intelligence and resources to disrupt people-smuggling  networks across the continent. 

Identity and Travel Documentation Investigation and Forensic Lab 

The HM Passport Office, which is responsible for issuing passports to UK nationals, is committed to  maintaining the integrity and security of UK passports, which are designed and manufactured to fully  comply with International Civil Aviation Organization and EU standards for security features.  

The passport design team includes experts from the National  Document Fraud Unit (NFDU), an expert body in the  examination and assessment of fraudulently altered and  counterfeit passports. Electronic passports were introduced  in 2006, featuring an electronic chip with the holder’s personal  details along with biometric photographs. In addition to  the security design features, face-to-face interviews were  introduced for first-time adult passport applicants in order  to combat fraudulent applications. United Kingdom Border  Agency conducts forgery checks on all passports, with targeted  verification checks on supporting documentation based on  risk profiles. Further, a number of assessments relating to the quality, security, and integrity of UK  passports have been carried out. For further information, please refer to the UK Home Office’s  “Guidance on examining identity documents”.

Technical Working Groups  

  • The Modern Slavery Strategy and Implementation Groups (MSSIG) support  implementation of the UK Government’s Modern Slavery Agenda through collaboration and  engagement between the Government, Devolved Administrations, NGOs, and businesses. There  are six thematic MSSIG groups covering different aspects of the modern slavery strategy, including  Law Enforcement, Prevent, Transparency in Supply Chains, Victim Support, International, and  Protection of Children. Each thematic group decides its own priorities and work plan in conjunction  with the Home Office. Chairs from each of the thematic groups meet quarterly.

  • Human Trafficking National Advisory Forum brings together around 90 NGOs, service providers,  and other experts from across the UK anti-trafficking sector. It provides a unique opportunity to  engage with Parliamentarians and policymakers. 

  • The All Party Parliamentary Group on Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery, with cross-party membership of MPs and Peers, meets to provide a forum for discussion as to the nature  and scale of modern slavery in the UK. 

  • The National Network Coordinators’ Forum (NNCF) brings together the coordinators of  the various regional anti-slavery networks and partnerships operating throughout the UK. NNCF  seeks to facilitate the sharing of best practices between regional partnerships and encourage  collaboration whenever possible.  

  • The national cross law enforcement Modern Slavery Threat Group continues to bring  together NCA, policing, Immigration Enforcement, Crown Prosecution Service, Border Force,  GLAA, and the Home Office to provide strategic coordination for collective action to tackle this  threat. 

  • Modern Slavery Police Transformation Unit: The Modern Slavery Police Transformation report.  

  • The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) is an independent, non-statutory, non-time  limited, non-departmental public body that advises the government on migration issues.

Agency in charge of Trafficking in Persons (TIP)/Smuggling of Migrants  (SOM) data collection and processing  

On April 29, 2019 the Home Office assumed responsibility for all areas of the NRM, including  referrals, decision-making, and data collection. 

Prior to that date NCA was responsible for collecting data on the NRM, and that data can still be  found here. For statistics prior to 2017, please visit the National Archive. 

  • The UK Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking  Unit (MSHTU), part of NCA, is the national repository  of data on TIP, including the collection and collation of  intelligence regarding TIP into, within, and out of the UK.  The intelligence is developed and analyzed to inform the  national strategic policy as well as operational responses.  In addition, MSHTU produces data regarding the number  of referrals to the NRM and decisions taken by the two  competent authorities to identify victims of trafficking, with  a breakdown by nationality, gender, and age, as well as by  the type of exploitation. This data is made available on NCA ’s website. 

  • The CEOP Centre, the national strategic lead on child trafficking in the UK, has collected data  since June 2007 with the aim of building knowledge on the scale and nature of child trafficking. It  produces baseline assessments of child trafficking in the UK. 

However, it is reported that there is a lack of centralized data concerning prosecutions and  convictions for TIP offenses, including on non-punishment of victims of trafficking. The authorities  recognize that collating reliable data on TIP from all relevant actors, including government  departments, law enforcement agencies, the public and private sectors, and civil society, continues  to pose a significant challenge. Although the data collected since the setting up of the NRM has  contributed to a better understanding of the phenomenon of TIP, including as regards main  countries of origin, vulnerable groups, and forms of exploitation, more needs to be done to ensure  that comprehensive data on all aspects of trafficking and anti-trafficking policies, including the  provision of support, are collected, analyzed, and passed on to the right agencies for action.

To improve the identification of victims, the role of first responders is being reviewed to determine  which organizations are best placed to identify victims and how staff at these organizations should  be trained. The digital referral form launched in August 2019 makes it easier for those on  the front line to refer victims into support by providing a single point for referrals across the UK.  In January 2020 the digital case-working element of the system was launched. It will enable better  data collection and analysis, to inform future modern slavery strategy, aid targeted law enforcement  activity, and identify patterns of exploitation.

Protection and Assistance to Victims of Trafficking Agencies

Competent Authority and Mechanism to Identify Victims of  Trafficking (VOT) 

The National Referral Mechanism (NRM) is the UK’s system for identifying and supporting  victims of modern slavery created under the Council of Europe Convention on Action against  Human Trafficking, which came into force on February 1, 2008.  A Single Competent Authority (in  the Home Office) was launched in 2019 which has allowed decisions to be made in a more efficient  and streamlined way. Support is provided through the Victim Care Contract coordinated by the  Salvation Army. First responders make the referral to the Single Competent Authority.  

A decision as to whether a person is a victim of modern slavery is made (target is set at  five working days from receipt of a referral to decision) as to whether there are reasonable  grounds to believe a person is a victim of modern slavery. If it is decided that they are a victim, then  they will be offered safe accommodation, if needed, and granted a period of reflection and recovery  and access to specialist support for a minimum period, which can be extended if needed.  

During the decision period, further information is gathered relating to the referral from the first  responder and other agencies. The Home Office will then decide whether the person is indeed a  victim of modern slavery. 

For victims who decide not to enter the NRM, NGO provide various forms of support.

Assistance Services and Contacts  

The Human Trafficking Foundation has worked with the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner  and Anti Trafficking and Labour Exploitation Unit (ATLEU) to map support services for survivors of  trafficking in the UK. The Modern Slavery Police Transformation Unit now use this map to support  police officers in finding services to support potential victims. The map details the different  types of support available, criteria for accessing services, and contact details.  

A map of services in the UK is available online.

Cross-Border Cooperation

International Cooperation Agreements - Cross Border and  Extradition Treaties 

At the regional and International levels, in addition to agreements with the UN and the EU, the UK  has signed the following agreements:  

  • The UK adopted the International UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime,  as well as the additional Protocols 12 (Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in  Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against  Transnational Organized Crime), and Protocol 12. B (Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants  by Land, Sea and Air, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational  Organized Crime)  

  • The UK adopted the UN Global Compact on Migration in 2018.  

  • The UK adopted the Global Compact on Refugees in 2018.  

  • Brexit: The UK left the EU on January 31, 2020. There will be changes in law enforcement  cooperation between UK and EU agencies. The extent to which Brexit will impact upon the UK’s  current relationship with Frontex remains unclear. The UK’s current arrangement with Frontex  is covered by Article 51 of Regulation 2016/1624, which states that “the Agency shall facilitate  operational cooperation of the member states with Ireland and the UK in specific activities” and  makes no specific reference to the UK’s EU membership.  

  • The potential impact of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU on efforts to tackle modern  slavery: In 2017, the UK Anti-Trafficking Monitoring Group (ATMG) reviewed how the UK’s  membership in the EU has influenced national anti-trafficking efforts and considered how Brexit  may impact the UK’s ability to combat modern slavery and protect its victims. Where possible,  recommendations have been made on steps to take to mitigate any potential risks.  

  • The Headquarters Agreement between UK and the International Organization for Migration (IOM): IOM’s office in London, in cooperation with the UK Government, provides assistance  with voluntary return and reintegration through the Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration  programme.

At the bilateral level, UK has signed these agreements: 

  • UK has signed bilateral agreements with all its neighbors on cross-border police  cooperation. Above all, these agreements govern cross-border police measures such as  surveillance, controlled deliveries, and hot pursuit; joint police operations, in particular joint  patrols; information-sharing; cross-border personnel support; and work at the joint centres for  police and customs cooperation. This includes INTERPOL.  

  • The UK has participated in the European Territorial Cooperation (ETC) programs,  better known as INTERREG, since their inception nearly 25 years ago. The UK and  Gibraltar are currently involved in cross-border and transnational INTERREG programmes with  a combined total budget of around €2.293 billion. These programmes involve EU Member  States, including Ireland, France, Denmark, Sweden, and Germany, and non-EU Member States  including Norway, Iceland, and Switzerland. Following Brexit, the EU budget may be reduced by  up to 16%, depending on the level of continuing UK budgetary contributions agreed as part  of the Brexit negotiations with the EU27. Further information can be found in the EPRC  report, UK Cross-Border and Transnational Cooperation: Experiences, Lessons and Future. 

  • Joint Action Plan by the UK and Greece on migration: The Action Plan strengthens the  UK’s relationship with one of its key partners in tacking irregular migration and will improve  cooperation across a range of issues. It will ensure that asylum and returns processes are as efficient as possible, enhance cooperation between UK and Hellenic law enforcement authorities  to dismantle migrant smuggling networks and tackle organized immigration crime, and renew  cooperation on search and rescue in the Aegean through the UK’s renewed deployment of a  Border Force cutter.  

  • UK-Nigeria memorandum of understanding (MOU) 2004: This MOU refers to the joint  need to combat human trafficking and address the root causes of irregular migration, which  includes poverty that drives Nigerians to entrust their fate to traffickers. Recognizing the need  for greater sensitivity of UK immigration and law enforcement officers, the MOU calls for  common strategies to ensure the protection of trafficked persons and technical and institutional  capacity building to prevent trafficking, protect victims, and prosecute offenders. It also refers  to programmes to provide counselling for the physical, psychological, and social recovery  of trafficking victims. Thus far, the UK is working to ensure that human rights standards are  systematically applied throughout the repatriation process for Nigerians trafficked to the UK.  

Others useful reports includes “‘Vulnerability’ to Human Trafficking: A Study of Viet Nam, Albania,  Nigeria and the UK

Transnational Referral Mechanism  

A Transnational Referral Mechanism (TRM) does not currently exist. 

To learn more about TRMs, see IOM’s Transnational Referral Mechanism Model (TACT) project and  tool.

Additional International Instruments  


  • The UK Anti-Trafficking Monitoring Group (ATMG), Anti-Slavery International (the  international anti-slavery organization) facilitates and leads ATMG, a coalition established in  2009 to monitor the UK’s implementation of European anti-trafficking legislation. The group  examines all forms of human trafficking and smuggling, including the trafficking and smuggling of  British citizens. ATMG plays a crucial role in improving the UK government’s response  to trafficking. The group operates according to a human rights-based approach to protect the  well-being and best interests of the victims of human trafficking. It comprises 13 leading UK-based anti-trafficking organizations: AFRUCA, Anti-Slavery International, Ashiana Sheffield, Bawso,  ECPAT UK, Focus on Labour Exploitation (FLEX), Helen Bamber Foundation, Kalayaan, Law  Centre (NI), the Snowdrop Project, the TARA service, and UNICEF UK. 

  • ATMG works closely with the Human Trafficking Foundation. The group also supports  projects with various countries including Mauritania, Niger, and Senegal

  • The UK Government 2019 Annual Report on Modern Slavery 

  • Council of Europe Portal: Action Against Trafficking of Human beings/GRETA

Relevant National Legislation and Policies

Entry requirements 

  • All 15 Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) member states and  Chad, Libya, and Mauritania require entry clearance prior to arrival in the UK. Requirements  vary according to nationality, purpose of visit, and length of stay.  

  • Visa exempted: European Union (EU), European Economic Area, Swiss nationals, and  Commonwealth nationals 

  • Subject to changes due to Brexit: There will be no change to the rights and status of EU  citizens currently living in the UK until June 30, 2021. The rights and status of UK nationals living  in the EU after the UK leaves the EU can be found online, at the UK government websites.

National legislation 

Even after leaving the EU on December 31, 2020, the  UK continues to be a member state of the Council of Europe.  As such, it is still acting to uphold the 2005 Council of Europe  Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings. 

The  UK is still party to the European Convention on Human Rights. The UK has ratified the United Nations Convention on  Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocol to  Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons,  and Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land,  Sea and Air (both in 2006). The UK is also party to the UN  Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination  against Women (CEDAW) and the UN Convention on the  Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocol on the Sale  of Children, Child Prostitution, and Child Pornography. In  addition, the UK is Party to International Labour Organization  (ILO) Conventions No. 29 and 105 on Forced Labour and  Convention No. 182 on Eliminating the Worst Forms of Child  Labour.  

Furthermore, the majority of EU laws has just been transposed into UK law so the EU 2011 Anti-Trafficking Directive is now part of UK legislation.  

At the national level: Most recent and relevant legislation. 

  • The Modern Slavery Act 2015: The Modern Slavery Act encompasses all human trafficking, slavery, servitude, and  forced or compulsory labour offences. It came into force on  July 31, 2015. The Act gives law enforcement agencies the  tools to tackle modern slavery, including maximum life  sentences for perpetrators and enhanced protection for  victims, a provision to create an Independent Antislavery Commissioner, duty to notify, and a transparency in  supply chains (TISC) provision. Under this provision, the UK is the first country in the world to  require businesses to report on the steps they have taken to stamp out modern slavery in their  supply chains. The government is consulting on proposals to strengthen the TISC provision in the  Act. The government has also created a free online central reporting service for modern slavery  statements, to make it easier for consumers, NGOs, and investors to understand the action that  organizations are taking to prevent modern slavery in their supply chains. The Act also created a duty for specified public authorities to notify the Home Office of any individual encountered in  England and Wales who they believe is a suspected victim of slavery or human trafficking.  

Other internal legal acts relating to action against TIP include:

  • The Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority  (GLAA) continue to make progress using its powers under  the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) to  investigate serious cases of labour exploitation.  

  • The National Referral Mechanism (NRM) is the UK’s  system for identifying and supporting victims of modern  slavery created under the Council of Europe Convention  on Action against Human Trafficking, which came into  force on February 1, 2008. The government is currently  reforming the NRM to enable it to support more victims.  A Single Competent Authority was launched in 2019 that has allowed decisions to be made in  a more efficient and streamlined way, while Multi-Agency Assurance Panels provide additional  independent scrutiny to ensure quality decision-making. A new digital system has been built  to support the NRM process, making it easier for those on the front line to refer victims into  support by providing a single point for referrals across the UK. The digital system also supports  an effective and efficient case management process in enabling the identification of victims.  Specialist support is provided for child victims of human trafficking and modern slavery through  the Independent Child Trafficking Guardians (ICTG) scheme, which has been expanded to a third  of all local authorities in England and Wales. They help children navigate the complex systems of  social care, immigration, and criminal justice.  

Regarding SOM 

  • The Immigration Act 1971, Section 25 makes it an offence to assist unlawful immigration  (known as facilitation). The offence was substituted by Section 143 Nationality, Immigration  and Asylum Act 2002, which came into force on February 10, 2003. his provision expands  and extends the former facilitation provisions, assimilating all acts that facilitate a violation of  immigration law by non-EU citizens as well as acts defined by the former crime of “harboring”.

Recent policies  

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