Sunday, 15 August 2010

An appalling trade ....

In the U.K. trafficking of young girls for sex is rife.  Many of the girls are British born and others are "trafficked" in from abroad.  The girls are passed from gang to gang and from town to town.  Threats of violence are made to the girls and sometimes to their families.  The Independent - Sunday 15th August - has highlighted this story.

In the UK, "Trafficking" has tended to be seen as international and the first anti-trafficking law was framed that way - see Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002.  Obtaining convictions appears to be difficult - see Guardian July 2010 (Prosecutors call on sex trafficking victims to testify).   Trafficking within the UK is an offence under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 s.58 - (the offence requires proof of 'mens rea' and that will not necessarily be easy).

There is a UK Human Trafficking Centre which, in April 2010, became part of the Serious Organised Crime Agency.  Of course, the government is now planning to abolish SOCA which is seen by Ministers as costly and ineffective - here.

Greater concerted action is urgently required to get a grip on this insidious and appalling crime.  The CPS is consulting about its Public Policy Statement - see here.


  1. CPS launches consultation?
    If it involves children, it comes under the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre's remit surely?
    Apparently paedophiles who don't use the Internet to groom children don't matter. Or the Daily Mail and CEOP would be calling for panic buttons on every tree.

  2. Yes, the CPS has launched a consultation about its Public Policy Statement. The post provides a link. The Policy Statement is important in that it deals with the CPS appraoch to victims and witnesses. The consultation continues until 31st October.

    Here is a link to CEOP

    Important as CEOP's work is, many of the criminals involved in this activity will not necessarily use the internet. The story in The Independent - (link provided in the post)- tells how men befriended Joanne and eventually enticed her into prostitution.

  3. "In the U.K. trafficking of young girls for sex is rife."

    Obiter, I hear this sort of comment occaisionally and have to ask, does the evidence support it? I'm on the fence on this one, but Stephen Paterson over at An Antholgy of English Pros (a pro decriminalisation blog) certainly takes politicians, newspapers and senior police figures to task over wildly exaggerated claims:

  4. John - thanks.

    ACPO's report makes interesting reading.

    In terms of trafficking, the UK operates within the Council of Europe Convention. Some statistical data on numbers for the period April 2009 to March 2010 may be seen at UKHTC.

    The data shows that in that period there were 706 referrals to the UKHTC. An unknown number are not referred. Whether the word "rife" was correct or not, there is certainly a very concerning trend of very young people being forced into this activity.

    as a law blog, I was keen to draw attention to the criminal law and the potential difficulty within section 58 of proving mens rea (i.e. the defendant's knowledge at the relevant time).