How do we compensate victims of human trafficking in the UK?

“Am I entitled to some compensation”? Asked “Jan” a victim of human trafficking for the purposes of forced labour. “Yes” I answered, but immediately became worried about the mind field that lay ahead.

Research from the EU funded human trafficking project TRACE (Trafficking as a criminal enterprise) has shown that it remains difficult for victims to receive compensation either during criminal procedures or in separate private legal actions. Procedures are complicated and often take a long time and furthermore, in the case of private actions, are expensive. Moreover, judges find it hard to estimate the height of the damages, even material damages thus resulting in a lack of uniformity.

Yet, it feels like it should be the most natural thing; victims who experience the heinous crime should be swiftly recompensed for their trauma. Certainly, human rights law governs the issue through the right to an effective remedy, which should necessitate compensation and free legal aid.

Article 15 (3) – (4) of the Council of Europe Trafficking Convention is very specific and is a basis for state responsibility to allow victims to seek compensations. The provision reads:

3 Each Party shall provide, in its internal law, for the right of victims to compensation from the perpetrators.

4 Each Party shall adopt such legislative or other measures as may be necessary to guarantee compensation for victims in accordance with the conditions under its internal law, for instance through the establishment of a fund for victim compensation or measures or programmes aimed at social assistance and social integration of victims, which could be funded by the assets resulting from the application of measures provided in Article 23.

Regrettably, the obligations contained in Article 15 are riddled with weaknesses and ambiguities. Art. 15(3) requires that compensation is linked to the establishment of the perpetrator’s criminal responsibility. Yet prosecutions are few and far between. Conversely, Art. 15(4) provides for wider scope, and encompasses situations where trafficked persons can pursue compensation from other sources, e.g. as a civil procedure or via a state compensation fund.

Yet as found by the TRACE project, no European State appears to have developed a fund specifically for victims of human trafficking. In addition, the flexibility to adopt measures in accordance with the conditions under state internal law means that compensation is regulated differently across countries. Consequently, some victims may find it easier to gain compensation than others.

Turning to the UK, and the options that Jan had afore him. Firstly, and in line with the afore mentioned Convention, compensation could have been sought during criminal proceedings:

  • Through prosecutors requesting a compensation order upon conviction in appropriate cases under sections 130 -132 of the Powers of the Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000, which provides for compensation orders against defendants.
  • Through confiscation and compensation under section 13(2) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. Here, the court must determine any application for confiscation before considering a compensation order, however, the court has a discretion under section 13(5) and (6) POCA 2002 to make both a compensation order and a confiscation order against the same person in the same proceedings if it believes that the defendant will have sufficient means to satisfy both orders in full.

However prosecutors can apply for these only post-conviction; Jan’s perpetrator had not been identified, prosecuted or convicted.

Jan could have sued the offender in the civil courts. Civil litigation enables the victim to hold a defendant personally accountable for his actions, though funding for legal representation to pursue a civil compensation claim is often a bar to this course of action. However, as before he was unsure as to the whereabouts of his offender.

As such Jan’s only other option was through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). This scheme compensates for personal injuries awards to victims of crime and fatal injury awards to immediate family members of a victim who has died as a result of a violent crime. To claim, the victim must have sustained physical or mental injuries as a result of a violent crime. A victim claiming mental injury without physical injury must demonstrate they were put in considerable fear of immediate physical harm.

On learning about the CICA Jan asked if a lawyer would help him. Although in the UK under S.47 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, victims of trafficking can have to access legal aid to seek compensation in civil courts and Employment Tribunals, the same is not available for CICA claims.

In the end Jan decided the whole matter was too complicated and said he would not pursue it. Fortunately, most recently the government has agreed to conduct an urgent review of legal aid provision for people bringing compensation claims against their traffickers, after a judicial review brought by Garden Court Chambers on behalf of legal charity, the Anti-Trafficking and Labour Exploitation Unit (ATLEU).

The detention, coercion, threats and abuse, which trafficked persons, are confronted with, results in both physical and psychological harm. The crime is committed against these persons in such a systematic matter that is incomparable to theft or battery. This evokes an argument that in order to restore their feeling of dignity and security States ought to create national plans for legal aid and compensation to all victims of human trafficking, whether they are irregular or regular migrants.

Author: Julia Muraszkiewicz, member of the TRACE research team and member of STOP THE TRAFFIK Manchester.



764About the Trip

In 2014, STOP THE TRAFFIK Australia announced that they would be hosting a 12-day, group trip to India. This was an amazing opportunity for STOP THE TRAFFIK volunteers to travel to the world’s epicentre of human trafficking, meet with campaigners and prevention workers, visit projects on the ground, and learn more about the culture of human trafficking. Natalia, a trip participant, was eager to share her experiences and offered to do an interview with STOP THE TRAFFIK so all of our activists could learn about trafficking in India. She said, “The idea is to be aware and understand more of how [human trafficking] works in India,”.

Over their 12-day journey, the group visited Hyderabad, Mumbia, and Assam.

slum sewing womenIn Hyderabad, Natalia said she was impressed by the work being done by the Dalit Freedom Network (DFN) who work with “‘untouchable’ women called Jonanis who are forced into prostitution as a cultural/religious norm. DFN runs a shelter home for their daughters to save them from being prostituted and instead they attend the DFN school!”


SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESWhile the group was visiting Mumbai, they were able to visit some of the city’s slums and witness the work being done by Oasis (the parent charity of STOP THE TRAFFIK) to support women who have been prostituted with support services like childcare and training. Oasis also works to raise awareness in slums. If you’re interested in learning more about the work that Oasis is doing in India, watch this video.

Finally, the group visited Assam – a region that is well known to STOP THE TRAFFIK for the exploitation that is prevalent in the region’s many tea plantations. Natalia said, “We saw the awareness and community strengthening work being done which has had amazing results at building resilient and aware communities – trafficking has reduced significantly and they’ve traced and returned some young people who had been trafficked.”

Interview with Natalia

461You must have met some amazing people when you were out there. Amongst such amazing people what stories should our activists hear?

These LEGENDS (pictured above) work with Nepalese women in New Mumbai; they’re trafficked in on the promise of jobs because Nepal is poor and Mumbai is developing but they’re then forced into prostitution. These guys (Bhanu, Abhay and David) work with these women and their children; they’re not a charity, just workers linked to a church.

Of specific awesomeness was the fact that they realised the children…slept underneath the mums’ beds while they were prostituted so they built beds and bought an old brothel room in the alley – the same alley where the women live and are prostituted – now they run it as a small daycare and night shelter. Their vision is to buy a room upstairs for vocational training. Abhay has actually adopted four kids at the request of the mums – it started cos’ one woman said her pimp had threatened to put her daughter ‘to work’ as she wasn’t earning enough.

What were some of the greatest challenges that you faced on your trip?

The fact it’s just so endemic because of poverty and desperation. It was encouraging and inspiring (an overused term in our country but applicable to this!) to see the work being done to lighten up the darkness but just to know there’s *countless* other tea plantations, villages and slums where this is happening with no outreach. India is MASSIVE and so very poor; we’d pass FAMILIES living in a tent on the pavement as a normal part of the day.
If you had to describe the spirit of some of the people you met on the trip in 3 words what would they be?
Generous,  persistent, strong.
Do you have any advice for our activists about the best ways that they can get involved?
  • Follow groups like STOP THE TRAFFIK, Oasis UK & the Dalit Freedom Network on social media and share the updates.
  • Be aware of how use language e.g. instead of saying ‘prostitutes’ or ‘sex workers’ when discussing trafficking, terms like ‘prostituted women’ ‘users’ ‘sex buyers’ are are accurate and show the subtle but important difference between sex work and sex slavery.
  • Buy ethical tea, chocolate, etc. and instead of waiting for a campaign, just message the ones who don’t sell these with tweets/emails etc.
  • Raise awareness & money in fun ways e.g. tea party, dvd eve, henna party if raising money for STT India (just established).

Natalia, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and experiences! We’re so glad that you were able to have such a wonderful and eye-opening trip with STOP THE TRAFFIK Australia!

#EthicalEats – Chilli Con Carne



The days may be getting longer but that winter chill is still in the air. We bet a hot bowl of Traffik-Free Chilli Con Carne will keep you cozy this weekend! Download our recipe card so you can make a tasty meal tonight and to learn more about trafficking within chocolate supply chains.

Psssst: STOP THE TRAFFIK recommends you purchase fair trade chocolate to use in this recipe, like Green & Black’s. Certification marks by Fairtrade, UTZ, or the Rainforest Alliance show consumers like you and I that the chocolate has been made in monitored conditions that aim to prevent the trafficking of children and adults for labour. 

STOP THE TRAFFIK’s Traffik-Free Chilli Con Carne Recipe

Modern Slavery Network in Manchester

STOP THE TRAFFIK wins GMP bid to co-ordinate Modern Slavery Network in Manchester

10 November 2015: STOP THE TRAFFIK (STT) have been successful in securing a bid from the Greater Manchester Police Crime Commissioner (PCC), Tony Lloyd to develop and coordinate a Modern Slavery Network in the Greater Manchester area. STOP THE TRAFFIK is a global charity working to prevent human trafficking and disrupt its supply chains around the world.

This announcement builds on 7 years of experience held by our volunteer group STT Manchester in delivering successful community prevention models. STT have employed a full time coordinator to develop the Modern Slavery Network in Manchester to bring together multiple local stakeholders that will actively safeguarding vulnerable communities and ensure the Greater Manchester area become a hostile place for traffickers to operate. The dedicated coordinator will pull together existing best practices to equip and empower front-line staff to protect trafficked persons.

“This commitment from the PCC builds on the pioneering partnership with GMP, and STT Manchester and other third sector organisations to tackle this complex crime in comprehensive and creative way.” – Julia Pugh

“As the newly appointed Network Coordinator for STT I am delighted to have the opportunity to work alongside so many partner organisations and groups, bringing together the shared knowledge and experience to support an effective response to Modern Slavery in Greater Manchester.” – Hannah Flint, newly appointed Network Co-ordinator

“Modern slavery cannot be addressed by any one single agency. It is crucial that we work together to build on existing partnerships and form new ones, to collaboratively tackle this challenging issue. We are excited to be working with STOP THE TRAFFIK as we continue to develop the Greater Manchester response to Modern Slavery.” – Chief Superintendent Russ Jackson, Regional Modern Slavery Lead

STOP THE TRAFFIK CEO, Ruth Dearnley, said, “This is an excellent opportunity for STOP THE TRAFFIK and the GMP to strategically tackle exploitation and modern slavery in Manchester through shared intelligence, campaigns, training and events. We are really excited at the prospect to implement real, systemic change and hope to see this model replicated by police forces around the country.”

You’re Invited: Modern Slavery Forum with STOP THE TRAFFIK


“As borders become increasingly blurred and the movement of people across countries is higher than it has ever been, the phenomenon of modern slavery is a danger which plagues us. This event hopes to bring light to the unfolding crisis and ask what can be done to put an end to human trafficking. Join us to find out what modern slavery in the UK looks like, how to spot the signs and what you can do about it.”

STOP THE TRAFFIK will be speaking at the Modern Slavery Forum hosted by the University of Exeter on the 22nd of February! If you are interested in attending this FREE event, register through Eventbrite below.
Date: 22/02/2016
Time: 7:00PM – 8:30PM
Location: University of Exeter

Year 9 Activist Raises £358 Playing Saxophone!


Ben Brown and STOP THE TRAFFIK CEO, Ruth Dearnley.

I found it very inspirational listening to Mrs Dearnley speak at the Abbey Service. She made me think about what I could do to Stop the Traffik and I thought fundraising would help to save lives. As I had already made some money for stop the Traffik, I thought about how I could raise some more and decided to raise money by busking in the Maltings.

I played my saxophone for five hours on 22nd December. A lot of people stopped and asked me what the charity was for. When I told them that it was for stopping slavery they were happy to put in some money. The average donation was £2.” – Ben Brown.

Ben attended a presentation put on at his school by STOP THE TRAFFIK’s CEO, Ruth Dearnley, last year. Ben was so inspired by the presentation that he went out and raised £358 all on his own! 

Way to go, Ben! It is activists like you who enable STOP THE TRAFFIK to do the work that we do. Thank you so much for your time and keep up the amazing work!

If you are interested in arranging to have a STOP THE TRAFFIK representative visit your school and speak about trafficking, visit our site here to receive more information!

How can you be a more ethical consumer?



Photo Courtesy of: Good On You/Facebook

Last week Collectively published a list of the 6 best apps to help consumers be more conscious when purchasing food, clothing, and beauty products.

When STOP THE TRAFFIK launched a decade ago a market for apps like this didn’t exist so we are very excited to see that apps which encourage shoppers to be conscious are growing in popularity!

Of the 6 apps listed, we’ve earmarked 2 as being particularly helpful in helping consumers avoid purchasing products that may be associated with unscrupulous production practices or unethical corporate owners.

  1. BuyCott – This app gives users the ability to scan items and trace the ownership of the item’s brand. BuyCott users can use this information to create campaigns to cull support for or against a particular corporation and organize a boycott against purchasing the products produced by them. How STT activists can use it: Start a campaign and boycott brands who are known to have poor labour standards.
  2. Not My Style – Users of this app can learn about the transparency of certain clothing brands and what their production practices are like. How STT activists can use it: Before you buy, review the practices of the brand and see what behaviours you may be supporting through a purchase.

Do you have any favourite apps that help you be a more ethical consumer?


ft blog

STOP THE TRAFFIK in today’s Financial Times

Earlier this year we announced that we had been chosen as the Financial Times’ Seasonal appeal partner. Today that announcement became a reality as the paper published its first editorial story in support of the partnership.

Readers of the FT will have today learnt about the problem of human trafficking in China – just one of many forms in which this global crime manifests itself.

Commenting on the piece, Ruth Dearnley, CEO of STOP THE TRAFFIK says, “We are incredibly grateful to the FT for helping us shine a light on the global travesty of people trafficking. It is our greatest hope that this will lead to a step-change in public awareness of the extent, scale and complexities of the crime and that we will gain greater support in our mission to make communities resilient to the work of traffickers around the world.”

In the days to come, further editorial pieces will examine different aspects of human trafficking and each piece will be placed on a bespoke microsite to drive awareness of the partnership.

Please consider donating now to help us continue to shine a light in dark places and protect some of the world’s most vulnerable people.

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New report shows how extended communities offer protection from trafficking

STOP THE TRAFFIK works to help communities become resilient to human trafficking. We provide education about what human trafficking looks like, how it occurs and what to do in the event that someone is being trafficked. The more knowledge people in a community have about human trafficking, the more they can do to protect themselves and others around them.

But a community isn’t just a group of people living close to one another. Communities and the protection they provide can extend across the world through email, telephone and websites like Facebook.

Researchers at the University of Southern California have written a new report on the role these extended communities can play in cases of labour trafficking.  One key finding the researchers made is that these extended communities are an important source of protection against human trafficking. But they also found that creating these extended communities isn’t as simple as giving everyone phones and internet access – we’ll see that making extended resilient communities is a bit more complicated.

How labour trafficking happens

Many cases of people being trafficked into forced labour happen when people migrate to other countries for work. In an unfamiliar country, and often with little information about their rights and no support network, people are at the mercy of human traffickers posing as employers or recruitment agencies.

In countries like the Philippines people often place themselves in the hands of recruitment agencies, who arrange everything including jobs in the new country, as well as travel and visas.

Most of these agencies are legitimate, but some have the aim of trapping people and selling them into exploitation once they arrive in the new country. The researchers from USC interviewed one woman from the Philippines who was a survivor of domestic servitude in Qatar. She was trafficked by people posing as a recruitment agency who distributed leaflets in her village advertising jobs.

How being connected can prevent trafficking

There are different ways that access to mobile phones and internet can help protect people from being trafficked into forced labour.  With access to the internet, people would have the opportunity to research recruitment agencies to find out if they are legitimate. The woman trafficked to Qatar didn’t have the opportunity to research her recruitment agency – the only information she had was the leaflet the company distributed in her village.

A key way that being connected through phone and internet can protect people from trafficking is that it gives them access to these extended communities that act as support networks. A person can keep in touch and report their situation for friends and family, who can themselves look out for the indicators that the person is vulnerable to being exploited.

The USC researchers found that being isolated from support networks is a key sign of labour trafficking. They interviewed three women from the Philippines who migrated to other countries into jobs as domestic workers. The women said that it was standard practice for their phones to be confiscated by their recruitment agencies when they arrived at their destinations. One woman was unable to contact her relatives back home for a year.

Since the extended communities provided by internet and telephones offer such a key protection against human trafficking, it might seem that trafficking can be prevented by making sure people have access to these technologies. But it isn’t that simple. The USC report finds that as well as access to technologies, people also need education about human trafficking. Without knowledge about the nature of trafficking, people can have access to these networks but still find themselves at risk.

Why education about trafficking is essential

Having access to phones and internet is not by itself enough to help protect people from trafficking – people also need the skills and knowledge to find information and decide which information is trustworthy. Organisations like the Migrant Workers Overseas Welfare Adminstration and the Blas F. Ople centre have collaborated with Microsoft and Google to provide education programs for migrant workers on using the internet to verify information and seek assistance.

But as well as knowing how to use technology, people also need to know about the nature of human trafficking if they are going to use this technology to protect themselves and others in their community. Without knowledge about the signs of trafficking and what to do if somebody is being trafficked, friends and family will be unable to let the right people know when they’re being trafficked.

USC researchers interviewed a woman from the Phillipines who applied to a job as a domestic worker in the Middle East. But the recruitment agency suddenly changed plans – the woman was put on a boat going to Malaysia, and on arrival was made to stay in a hotel room for a number of days. The woman was worried about her situation and texted a friend for reassurance. The friend repeatedly told the woman that everything was normal despite the woman feeling more and more uneasy about her situation.

As the woman was being transported to another destination in a van, it was stopped by Malaysian police and everyone in the van – including the woman – was put in a Malaysian jail. She managed to hide her phone when entering the jail and got a message out to Philippine officials who oversaw her release. She is now at a shelter in the Philippines.

In this case, the woman had access to a mobile phone and contacted her friend when she became suspicious about her situation. But the friend was unable to recognise the signs that the woman was being trafficked and so was unable to help her. More knowledge about the signs of trafficking could have helped.

Resilient communities

So, being connected through phones and the internet can be a huge factor in protecting people from human trafficking. If they can be connected to their friends and family even when they are in another country it is more likely that they will be able to avoid human traffickers or get the right help if they find that they are being targeted by traffickers. But education and awareness about human trafficking still remains key in protecting people from traffickers.


Social Media: Help or Hindrance in the Fight Against Trafficking?

Social media makes it easy to connect with people all over the world – and by doing so it also presents many opportunities for traffickers to deceive and exploit vulnerable people. Thanks to many awareness-raising campaigns over the years, people in some areas of the world are well aware of the need to be cautious of strangers on the internet. But this message is still of constant importance, as traffickers are still finding new ways to connect with and exploit people using social media.

But as well as giving traffickers ways to target people, social media also equips us with many new tools in the fight against trafficking. And, as we’ll see, these tools have been used by anti-trafficking groups in sometimes dramatic and surprising ways.

How do human traffickers use social media?

The fact that many people are well aware of the dangers of the internet does make it harder for traffickers to gain the trust of their targets. But with the opportunity to connect with so many people, traffickers are able to find those who are in situations where they are vulnerable.

In one case, Hope, a 17-year old girl from the US, made a social media post saying she hated her mother – and immediately received a reply from a woman offering her a place to stay away from home. The woman picked Hope up just 45 minutes later and drove her to a motel. But here it became clear what the woman’s true motives were – Hope was drugged and trafficked for sex across 8 states before finally being rescued three weeks later.

Trafficking through social media is also a problem in areas of the world where messages about internet safety aren’t as common. Indonesia is one of the world’s top Facebook users with 50 million people signed up to the site – and its capital Jakarta is the most active Twitter city in the world according to social media company Semiocast.  But according to this article investigating trafficking through social media, people in Indonesia are unaware of the dangers of posting personal information online. Teenagers often post personal photos, addresses and phone numbers online, leaving themselves more open to those who want to exploit them.

Social media in the fight against human trafficking

Crowdsourcing for immediate action

One very direct case of using the internet’s people power to stop trafficking happened in 2010, when a US man named Dan Reetz posted ‘Help me help my friend in D.C’.

The post appealed for information about a former student of his, a Russian woman who was travelling with a female friend. The women had answered an advert that promised legitimate work in Washington, D.C. But when they arrived in the US their contact changed the details – and now told them to travel to New York City, with promises of hostess work at a lounge. Dan Reetz suspected his friend was being trafficked.

Within a few minutes of the post people were offering information and support – they called human trafficking hotlines and the Russian embassy in Washington, researched the lounge where the women were promised work and offered places to stay for the women. Finally someone who saw the post went to meet the women at the bus depot in New York and was able to convince them not to meet their suspicious contact.

Infiltrating Facebook groups

One group in Madagascar is taking on the responsibility for raising awareness. The Zà Association [link] found that the messages about traffickers’ use of social media were not being heard by a wide enough audience in Madagascar. So they took it upon themselves to ‘infiltrate’ 250 Malagasy Facebook groups and distribute messages of awareness about human trafficking.

Campaigning and raising awareness

At STOP THE TRAFFIK we aim to raise awareness about the nature of trafficking so people can safeguard themselves and others from trafficking – and the internet is one of the best ways to get the message out there.

Our Make Fashion Traffik-Free and Traffik-Free Chocolate campaigns have used social media to bring together thousands of people willing to use their consumer power to pressure big companies to stamp out human trafficking in their supply chains. From flooding big companies with tweets, to signing online petitions, to sharing awareness-raising videos and images with their friends, social media has empowered thousands of our supporters to make a difference.

Though the connectedness provided by the internet and social media gives traffickers more ways to reach vulnerable people it also gives more ways to work together to prevent human trafficking. Trafficking is a global crime, and using the internet and social media gives us the opportunity to join together across our global community to stop it.

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The 5 Biggest Misconceptions About Human Trafficking

At STOP THE TRAFFIK we work to raise awareness of human trafficking, because this is one of the best ways to protect those who are targeted by human traffickers. By learning about the nature of human trafficking, we can make it harder for human traffickers to hide their crimes and empower communities to recognise and disrupt the tactics of human traffickers.

Since knowledge is one of our main tools for disrupting the activities of traffickers, misconceptions about the nature of human trafficking can be harmful to the fight against the buying and selling of people. Confusions about what trafficking is, how it can take place, or  what it looks like mean that spotting and preventing trafficking in communities is all the more difficult.

So, here are 5 of the biggest myths about human trafficking and the actual truths they conceal.


MYTH 1: Human trafficking always takes place in illegal industries

It’s true that some cases of human trafficking take place within illegal industries. Children or teenagers are forced to work in cannabis ‘factories’ set up in residential premises. , forced into sex work or sometimes even bought and sold for organ harvesting.

But one of the big problems is that human trafficking is part of supply chains of companies selling everyday products like tea, chocolate and clothes. People are made to work in terrible conditions, and not given the pay that they were told they would receive. Big companies often don’t even know where the materials products come from – but it is their responsibility to know and to make sure their products aren’t coming from forced labor. STOP THE TRAFFIK campaigns for companies to root out human trafficking in their supply chains.

MYTH2: People who are being trafficked will always try to seek help

Human traffickers often use psychological means of control over those they are trafficking – such threats and deception. The trafficker might threaten to harm a person’s family if he escapes, or may make promises about the pay the person will receive.

This means that people who are being trafficked may not seek help even if they are in public places or situations where people could be made aware of their circumstances. They may be afraid of the consequences if they do, or they may be getting deceived by human traffickers. If you suspect someone is being trafficked, the fact that they aren’t trying to get help doesn’t mean that they are okay.

MYTH 3: People who are trafficked are always taken by force

Traffickers often prey on people who are already in vulnerable situations. Their biggest tools are deception and psychological manipulation, which means they often don’t use force to take away peoples’ freedom.

In Tamil Nadu, India, traffickers visit poor and marginalized communities to persuade parents to sign up their daughters for employment in textiles factories. They will give false promises about the hours, wages and working conditions – and will even show parents pictures of modern, clean buildings as examples of where their daughters will be working. Given these promises, the parents willingly send their daughters away to the factories. But the reality is that the girls sent off with the traffickers will be forced to work long hours in hazardous conditions, and most do not even receive the pay they were promised.

MYTH 4: Statistics on trafficking are accurate

Trafficking is a criminal industry based on secrecy – which means that data is difficult to collect and concrete statistics about the scale of human trafficking are hard to come by. The figures quoted by many news sources, even if presented as hard facts, are often just estimates made by experts based on limited number of human trafficking cases that have been detected.

At STOP THE TRAFFIK we use the most credible and frequently quoted statistics, but we always make sure to emphasise that these are just estimates.

MYTH 5: Traffickers only target those in poorer communities

Although some forms of trafficking are more prevalent in poor and rural communities, traffickers can operate anywhere, in any country and in any community. Just because a person is from a developed country or a relatively affluent situation doesn’t mean that they are not at risk from traffickers’ deception and manipulation.

STOP THE TRAFFIK has worked with Sophie Hayes – a woman from the UK who is a survivor of human trafficking and who has now written a book about her experiences set up a foundation to combat sex trafficking and exploitation. Sophie’s situation was very different from living in poverty or in a small rural village – and her story shows that anyone could be targeted by traffickers.

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Human Trafficking and People Smuggling: The Distinction

In recent months the news has been filled with stories of people fleeing war and unrest in the Middle East to seek better, safer lives for themselves and their families in Europe.

But since European countries impose limits on the number of people they will allow, many people are resorting to crossing borders illegally – often paying smugglers to transport them by boat or lorry. These trips are dangerous and put people at risk, as numerous tragic losses of life have shown.

The news stories describing these events often refer to the smugglers paid to take people across borders as ‘human traffickers’ – but in fact, human trafficking and people smuggling are two very different things.

The distinction between human trafficking and people smuggling can get blurry – and reporters using the two terms interchangeably doesn’t help.

Knowledge is one of our primary tools in protecting vulnerable people from being exploited at the hands of human traffickers, so it’s important to understand why human trafficking and people smuggling are different.

Human trafficking and people smuggling: what’s the difference?

Human trafficking involves people being bought and sold for profit. They are taken involuntarily from their communities by force or deception and are moved to a different place, where they are forced into street crime, domestic servitude, labour and other activities.

The key difference between people smuggling and human trafficking is that those who are being taken across borders by smugglers are doing so voluntarily. Smuggling is a transaction between people who are paying to be taken somewhere and the smugglers who are paid to take them. People are not deceived or taken by force but ‘employ’ smugglers to take them across borders without detection.

Traffickers take people against their will and exploit them for profit; smugglers are paid to take people across borders – this, in principle, is the difference between human trafficking and people smuggling. But there are also some ways in which the two converge – people who pay to be transported across borders put themselves in a situation where they are vulnerable to being trafficked.

People smuggling and the threat of trafficking

Paying to be taken across borders by a smuggler is a desperate measure. The means of transport are crowded and unsafe – thousands of people have lost their lives trying to reach their destination at sea or by land. People put themselves entirely at the mercy of the smugglers who are responsible for transporting them, which can lead to them being taken advantage of. It is in situations like this where the line between people smuggling and human trafficking becomes less clear.

In principle, the relationship between the smuggler and the people being taken across borders should end when they reach their destination – this is what people believe when they pay to be taken across borders. But in practice, this may not be the case.

Smugglers often keep people in their power even once they have reached their destination – they can force people to work for years in illegal industries in order to pay off their debts to the smuggler. Further, smugglers are even able to take people to destinations they did not want to end up at. In entering into agreements with smugglers, people give smugglers a power over them that can be abused.

Even if people manage to safely cross borders, their illegal status can make it difficult for them to find work to support themselves. This means that they are especially at risk of being targeted by traffickers. Traffickers prey on people who are in desperate situations by making false offers of well-paying jobs and a better life – but the traffickers’ true aim is to exploit people for their own gain.


Why we need to protect refugees from the threat of trafficking

At STOP THE TRAFFIK we work to stop people being bought and sold, exploited for profit by others and treated as products rather than human beings. In principle people smuggling doesn’t involve any of this. Although people smuggling is an illegal and dangerous practice that puts peoples’ lives at risk, these people are voluntarily committing to being smuggled across borders.

But we must be aware that when people are in precarious circumstances – like having to cross borders in search of safety from war – they are particularly at risk from human traffickers. Regardless of our views about immigration, those of us who are committed to stopping human trafficking need to look out for people who are in situations where they can be targeted by human traffickers.

It’s only by working together to offer protection to the most vulnerable members of our global society that we can prevent human trafficking from taking place.

(Photo: Christopher Jahn/IFRC)

STOP THE TRAFFIK at the Financial Times

Financial Times’ global reach can transform the fight against trafficking

The greatest gift to a trafficker is the ability to operate in the shadows and work unseen, to maintain a state of denial enabling the growth of profits through this global crime to continue. To bring trafficking out of the shadows and achieve its effective disruption, STOP THE TRAFFIK has always been dependent on the life giving oxygen of large scale awareness.

That is why the news that the Financial Times has chosen us to be their Seasonal Appeal charity is a massive boost for STOP THE TRAFFIK. They are a powerful new partner with the clout to make a real difference in the battle against forced labour and trafficking around the world.

With the potential to shine the spotlight on the global economic debate around 21st century slavery, the FT and STOP THE TRAFFIK can together lead the empowerment of people, the utilisation of technology, and the gathering and sharing of knowledge necessary to bring disruption to this global crime.

Earlier this year we joined other charities in bidding for this coveted partnership and progressed through the stages, culminating in a final last month. STOP THE TRAFFIK volunteers of all ages visited the FT’s offices in London, standing gagged and dressed in black, holding written personal trafficking testimonies. The team also engaged in conversations and discussions with the FT team and presented via Skype to their offices around the world.

The team at STOP THE TRAFFIK has worked exceptionally hard to secure this partnership since April – but the reality is that this fantastic outcome is down to the continuing hard work that countless people across the world have put into the fight against human trafficking. We’re also aware that a number of charities were under consideration by the FT. Their work is both invaluable and inspirational. We are humbled to have been chosen and are determined to maximise this opportunity, empowering communities around the globe, to ultimately STOP THE TRAFFIK.

Ruth Dearnley

Read the full press release here

A tea picker working in the gardens in Assam

Keep shining that light- a visit to the Tea Gardens of Assam.

The first time I visited the tea gardens of Assam I was confronted with stories which remain etched on my mind and heart. We were in the garden to a run kids clubs to raise awareness about human trafficking. A community meeting had been called for anyone who wished to attend and after we had introduced ourselves and explained what we were doing, the Community Leader asked if anyone had questions.

One by one people stood and their story was translated. They were all more or less the same. They told of their child or brother or sister being taken by an ‘agent’. When we asked what an agent was, they said they were employment or migration agents. They knew who they were, they were their neighbours and sometimes their relatives. They told of being offered money for their children to get an education and work out of the gardens. One even said that when they refused, their two daughters were kidnapped the next night.

Sometimes they had received news for a few months and money sent home. A part of the deception to make people believe they were ok. But eventually they had no further contact. Many had small photos to show us, tattered and faded, some sobbed.

NGOs working in the region believe that these missing children may have been deceived, lured away by false promises of a good job and a better future, and ultimately trafficked into exploitation.

We left the church building and wandered in smaller groups with the people as they showed us the extreme poverty they lived and worked in. Tiny houses where some had lived for generations which they adorned with pride but such adornment could not hide the cracks. We stepped over puddles made by broken pipes mixing drinking water with sewage. They told us of grinding picking quotas, in the stifling heat and humidity that I could hardly move through. No wonder these people were so easily tricked into the web of deception human traffickers weave. We saw workers without protection, spraying pesticides they were obtaining from drums that were leaking, and children working in the processing factory part of the garden. When I asked two of the young girls their age one said 13 and the other said 8. They were not the only ones.

Visiting Assam this time was a case of “where you stand determines what you see.” The view from the tea garden owners is that they are making a difference – clean water supplies, houses being repaired, drainage installed and programs to build resilient communities beginning. They asked us to acknowledge they are a good company and their positive actions. They are indeed taking the first steps. From the local people’s point of view, this is a tiny beginning and only happened because a spotlight was shone on the situation by the rest of the world. They asked us to keep shining that light. We must.

I will never watch an ad for tea in the same way. Now I know what is happening behind the tranquil scenery of this and many other gardens. We must speak out. This has to stop.


Carolyn Kitto, STOP THE TRAFFIK Australia Coordinator reporting back from her time visiting the tea plantations in Assam, India where she also delivered the Walk Free and STOP THE TRAFFIK petition to Tata and APPL.

Find out more about STOP THE TRAFFIK’s Not my cup of tea campaign:

Find out more about Walk Free:

Walk Free ORG logos revised 27 03 13-09

On the road with Ruth Dearnley, STOP THE TRAFFIK CEO

Ruth, the CEO of STOP THE TRAFFIK, recently travelled to the USA to meet with our growing number of activists who are developing some amazing work. In this blog she shares a reflection she wrote, inspired by the 50 year commemoration of events at Selma Bridge, Alabama in 1965.

It’s an extraordinary country.

I’ve been in the USA for a few weeks now and it has been a great privilege to meet so many wonderful people who are a part of the STOP THE TRAFFIK global movement.

I have visited 5 different states, skyped live into a STOP THE TRAFFIK event in a coffee shop in Boston, met numerous STOP THE TRAFFIK activists, people across business, government, faith groups, media, community leaders and NGOs. I have spent this time listening to what is taking place across the USA, what STOP THE TRAFFIK is already doing and what could be.

Currently I am staying with friends in the unique city of Atlanta and for the first time in my life I got the opportunity to sit and watch the Oscars ‘live’.

For all the hype and rhetoric it was worth watching to witness the breath taking moment when the cast and song writers performed the Oscar winning song ‘Glory from the filmSelma’. Selma is a historical drama based on the marches that took place 50 years ago and led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This film felt poignant as these events that took place not far from where I am staying and 1965 was the year I was born! There is something unique and powerful to be nearby where events took place, to be among the people, walk the streets, and to feel the passion and power of people’s plea for justice.

It reminded me afresh that we stand on the shoulders of great people who walked across bridges of division and sacrificed their lives for what is right.

How many more bridges must we cross to cry out for the rights of those who are excluded, ignored and forgotten?

How many more roads must we march along together calling for true glory to be seen, when all people become free and no one is brought and sold?

Thank you for being part of STOP THE TRAFFIK and for all you are doing.

Each of our footsteps count in the march of a global movement. You count.

Be encouraged and inspired by those who truly showed us how to march well and change history.”

If you would like to support STOP THE TRAFFIK please donate here:

Be a STOP THE TRAFFIK chocolate hero in your school

This Easter you can join STOP THE TRAFFIK and help us campaign to end child trafficking in chocolate.

Download and use our three free lessons for ages 8-11 (key stage 2/3). Young people in your school will learn about what human trafficking is, feel equipped to take action to help prevent it, and excited to be empowered campaigners!

The lessons link human trafficking and chocolate focusing on our Easter campaign- we are asking supermarkets to stock more certified Easter eggs in 2016. Certified Easter eggs have the Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance or UTZ Certified mark which indicates that the chocolate was made in monitored conditions aimed to prevent human trafficking. Your pupils will be able to join hundreds of STOP THE TRAFFIK members from around the world in our specific Easter campaign actions by:
· Signing our petition: either themselves or asking friends and family to sign
· Delivering a postcard to their local supermarket: order your postcards here or download your own here >>

Your pupils will also find out about William Wilberforce and how he helped end the transatlantic slave trade; discover where chocolate originates from and the chocolate making process; they will think about out how it might feel to have a price tag; and they will get hands on creating their own posters and campaign letters.

This learning journey will take young people from being learners to activists- finding out how they can have a positive impact and prevent social justice issues such as human trafficking, through their own actions and by influencing the actions of others.
You will all end up being STOP THE TRAFFIK classroom hero’s!

At STOP THE TRAFFIK we believe that young people have a vital role in preventing human trafficking, not only in knowing what it is so they can protect themselves and their friends, but also as future voices who can challenge a world where human trafficking currently thrives.

Each lesson includes lesson plans, info sheets for teachers, PowerPoints and activity resources.

Find out more about the lessons here:
Download them here:

Don’t forget to send us photos of your class in action or the posters you make- we’d love to see them!


Happy Ever After

A blog from our partner Oasis Belgium, who work with victims of human trafficking, introducing their new resources Love Abroad, aimed to reduce the vulnerability of women coming to Europe for marriage.

Are you looking for a Russian wife, or how about a Thai beauty, another option could be a hot Latino? If so go onto google and search for a ‘Mail Order Bride’.  Tens of thousands of websites will appear informing you that they can guarantee you love and happiness. To the men who may think of using this service we want to warn you that this offer does not come cheap. And to the women it may not be the happy ever after you seek.

Oasis Belgium works with Thai women who came to Belgium to marry Belgian men, and although they have a marriage certificate, they have also become victims of human trafficking.

Pami* used to work in a factory in Thailand; she had been through a divorce and was really struggling to make ends meet. Her friend then suggested that she tried to find a European man by looking online. So Pami went online, and signed up to a marriage agency, lots of girls in Thailand were looking for American and European men online, so why not? It wasn’t long before she met a charming Belgian guy. After chatting for a while they got married and she moved to Belgium. Everything was great at first, but it wasn’t long before she realised, it was not the happy ever after she had thought it would be. Her husband wanted to set up an erotic Thai massage parlour, for want of a better word a brothel.  He forced her to work there and to recruit other women to work there too. It wasn’t hard to find other Thai ladies to join. They soon discovered that there were lots of Thai girls in Belgian, who had moved there for marriage, but had ended up being victims of domestic violence and had run away. Pami had been deceived as she was made to believe she was going to Belgium for marriage but once arriving in Belgium she was introduced to sexual exploitation.

Many couples that meet online, through dating agencies or marriage agencies, find great and happy relationships. However for others like Pami end up in situations of exploitation. We have therefore created a resource called Love Abroad. This aims to reduce the vulnerability of women who come to Europe for marriage and to reduce the risk for them being trafficked? We aim to do this by giving them warnings, help-lines, information about culture shock and international relationships as well as tips for settling into a new country. We are working with embassies so that they will provide this information to women when they are issued with a marriage visa.

Check it out at:

Ways that you can be involved:

Sharing the website on social media

Research for more information about: help-lines, language lessons, support groups

Contact us at: for more info!

*name changed

Take Action This Easter

16th Feb- Blue Egg

At this time of year supermarkets across the country and around the world are gearing up to sell millions of chocolate Easter eggs.

Yesterday I noticed the shelves of my local supermarket already being filled with an exciting selection of Easter eggs in bright colourful packaging. I decided to have a browse through and found a range of different sizes and tantalising flavours, but sadly I couldn’t find many certified Easter Eggs!

A certified Easter egg is one stamped with the Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance or UTZ Certified mark. These marks show customers like you and me that the chocolate in our Easter eggs has been made in monitored conditions that aim to prevent the trafficking of children.

But, why do we need these certifications? The shocking truth is that boys as young as ten are trafficked to perform the backbreaking and hazardous job of harvesting cocoa beans in the Cote D’Ivoire, West Africa. The cocoa beans they have to harvest end up in the chocolate we buy and love from our local shops, the chocolate in our Easter eggs.

Human Trafficking is the world’s fastest growing global crime. Despite improvements in the chocolate industry, human trafficking remains an ongoing and deep seeded problem. Together we have to put pressure on the chocolate industry to stop children and adults being trafficked and exploited to produce the chocolate we eat.

This Easter we’re taking action to try and prevent this- we’re calling on leading supermarkets in the UK, USA and Australia to double the number of certified Easter eggs they stock.

They will be ordering eggs for next year very soon, so it is vital that they hear from us today!

Take action now by:

  • Sign our petition:

Help us reach 10,000 signatures and add your name to our petition asking supermarkets to take action to help end child trafficking in chocolate by stocking double the number of certified Easter eggs next year.

Sign our petition now >

  • Ordering our Easter postcards

Visit the STOP THE TRAFFIK page to order your postcards and hand them in to the supermarket manager on your next weekly shop.

Order your postcards now >

Thank you for taking action, for more information and creative ways of get involved this Easter visit >

Together we can make Easter #Traffikfree

2014 STOP THE TRAFFIK Highlights

30 Dec

As the year draws to a close, I often find myself reminiscing about the events of the past year. And what a year it has been at STOP THE TRAFFIK!

You are part of a rapidly growing global movement of people who are passionate about ending the buying and selling of people. This powerful movement has gone from strength to strength throughout 2014 and our cry for justice has been heard loud and clear in so many ways.

Our network has expanded- we now have leadership in Australia, the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, India, Brazil, USA, Belgium and Canada, as well as thousands of activists in over 70 countries who are creatively taking action in their own lives and through their communities to STOP human trafficking. Check out some of the 2014 highlights,

2014 STOP THE TRAFFIK Highlights 

  • The launch of two new global campaigns! Fashion and Tea lovers around the world are now taking action to STOP THE TRAFFIK
  • Tens of thousands of people have discovered how they can prevent trafficking at the GIFT box which hit the streets across Brazil, United Kingdom, USA and Slovakia
  • STOP THE TRAFFIK has led the debate around the inclusion of “supply chains” in the proposed UK Modern Slavery Bill
  • Creative awareness-raising events have taken place all over the world – Freedom Relays, Art Auctions, Clothes Swaps, Flash mobs, Film nights, Marathons to name just a few!
  • Hundreds of teachers, faith leaders, police officers and social workers have been trained to spot the signs of trafficking in their community
  • Over 1000 churches took part in Freedom Sunday – a day of pray and action against trafficking
  • Chain Checker went live! Businesses now have a simple tool to help them become traffik-free
  • Earlier this month Irene Rosenfeld (CEO, Mondelez) received a giant Christmas gift containing messages from thousands of activists calling for Traffik Free Chocolate

As we look ahead to the possibilities of 2015, STOP THE TRAFFIK will continue to pioneer ground-breaking ways for ordinary people like you and me to take action. Watch out for new ideas and exciting new tools for everyone to use. We must make it easy to gather information, share what we know and work locally across the globe to prevent this grievous crime. We want to see our movement extend its reach and make it possible for every person in every country to shout STOP.

Give a gift to STOP THE TRAFFIK – Help us shine a light in dark places. There are people all over the world who are vulnerable to the trafficker’s trade. Help us to create communities where the vulnerable are safe and the traffickers find it impossible to operate. >> Donate now 

We look forward to taking action with you in the New Year.

Happy New Year from all at STOP THE TRAFFIK

Antislavery Day: The Work Continues

On Saturday 18 October along with NGOs from across the Europe, STOP THE TRAFFIK activists took action to shout out against modern slavery which, according to the most recent ILO figures, affects 21 million people worldwide. Hundreds took part in the Big Auction, choosing to be bought and sold in the name of those that don’t have a choice. We’re incredibly grateful to those that joined in – on top of the vital and bold awareness raising they did, their efforts also contributed financially to the work of STOP THE TRAFFIK.

Our #TraffikFree chocolate, fashion and tea ( campaigns have also received thousands of signatures, demonstrating to our leading brands that taking the threat of trafficking out of the supply chains needs to be a priority. Our message is clear, we love the products but can never truly enjoy them until we know the taint of forced labour, entrapment and exploitation is removed. Through Freedom Sunday, UK churches and faith groups joined with others across the world to cry out against human trafficking and learn what they can do in their communities to create change. We all have our part to play and Antislavery Day is about acknowledging that and growing the movement that seeks an end to trafficking in all of its heinous forms.


If Antislavery Day is a catalyst for change, then where are we heading? Our campaigns continue to build momentum, particularly our #Traffikfree Chocolate campaign focusing on the largest chocolate company in the world, Mondelez Intl. and asking them to face up to their accountabilities in addressing child trafficking in the Ivory Coast. On Tuesday 21st October, 300,000 people globally were reached simultaneously through a Thunderclap campaign signing up even more to the cause. The next stage is a huge postcard drop off (in the tens of thousands) at Mondelez’s headquarters in Chicago – there’s still time to order postcards for your friends, families and communities to sign but to contribute to the big drop, we’ll need them back Monday 17 November. If you haven’t already, get them ordered now!

If you’re keen to get involved in our Make Fashion #Traffikfree campaign then the great news is that there are even more ways for you to get the word out. One quick way is to take to Facebook and Twitter and get asking your brands directly what they do to address trafficking in their supply chains. Here’s an example of one activist that is already challenging their favourite brands to get vocal!

TweetThis is a brilliant opportunity to positively challenge your favourite brands about issues that affect every one of us. Here are the things we want you to ask about:

1. What are your brands doing to keep their clothes #traffikfree?

2. Will they sign up to the Make Fashion #Traffikfree protocol? >>

Our suggestion to get you started is: ‘Hey @[brand], love the clothes but are they #traffikfree? @stopthetraffik‘ – let us know how you’re getting on.

Our #Traffikfree Tea campaign is beginning to pick up speed. We are asking Tata Global Beverages to do more to address the working and living conditions on their associated tea plantations that are fuelling unique forms of trafficking from the plantations into nearby cities. If you’ve not already signed the petition, head over to to sign up and make sure you keep an eye on our social media accounts and newsletters for more creative ways to engage!

Get Equipped:

Order chocolate postcards:

UK >>
US >>
AUS >>email:


Five words? What’s the fuss?

Those of you that have been keeping up with our Modern Slavery Bill campaign will know that we’re adamant that the bill is short by just five words. The five words in question are “(including in its supply chains)” and in this blog, we’re going to explain why this amendment is so incredibly important.

What do we mean by “supply chains”?

Global companies are formed from complex webs of production spread all across the world. Cotton that is picked in China might be transported to India to be dyed and then sewn together in Bangladesh. It’s done this way because it’s the quickest and cheapest way for multinational corporations to get their goods produced and on the shelves in time for the next season. The problem is that with so many links in the chain, many companies have little to no real oversight of their suppliers in terms of their ethical and environmental impact on the communities that are producing.

This means that farms and producing communities in developing nations are hotbeds for exploitation and human trafficking. The demands of international business mean that without the legal frameworks and economic strength to back them up, any calls for higher wages and better working conditions are extremely difficult to act upon. It also means that trafficked labour is almost impossible to trace, as the impoverished communities in which the factories and farms are based are powerless to speak out. Trapped in a catch-22 between excruciating labour for little pay or the starvation of an entire family, these communities find themselves exceptionally susceptible to the deception, coercion and forceful behaviours of traffickers who seek to exploit their vulnerabilities further.

Until the demand for cheap, no-questions-asked labour is curbed, change will be an uphill struggle. This is why it is so critical to use this opportunity to ensure that corporations operating in the UK take responsibility for all the workers they directly or indirectly employ. We need companies to take the lead because they are the ones that can really begin to challenge the status quo.

Why the resistance then?

10486097_10152231057377197_1904413335633016903_nWell, firstly there is the issue of subcontracting. Often businesses do not have contracts with their suppliers directly but with companies based in the countries themselves that source materials and labour on their behalf. Many companies do have their own ethical sourcing policies which will be part of the contracts they offer, but often this is not extended to subcontractors. There appears to be a reluctance within the business community to acknowledge that standards of subcontracted labour are the responsibility of the buyer. We believe that there’s no excuse for ethical businesses to shirk this responsibility. STOP THE TRAFFIK’s Make Fashion Traffik-Free Protocol is something we ask clothing companies to sign up and commit to which sets out our terms for fair labour. If companies are serious about ending trafficking in their supply chains then they need to get serious about addressing breaches of fair labour at all points in the chain.

Secondly, there’s the production cost. Many politicians debating the bill are concerned about the implications of these demands on consumers and how this might impact on poorer customers in developed nations. This is a misconception, though. The reality is that that paying labourers a fair wage for the garments they make as well as enforcing improved working conditions and workplace securities would involve an increase of just a couple of pence per garment. Factory owners in Bangladesh have told reporters that for just US$0.90 per pair, jeans can be produced in safe and humane working conditions but buyers for multinational corporations insist on US$0.75.[1] Behaviours like these are the fuel for disasters like the one that happened Rana Plaza, leaving workers in dangerous environments with neither food nor voice and create the desperate circumstances in which traffickers thrive.

There’s another layer to it, though. Businesses have a legal obligation to make all necessary steps to act in the interest of, and earn profit for, their shareholders. This means that even if a director wants to address trafficking in their supply chains (and we know that there are many that do), they could still come under legal scrutiny for making a decision that improves the lives of workers if it means that shareholders lose out on revenue. To avoid being penalised for doing the right thing, conscientious directors and business leaders need this amendment so that the law is on their side.

Your Role

This small amendment to the Companies Act 2006 is all that would be required to ensure that companies have a legal obligation to address poor labour standards and human trafficking across their entire production line. This is our best chance for some time to address the gaps in our laws that allow companies to turn a blind eye to the exploitation of impoverished communities.

We want you to join us in making sure this opportunity isn’t wasted. We want you to write to your MP to make sure your voice is heard. Click here to download a template letter, or feel free to write your own.

If you’re based outside the UK, we also want you to contact to your representatives to ask what commitments they are making to ending trafficked labour in global supply chains.

STOP THE TRAFFIK will also continue to encourage businesses to take up their responsibilities in ending trafficking. The fight to end trafficking involves a concentrated effort between lawmakers, industry and individual communities. This amendment, however, would give a legal basis to our demands that companies operating and selling in the UK are held accountable to their responsibilities to prevent exploitation in the production of the commodities we buy and love.

STOP THE TRAFFIK’s affiliate, Finance Against Trafficking is an organisation dedica
ted to helping businesses address human trafficking in their supply chains. They offer resources such as the Chain Checker, a free online tool to discover risks and vulnerabilities to trafficking within the business, highlight areas of concern and provide practical guidance and steps businesses can take to mitigate this risk.





Sustainable cocoa 1 website

Change is happening in the chocolate industry

We are delighted that Nestlé have made a public announcement stating that they are on target to achieve 100% cocoa from sustainable sources by the end of 2015, becoming the first major confectionery company in UK and Ireland to achieve this milestone.

It has been confirmed that by the end of 2015 all Nestlé confectionery containing cocoa sold within the in UK and Ireland will be certified through either UTZ or Fairtrade.

This is a great step forward! Certification through credible, independent standards bodies such as Fairtrade, UTZ Certified, and Rainforest Alliance, is a key step in eradicating child trafficking in the chocolate industry.


Send Nestlé a message through social media to thank them for making this commitment to certify their entire chocolate range. Here are some suggestions:

Thank you @Nestle for certifying your entire chocolate range in the UK & Ireland by the end of 2015! #togetherwecan @stopthetraffik

Thank you @Nestle for your commitment to @stopthetraffik in your supply chains.

We can’t wait to buy #traffikfree @Nestle products! Thank you for certifying more of your range!

Download this image to put in your post:

Why not send a selfie? – Take a #selfie with you and a @Nestle kitkat an
d post your thank you message with the hashtags #traffikfree #selfie and tag @stopthetraffik


This week the Fair Labor Association (FLA) released their audit of the farms in Nestlé’s Cocoa Plan in Cote d’Ivoire. Assessors found four children under the age of 15 working in the cocoa fields, as well as one case of forced labour (child trafficked labour) involving a young worker from Burkina Faso, believed to be 15, who had been working without pay or documentation since he was 13. 

The Nestlé Cocoa Plan “seeks to improve the lives of cocoa farmers and their communities, addressing child labour while improving productivity and ensuringSustainable cocoa 1 website the flow of good quality, sustainable cocoa”. Nestlé have made commitments to eliminate the use of child labour across the cooperatives within the Nestlé Cocoa Plan. In response to this finding Nestlé said “As a company, we are doing all we can but we acknowledge that, as long as children work on cocoa farms, there will always be more to do” Sandra Martinez, Global Head of Chocolate and Confectioner.

STOP THE TRAFFIK commends Nestlé for their Cocoa Plan and their partnership with the FLA which has resulted in these children being found. Of course, we look forward to the day when no child trafficked labour is found in chocolate production, but discovering these children means they can be remediated and the problem can be addressed. 

Finding these children gives us a clear picture that child trafficking is still occurring in Cote d’Ivoire. It sends a message to chocolate producers that there is still more to be done to totally eradicate human trafficking.

If you are interested in reading the full report and the actions Nestlé is planning please go to  


We would like to see Nestlé’s commitments go even further. We ask Nestlé to publicly release their intentions to expand their Cocoa Plan (which currently covers 20% of their cocoa supply chain) and commit to 100% certification of every chocolate product sold around the world. We would like to see the Nestlé Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation System rolled out across the whole of the cocoa supply chain and the see evidence of the financial commitment that Nestlé are prepared to make to tackle the crime of human trafficking. 


Since 2006, together we have put pressure on the chocolate industry. Together we have raised our voice on behalf of those who have been trafficked and exploited. The recent announcements from Nestlé demonstrate that your voice has been heard. Because of your actions, the industry is changing, thank you!

At STOP THE TRAFFIK we believe prevention of human trafficking is essential. Behind every break-through like this there is a lot of research, negotiation, education, awareness raising and resource development for campaigning. That all costs money.  We thank you, our activists, for your part in campaigning and ask you to support us financially so together we can continue to STOP THE TRAFFIK.

To make a donation today visit:


Countdown to Freedom Sunday Starts Now

Human trafficking is a grave crime against humanity. It is a form of modern day slavery and a profound violation of the intrinsic dignity of human beings. It is intolerable that millions of fellow human beings should be violated in this way, subjected to inhuman exploitation and deprived of their dignity and rights. This outrage should concern each one of us, because what affects one part of humanity affects us all. Virtually every part of this world is touched in some way by the cruelty and violence associated with this criminal activity. If we are to combat this evil then we must work together to prevent the crime, support the survivors and prosecute the criminals.” – The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby

On Sunday 19th October 2014, communities and faith groups all over the world will join together to raise awareness of the crime of human trafficking and show the world our compassion for the men, women and children who are trafficked and exploited.

Freedom Sunday began out of a movement organised by Not For Sale in the USA, uniting a group of churches together for a day of focus, prayer and worship centred around human trafficking. The following year, Not For Sale partnered with STOP THE TRAFFIK in Australia to involve Australian groups and denominations. This year, we’re delighted that Freedom Sunday is involving even more groups and communities from across the world, joining together in prayer and action to demonstrate a united and tangible response to human trafficking. This abhorrent crime must not be tolerated. We will make commitments to take action to prevent trafficking in our local and global communities.

Human Trafficking is the world’s fastest growing global crime and is one of the largest sources of income for organised criminals. The profits are high and the risks are low. It’s a system based on greed, control and power. It’s a global market place where people are the product and everyone has a price tag. This crime is based on an international conveyor belt of transactions and exchange, with sophisticated trade routes and communications. This human product creates profit in the tens of billions every year and growing. Those trafficked are often invisible, always powerless, and are put to work.

That’s why it’s important that we have a day to concentrate our efforts and reflect on what we are able to do to prevent trafficking in our context.


STOP THE TRAFFIK activists come from a variety of faiths and cultures, brought together by the common goal of ending human trafficking. We celebrate this diversity for the wonderful display of global unity that it is, but we also want to support cultures and faith networks in finding an expression of activism that fits within their context. That’s why we’re calling on people from all systems of belief to work with us in developing resources that will be most helpful to them so that Freedom Sunday can act as a galvanising force in coordinating efforts against human trafficking everywhere.

It’s a day to focus, a day to lament and a day to cry out against global injustice. It’s also a day to empower and take stock. Trafficking occurs when people are taken from one community into another, so as voices within our own communities we have the power to effect change. Freedom Sunday is about equipping communities with the knowledge and the confidence that is necessary to stamp out trafficking in our areas.

The resources for churches are available to download from our website. They include suggested sermon notes, liturgies and a Freedom Prayer written specially by renowned poet Gerard Kelly. This year, we’re also excited to partner with, and develop resources for, other communities (faith-based or otherwise) that would like to join us in making the day a truly universal event. If you’re a representative of a group that is passionate about fighting trafficking and would like to work with us in developing resources to suit your gatherings then please get in touch by emailing

We’d also love to hear from anyone who is preparing their Freedom Sunday programme and to hear stories of how raising awareness of human trafficking has made an impact. If you have any stories or further questions then please get in touch by the above email address.

Together we can stop trafficking and start freedom.


GIFT Box update from Glasgow

When you volunteer to go out onto the streets of Glasgow you have to brace yourself for the unexpected. Whilst you know you can always rely on the Glasgow patter, you don’t expect such unrelenting, searing heat. Scottish skin doesn’t always cope well with such weather. However, between dashes to the shops for fluids and factor 30 we have had a wonderful experience of raising awareness of human trafficking in Scotland. We have had tremendously encouraging discussions with people from around the country and from the other side of the world, the vast majority of whom have shared our desire to see this terrible practice eradicated. Only a handful of people turned away in disappointment when they realised we weren’t actually offering them work, as the boxes imply!

GIFT BOX - GLASGOW 1When you aren’t talking about the football, Glaswegians have a tremendous sense of togetherness. Despite the reputation as atough city, Glasgow’s people share a palpable sense of common humanity and a spirit of generosity. It is no surprise, therefore, that when we talk about human trafficking there is a real sense of outrage that such exploitation would happen anywhere, let alone in our city.

Human trafficking doesn’t appear to be an entirely new issue for the majority of people we speak to. Most have heard about it, read about it in books, or seen Liam Neeson dismantle trafficking rings single-handedly in Taken. However, the idea that people are being exploited within a short distance of where they live and work is genuinely shocking to many of the people we have spoken to. Upon hearing that children may be being exploited in nearby tenements; that men are forced to work in our agriculture and fisheries or that women are being held in brothels there is a sense of outrage and a willingness to take action. Our petition to the Scottish Government, asking them to include measures on supply chains, has proven extremely popular.

As we reach the half-way point the weather has turned. The heavens have opened and the city feels more like home again. However we expect more of the same from the visitors to our GIFT Boxes: a feisty determination to see the end of human trafficking in Scotland.

Euan Fraser – Stop The Traffik Glasgow

Stop The Traffik Glasgow are operating the UN.GIFT Boxes in partnership with More Than Gold 2014. If you’re in Glasgow and would like to find out more about how to get involved, see the links below.


GIFT box on the move

The UN GIFT box has been on the move! From Belfast, to Brazil, to Glasgow, the GIFT box has been making a mark, and spreading the word of STOP THE TRAFFIK.



The World Cup has come to an end. Well done to Germany for winning! Whilst the world has had football fever, STOP THE TRAFFIK has been moving around Brazil with the GIFT box. Our volunteers out in Brazil have done an amazing job, raising awareness of human trafficking within Brazil.

The GIFT box was set up in 3 different locations around Brazil in order to raise awareness to a variety of people. It began its journey by the Christ Redeemer, where it was opened by various members of the government and the Brazillian press.

It then moved to Rio de Janeiro’s red light districts where it was staffed by women who are working within the sex industry and want to help end trafficking for sexual exploitation. The box was then moved to the famous Ipanema beach, which is a firm favorite with tourists. The final location was in the neighborhood Penha, outside Rio’s most dramatically set church.

The number of people who came to the GIFT box was staggering, with over 13,000 people being engaged during the first couple of weeks. This number continued to grow, with the volunteers raising awareness to a variety of people.

Our partners- Brazillian NGO 27million moved around Brazil to 4 of the world cup hosting cities with other anti-trafficking activists, including the NGO Operation Blessing. During this road trip they encountered both tourists and locals alike and engaged with them. They handed out STOP THE TRAFFIK leaflets, designed to raise awareness as well as equipping people with the facts on human trafficking and how to keep themselves safe.

Without the help of all of the volunteers out in Brazil, and our partners from the Rio State Government and the NGO 27 Million we could not have raised awareness to so many people, so a massive thank you!

STOP THE TRAFFIKS time in Brazil is not over though, this is just the beginning!

To find out more about STOP THE TRAFFIKS time in Brazil, and to see more photos, head over to STOP THE TRAFFIK Brazil’s website>


gift  box ni

The GIFT box has been in Belfast, hosted by our partners No More Traffik last month. #GIFTboxNI moved around Belfast throughout June. From the City Hall, to The Titanic to Stormont (Parliament buildings). The GIFT box has raised awareness of trafficking within Northern Ireland, and has had visits from various members of parliament, including the department of justice. Even the Queen drove past! Well done to all volunteers involved and the NO More Traffik team! #GIFTboxNI will be moving around Northern Ireland over the next few months, so keep a look out and show your support!

Keep up to date, and check out pictures from #GIFTboxNI check out their facebook page> No More Trafficking


To round up a summer of sport, the Commonwealth games are upon us, and once again STOP THE TRAFFIK will be there! We are hosting a GIFT box in Glasgow along with More Than Gold. More Than Gold is a charity which is working in association with many churches across Scotland; they are uniting to raise awareness of human trafficking in both their local communities and around Scotland. STOP THE TRAFFIK is very happy to be working in partnership with this charity.

There will be four GIFT boxes around Glasgow, three of which will be at different locations throughout the games on Sauchiehall Street, and one shall be at Glasgow Cathedral.

We look forward to updating you on #STOPTHETRAFFIKTeam14’s progress and working with More Than Gold! Keep up to date with the GIFT box and check out our:

facebook page: STOP THE TRAFFIK.





The ugly side of fashion!

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The fashion industry is big business. Most of us are on the lookout for the perfect summer outfit. However, weaved throughout the fashion supply chain there is the exploitation of the most vulnerable. STOP THE TRAFFIK has been campaigning to raise awareness of this exploitation and give a voice to those who go unheard.

STOP THE TRAFFIK’s Make Fashion #TraffikFree campaign is concentrating on the beginning stages of the fashion supply chain, with a focus on the Tamil Nadu region in India. This region accounts for over 65% of India’s spinning units and 60% of India’s knitted products.  Many young women and girls end up working within the Tamil Nadu region as they are employed under the Sumangali Scheme.  This is an attractive scheme for those in rural communities, and struggle to cope with the oppression of poverty and the practice of dowry.

The Sumangali scheme exploits the poorest and most vulnerable. Many of the young girls within the scheme are recruited and given a small allowance, with the promise of a lump sum at the end of their scheme, or at the time of their marriage. However, according to research less than 35% ever receive their payment.

The Scheme is marketed to be very appealing. Often the recruiters will travel to rural communities and present families with colourful brochures with decorative words. They make promises of a steady wage and employment. But in reality, once these girls are part of the scheme they are subjected to the worst forms of abuse. Including chronic illness due to poor health and safety, one woman has described having over 4kg of cotton fibre removed from her stomach. The girls are often victims to harassment and physical abuse. This often leaves them physiologically traumatised.

Yet, the Sumangali scheme continues to thrive as it offers young women from the poorest communities the opportunity to earn a dowry and get married. The practice of dowry although illegal since 1961, still persists within India. Due to the difficulties for young women and their families to escape this system, the employers exploit this social requirement, and offer them money to pay for a dowry. This is ultimately exploiting the strong cultural desire for young women to have an investment for marriage.

There has been an increase in demand for younger workers, as many employers believe them to be more submissive, and therefore easier to control. These girls begin the scheme with the expectation that they will be working and living in safe conditions. Yet, in reality these girls are forced to work 12 hour days (the legal limit is 8). They have to stay in hostels within the factory premises, and are often guarded. This enables the factories to force them to work unrealistic hours for little or no pay. Many of the young women’s families believe that they are being well looked after, and are living in a safe environment; however this could not be further from the case.

These girls’ stories often go unheard.

We must listen.

YOU must listen.

Together we can put an end to schemes like this.

Together we can STOP THE TRAFFIK!

Show your support, and join our Make Fashion #TraffikFree campaign!

Check out our cotton campaign here

Follow us on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram

It’s not just football fever that you need to watch out for during the World Cup!


The World Cup is here! And all eyes are on Brazil. STOP THE TRAFFIK is excited to announce that we have launched #GIFTboxBrasil. Many of us are caught up in the excitement of the World Cup, and are cheering on our favourite teams. Brazil is a country with breath taking sceneries, but unfortunately the country like any other is not exempt of human trafficking and exploitation. While the government, businesses, civil society organisations at federal, state and municipality level in Brazil have been actively working on addressing the problem of trafficking in the country, instances of the problem still persist. STOP THE TRAFFIK and their Brazilian partners the Rio State Government and the NGO 27 Million take the excellent opportunity that the World Cup offers to raise awareness of and empower people to take action to stop human trafficking.

The GIFT box received a grand opening ceremony outside the famous statue of Christ the Redeemer last week. The opening ceremony was attended by Members of the Brazilian government and the Brazilian press.

The GIFT box is moving around in order to raise as much awareness as possible. After its location at Christ the Redeemer where many tourists from Brazil and abroad encountered it, it was located in one of Rio de Janeiro’s red light districts where it was staffed by women who are working within the sex industry and want to help end trafficking for sexual exploitation. This was an amazing location as it provided peer to peer sharing and support for the women.

The box is currently located just off of the famous Ipanema beach, which is a firm favourite with tourists. The final location is in the neighbourhood Penha, outside Rio’s most dramatically set church in a 17th-century confection which offers dramatic 360-degree views from its cliff top perch. The church is surrounded by favelas. Having the box at this site will give us a chance to raise awareness amongst local Brazilians on how to keep themselves and others safe.

STOP THE TRAFFIK is working in partnership with 27 Million and the Rio de Janeiro State Government to carry out this awareness raising campaign. Alongside the GIFT box our Brazil Coordinator Leticia (27 Million) is visiting 4 of the 12 World Cup cities.

  • Sao Paulo
  • Belo Horizonte
  • Recife
  • Rio de Janeiro

Leticia will tour with other anti-trafficking activists, including from the NGO Operation Blessing. In both tourist locations and vulnerable communities they will engage with people and provide them with STOP THE TRAFFIK leaflets which include the signs of human trafficking – both on how to keep yourself safe and how to spot trafficking in your community, and where to report it. The aim of the tour is to empower people to take action against human trafficking!

One of the actions you can take during the World Cup is to organise a World Cup quiz night! Download our World Cup quiz  here which is designed to combine a fun night with your family or friends with raising awareness of human trafficking. You can gather your friends and family to watch your favourite team play together and do it before the match starts. We would love to hear how your quiz night was, email to tell us how you’re on the ball during this World Cup!


To find out more about our activities in Brazil during the World Cup and beyond visit:

STOP THE TRAFFIK Brasil website:

Facebook page:




blog manchester college

The Northern Quarter neighborhood in Manchester, once the home to cotton mills and textile factories,on May 28th forced us to consider who makes our clothes.

It is a little known fact that men and women, boys and girls are trafficked to work in the cotton industry. It is also a fact that most people do not consider this when buying their clothes. Lured in by cheap prices do we stop and think about how the cotton is spun, dyed and woven in factories? Likewise are businesses aware of the unethical and at times criminal behavior of their suppliers?

In light of these questions STOP THE TRAFFIK have launched the Make Fashion Traffic Free campaign. However, a campaign is only as successful as the audience it reaches – that is why it is important to spread the word as well and far as possible.

The recent exhibition in Manchester consisted of a collection of the works of 1st year Graphic Design and Advertising students at Manchester College, who – as part of their course – were asked to develop a graphic and social media campaign to raise awareness and call people to action on behalf of STOP THE TRAFFIK. The exhibition was called “Unstitched” and displayed great artistic talent and a mature understanding of the complexities found in human trafficking.

Amongst such an array of talent choosing a winner was hard. In the end we felt the campaign by Noemi Salazar & Lucy Bryan-Smith best captured the essence of the STOP THE TRAFFIK ethos and the Make Fashion Traffic Free campaign. Their slogan was #iwanttoknow and included a series of posters together with an Instagram movement.

Julia Muraszkiewicz


STOP THE TRAFFIK Manchester is just one of STOP THE TRAFFIK’s regional groups around the UK who work tirelessly to raise awareness of human trafficking. To find out more, check out their Facebook page or find them on twitter: @ACTManchester

TRAVEL SAFE Week at Manchester Airport

manchester group logo

STOP THE TRAFFIK Manchester were privileged to be part of  TRAVEL SAFE week at Manchester Airport as part of the long standing relationship with the staff there who are real advocates of the collective anti-trafficking efforts across the city. There have been previous events at the airport to raise awareness which we have been involved with, but this year was a step up.

The week included ‘road shows’ where teams went into the airport terminals to meet and raise awareness amongst staff and invite them to training sessions on Human Trafficking, Abduction, Forced Marriage and human exploitation supported by the Border Force Safeguarding Team, The Chaplaincy Manchester Airport, GM Police, STOP THE TRAFFIK, SAHILI and International Justice Mission all played a part in the week.

The aims and objectives of the events were:

   •           To raise awareness of Human Trafficking, Child Welfare and Forced Marriage 

   •           To bring together companies, agencies, organisations and individuals to hear from one another about issues faced by vulnerable passengers in relation to Human Trafficking, Child Welfare and Forced Marriage

   •           To encourage every colleague working in and around Manchester Airport, whatever their uniform or job description, to recognise the part they have to play in protecting vulnerable passengers of all ages from Human Trafficking, Forced Marriage or other abusive behaviour.

The teams who organised and participated in the Travel safe week are proactive and recognise airlines and all the airport staff play a significant part in safe guarding vulnerable people.

One of the initiatives launched during travel safe week was to ask people to become TRAVEL SAFE CHAMPIONS and give them ownership within their company to help ensure staff had the appropriate knowledge and information to identify and report signs of trafficking. These TRAVEL SAFE CAMPIONS will help provide a network across all the different teams and companies that work within the airport to maintain a level of awareness related to potential victims of trafficking in the airport.

There were two training sessions held at the end of the week with all the teams involved presenting and delivering interactive workshops for people to engage with real cases studies from the airport. The training sessions exceeded the numbers expected to attended and from different areas, and lots of new contacts were made and they enabled the TRAVEL SAFE message to a lot of parts of the airport and wider community.  As a result of the week Community Relations team at the airport would like to work with us to get the TRAVEL SAFE message out to local schools, which will help to build on existing work and relationships we have in the local area.

There is ongoing work related to the TRAVEL SAFE effort and we are working together to keep up the momentum and encourage engaged staff to help provide information for passengers, we are also offering training to the airlines and other companies in an effort to try and reach all staff, working together to find out effective ways of maintaining the profile of the TRAVEL SAFE agenda.

To find out more about STOP THE TRAFFIK Manchester check out our Facebook page>!/act.manchester?fref=ts


chain checker

Human trafficking is not a straightforward challenge for a business, regardless of its size. Businesses are often unaware of the unethical and sometimes criminal behaviour of others in their supply chain and the legal, reputational and operational risks associated.

Even if business owners possess a basic understanding of human trafficking and think their organisation could be vulnerable due to the locations in which they operate, how can they find out? The perceived scale of understanding what areas of your business and supply chain could be unwittingly supporting the crime and implementing policies, procedures and processes to stop this poses a huge barrier.  As a consequence, businesses have tended to concentrate on their core business activities and have other Corporate Social Responsibility targets and priorities.

What has become clear in recent months is that the CSR landscape is changing and businesses have to take note of the increasing, collective voice emanating from consumers, activists, governments, intergovernmental and international organisations about the atrocities of human trafficking and the responsibility that lies with the business community.  One of the most pertinent of these voices being the UN and the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

The truth is that any organisation may find it extremely difficult to trace their multi-national and possibly fragmented supply chain.  This is why we must begin with a risk-based approach.  If companies can begin to identify areas of high risk and focus on these, to ask questions of their suppliers and their supplier’s suppliers, they can start to make that change.

Finance Against Trafficking aim to be the enabler for businesses to take on the challenge of human trafficking, helping them to understand the impact it could have on them, the areas of their business most vulnerable and to provide them with the tools and guidance necessary to minimise the risk.

To do this Finance Against Trafficking offer a number of different services to businesses, the most notable recent addition to which is ChainChecker.  An online, question-based tool, ChainChecker is designed to be used by anyone who works within a business and enables them to understand the areas of their business at risk.  It will highlight key areas of concern and provide practical guidance and actions you can take to minimise the risk that your organisation is unintentionally using forced, bonded or child labour and supporting human trafficking.

ChainChecker is intended to be the first step businesses can take to understand their risk, responsibility and the action they can take to prevent them being directly or indirectly involved with human trafficking.

To find out more about ChainChecker, how it works and to take advantage of the limited offer of £50 to sign up!

click here to go straight to the website.