National Referral Mechanism Statistics UK, 3rd Quarter 2020 – July to September

The UK Home Office has published the most recent Modern Slavery Statistics, covering quarter 3 of 2020 (July – September).

Home Office reports that 2,506 potential victims of modern slavery were referred to the NRM. 1,224 (29%) of the NRM referrals claimed exploitation as adults whilst 1,159 (46%) claimed exploitation as children. For 5% of the referral their age at exploitation was unknown.

Overall, of the 2,506 potential victims referred in this quarter, 74% (1,853) were male and 26% (647) were female; these proportions are similar to the previous quarter. For adult potential victims, 69% (849) were male and 31% (374) were female, whilst for child potential victims, 79% (912) were male and 21% (242) were female.

The statistics flag the issue of ‘county lines’ exploitation of children – with 401 referrals flagged as county lines referrals, accounting for 16% of all referrals received in the quarter. The majority (82%; 328) of these referrals were made for male children.

UK, Albanian and Vietnamese citizens remain the most common nationalities referred to the NRM.

For detailed statistics please see the government website here. 

The impact and consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on trafficked and exploited persons, OHCHR, June 2020

Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, Maria Grazia Giammarinaro produced the June 2020 report “The impact and consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on trafficked and exploited persons” tracking the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on the most vulnerable communities.  

Most significantly, pre-existing vulnerabilities to trafficking have been exacerbated by the extreme social and economic impacts of the pandemic. These include: 

  • Poverty and unemployment
  • Migration, in changes in migration status, those on the migration journey and new restrictive migration policies
  • Lack of services provided to victims of trafficking and re-victimisation
  • The disruption of global supply chains
  • Trafficking and exploitation of children
  • Risks faced by victims and potential victims of sexual exploitation

The impact of the pandemic has negatively affected existing victims, as well as increasing the risk of others being preyed on by traffickers. It is clear that the COVID19 pandemic will have long term harmful impacts on exploited and trafficked persons, however the full impact is currently unfolding at yet to be determined. 

Find the June 2020 report on the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on trafficked and exploited persons here.

National Referral Mechanism Statistics UK, 1st Quarter 2020 – January to March

The National Referral Mechanism (NRM) is the UK framework for identifying and referring potential victims of modern slavery and ensuring they receive the appropriate support. This statistical bulletin gives a summary and breakdown of the number of potential victims of modern slavery referred into the National Referral Mechanism from 1 January to 31 March 2020 (quarter 1).

Follow this link for the NRM Statistics UK, Quarter 1 2020 – January to March.

Prevalence of Minors in Kathmandu’s Adult Entertainment Sector

A report released last year by the Freedom Fund and John Jay College gives some of the first reliable estimates in relation to how many children are involved in the adult entertainment industry in Kathmandu. It has always been known that a significant number of young people and children work in the adult entertainment industry in Kathmandu, but until recently no reliable estimates existed as to the true scale of the problem.

The study found that approximately 1650 young people under the age of 17 are working in the adult entertainment industry, making up approximately 17% of those working in the industry. The study also found 62% of workers were working in the industry before the age of 18. The majority of underage workers in the adult entertainment industry were found to be working in sexually exploitative environments and 99% were considered to be held in the worst forms of child slavery as defined by the International Labour Organisation’s convention.

The full study can be found here.

Behaviour change communications campaigns targeting the demand

The Freedom Fund have published a paper reviewing the use of Behaviour Change Campaigns, which have been used in healthcare and development sectors to try and influence and transform the behaviour of individuals. The paper reviews Behaviour Change Campaigns which have targeted issues such as child abuse, violence against women, and sexual violence in an effort to develop a future campaign that might tackle modern slavery and child sexual exploitation in Kathmandu.  This paper has drawn on 28 different studies.

The paper has reached several conclusions. The main findings are:

  1. The focus needs to be on injunctive not descriptive norms;
  2. Behaviour Change Campaigns are effective in a wide variety of mediums. However, this is not to say that they will be effective in every medium and context.
  3. Campaigns often succeed in bringing about positive change in the targeted individuals. However, there is some evidence that adverse effects can result.
  4. Evaluation must be embedded from the onset of the Behavioural Change Campaign. Since Behaviour Change Campaigns can have adverse effects the continual effectiveness of the campaign must be subject to constant evaluation.


The report was released in January 2019, and can be found here.

Ending Forced Labour by 2030: A Review of Policies and Programmes

In 2016 a report by the International Labour Organisation found that on any given day there were around 25 million people subjected to forced labour, of which just over 4 million people were below the age of 18. This report by the ILO looks back on the targets set by the international community to end forced labour by 2030 and ensure that child labour had been eradicated by 2025, and aims to guide policy and procedure in the lead up to these key dates. The report is split into three sections:

  1. Key numbers relating to global modern slavery and the ways in which it may manifest.
  2. Ending forced labour through the 2014 forced labour protocol: which is broken into 4 key parts; Prevention, Protection, Remedies, and Enforcement.
  3. and, Ending forced labour in children and adults: looking forward to 2030 and 2025.

These sections identify the background and key information surrounding modern slavery, the current international instruments, and makes suggestions for ensuring that the targets are met.

The report can be found here.

The Advocates for Human Rights Publish 2019 Labor Trafficking Protocol Guidelines

The Advocates for Human Rights published their labour trafficking protocol guidelines on the 31st of January 2019. The guidelines are designed to help communities identify and respond to labour trafficking victims throughout Minnesota, with a particular focus on young victims in their early 20s and younger. The guidelines draw on data collected from over 100 experts and are designed to account for the complex needs of a region that has rural, suburban and urban environments.

The protocol guidelines consist of 6 sections which give:

  1. Background and overview to labor trafficking.
  2. The universal protocol, which provides guidelines to the provision of an effective and comprehensive response to labor trafficking, including sections on collaborative responses, identification, and victim protection.
  3. A protocol implementation worksheet as a simple tool to assist communities plan their responses to labor trafficking.
  4. Sector specific protocol guidelines for use in conjunction with the universal protocol;
  5. Recommendations for changes to the law and policy to improve Minnesota’s response to labor trafficking victims.
  6. Appendices.


The report was funded Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, and the Minnesota Department of Health. The content is solely the work of The Advocates for Human Rights.

The Full report can be found here.

Europol report: Criminal Networks Involved in the Trafficking and Exploitation of Underage Victims in the European Union, October 2018

The report, Criminal Networks Involved in the Trafficking and Exploitation of Underage Victims in the European Union analyses data from Europol’s action against child trafficking between 2015 – 2017. The importance of this analysis into child trafficking reflects minors being an extremely vulnerable sector of society. Children are often lured into labour or sexual exploitation, and as a result suffer severe physical and psychological damage. This report provides key information that highlights limitations in current systems, that can be used to create a strategy against future trafficking of children.

Key findings from the report:

  • Child trafficking in the EU Trafficking and exploitation of male minors (especially for sexual exploitation) still remains an under-reported phenomenon at EU level.
  • Traffickers active in the EU target underage victims mainly for sexual exploitation but also labour exploitation, to beg and to commit criminal acts, such as pickpocketing and shoplifting. Children are also trafficked for illegal adoption and sham marriages.
  • Children are trafficked from around the world to the EU. The majority of nonEU networks reported to Europol involved Nigerian OCGs which traffic female minors and women to be sexually exploited. The OCGs are spread along the entire trafficking route and operate in several EU Member States.
  • The majority of EU trafficking networks for child sexual exploitation reported to Europol are small in size (usually fewer than five key suspects) and active in one country at a time.
  • Particularly harmful EU networks are large family clans which mainly traffic children for the purpose of begging, forced criminality and sexual exploitation. These clans operate in several countries at the same time and rotate victims on a regular basis.
  • Children in migration and unaccompanied minors are at higher risk of trafficking and exploitation. Although the scale of trafficking of unaccompanied minors remains unknown, a future increase is expected.


For the full report Criminal Networks Involved in the Trafficking and Exploitation of Underage Victims in the European Union, October 2018, read here.

GRETA 2018: Report concerning the implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings by the Netherlands

GRETA’s report on human trafficking response in the Netherlands marks progress and positive actions being taken to address the crime, including:

  • Increased funding for police and prosecution services dealing with trafficking cases
  • The creation of the Victim Identification Board, an independent multidisciplinary body tasked with the identification of victims of human trafficking
  • The awareness-raising campaigns concerning trafficking for different forms of exploitation and the steps taken to strengthen cooperation in the field of labour migration
  • Attention paid to victim compensation and many decisions by courts ordering perpetrators to pay compensation to victims of trafficking

However GRETA’s report marks the concern with the decreasing number of prosecutions and convictions for trafficking offences recently. Sexual exploitation is the most common driver of human trafficking within the Netherlands, however the number of prosecutions for sex trafficking halving over the last five years. It is suggested that Dutch authorities thoroughly investigate trafficking offences and ensure prosecution with ‘proportionate and dissuasive sanctions’, as well as ‘improve the identification of and assistance to child victims of trafficking’.

For the full October 2018 Report concerning the implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings by the Netherlands, read here.

The Anti-Trafficking Monitoring Group REPORT: Before the Harm is Done: Examining the UK’s Response to the Prevention of Trafficking 2018

Despite the UK’s Modern Slavery Act being groundbreaking and globally leading legislation, it is still a prominent issue within the UK that needs to be addressed at a preventative stage. This report updates the 2012 research relating to the prevention of human trafficking. Findings problematise the tendency to frame the anti-trafficking response through a criminal justice lens.

The report concludes that

  • The UK continues to lack an overall strategy to prevent trafficking in adults and children;

  • This leads to an inconsistent and fragmented approach to the prevention of trafficking;

  • The UK’s lack of a strategic response means that prevention is often seen through the prism and policies of immigration and crime, hindering effective preventative action;

  • The result of this approach and the wider policies of austerity, a hostile immigration environment and the threats posed by Brexit, is that the vulnerability of adults and children to exploitation is not reduced and the UK risks contravening its positive obligation to prevent trafficking.

For the full September 2018 report ‘Before the Harm is Done: Examining the UK’s response to the prevention of trafficking’, read here.