BBC News is reporting that, beginning April 1, specially trained teams will be working in UK airports to help stem the tide of human trafficking victims. The British government says it want to make sure that “there is ‘no easy route into the UK for traffickers.'”
Home Office minister Karen Bradley said Border Force officers could be the ‘first authority figure in the UK to have contact with a potential victim of modern slavery.’
‘Their role is vital in identifying and protecting victims and ensuring there is no easy route into the UK for traffickers’, she said. ‘The new specialist teams will build on existing skills and joint working and extend that expertise around the country.’
The teams will be supported by the National Crime Agency [NCA], which will bring its child protection expertise in cases involving children.
In an earlier story, the BBC reported that trafficking of children in the UK has seen a dramatic increase.
The number of UK-born children thought to have been trafficked for sexual exploitation more than doubled last year, the National Crime Agency said. Fifty-six minors from the UK were flagged up as potential victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation in 2013 – a rise of 155% on 2012.
It is unclear whether they were being taken out of the country or moved within the UK, the NCA said.
The government said it was unlikely the data reflected the scale of the issue. The NCA data suggested the number of foreign children identified as potential victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation in the UK also rose by 11%, to 88. The most common nationality or country of origin for child victims of trafficking (not just for sexual abuse) was Vietnam, followed by the UK and then Albania.
According to the U.S. State Department, the United Kingdom is designated a Tier 1 nation, meaning that it is in full compliance with international laws regarding human trafficking.