Over 1,000 trafficking victims were detected in 2012, astaggering number of them British children, according to the CSJ’slatest report. An investigation, entitled ‘It Happens Here’,features a range of cases where both adults and children aretrafficked into and within the UK to be subjected to various formsof forced labor, from sexual exploitation to forcedcriminality.”Our research has uncovered a shocking underworld in whichchildren and adults, many of them UK citizens, have been forcedinto lives of utter degradation,” the managing director of theCSJ, an independent think-tank established to tackle social issuesin the UK, revealed.Christian Guy noted that the latest figures are said to representonly the tip of the iceberg, due to a “shambolic identificationsystem”.”Yet the authorities are either failing to understand the natureof this abuse or turning a blind eye to its existence. Our oncegreat nation of abolitionists is a shameful shadow of its formerself,” he said.Meanwhile, British girls trafficked for sexual exploitation in 2011made up nearly one half of all UK slavery victims, according to thestudy. One incident reportedly involved a girl who was raped by 90men in the course of one weekend.“We have allowed human beings in the UK to be bought and sold asmere commodities for profit, gain or gratification. How on earthhave we arrived at a place where there is no ambition or leadershipto stamp out this appalling crime?” CEO ofanti-human-trafficking charity Unseen, Andrew Wallis, who alsoworked on the report, said.The researchers have urged politicians in the UK to developeffective measures aimed at protecting victims of humantrafficking. They suggest that the responsibility for fightingslavery should be switched to the Ministry of Policing and CriminalJustice and away from the Ministry of Immigration. It’s hoped themove could help make it clear that human trafficking is first andforemost a criminal matter, not one of higher immigration control.Appointment of an anti-slavery commissioner, modeled on theexisting children’s commissioner, is among the proposedmeasures.In the report the CSJ cited a case where a woman was arrested as anillegal immigrant after she managed to escape from a brothel whereshe was enslaved, and fled to a police station.To encourage victims to report abuse and seek help from welfareagencies without facing the threat of criminal prosecution, the UKBorder Agency should be stripped of its lead role in ruling onsuspected cases of human trafficking and a new Modern Slavery Actintroduced by parliament to bring all human trafficking and slaveryoffences together, the CSJ study proposed.
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