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July 2023 - World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

Updated: Oct 2, 2023

Halfway through the year and just starting to feel summer's embrace, July in the UK offers a plethora of cultural delights, including music festivals, the prestigious British Wimbledon championship, and possibly an increasingly celebrated Independence Day – a holiday that has recently gained unexpected popularity, given the fact that the day commemorates the liberation of nations from colonial rule. Regardless, if you are looking for an excuse to enjoy some strawberries and cream or a cheeky drink outdoors, this month has you covered!


However, while some countries can openly celebrate independence and justice, it is critical to remember that there are still ongoing problems, including the ones much closer to home. Among these challenges lies an uncomfortable truth, often concealed from the untrained eye, yet still happens in broad daylight. It also does not discriminate, yet still harbours the maliciousness of intolerance. We are speaking about the ever-present and archaic existence of modern-day slavery that silently torments countless victims and strips away their freedom.


We want to dedicate the month of July to raising awareness about this issue, and proudly promote World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. This campaign by UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) is observed annually on July 30th, with this year's theme being:

"Reach every victim of trafficking, leave no one behind."
 

Understanding Human Trafficking On A Local/Global Scale


Every county across the world struggles with conflicts, economic uncertainty and the effects of climate change. Even in the UK, there is more that can be done to stop it. But before we look at what can be done, let us establish what we are talking about by starting at the beginning.

What does "traffic" refer to?

"Traffic" refers to the movement and flow of people, vehicles or goods along a specific route, or within a given area. This represents movement, activity and changes in a journey. The length of a journey can vary. It could range from walking up the street to travelling to another country.

What does "trafficking" mean?

What is modern slavery? Is it related to trafficking?

Who do traffickers target?


County Lines: No Straight Roads

County Lines are a frequent form of modern slavery in the UK. This type of human trafficking involves victims being forced to transport illicit items to cities or rural areas by organised crime networks. Although there has been an ongoing war on County Lines, the impact of Covid-19 caused businesses that are both legitimate and illegitimate to operate locally and adapt quickly.


As such, social media plays a pivotal role in mass marketing and influence. Combine separate phones (commonly recognised by the slang term "trap line") with the ability to target certain demographics via Instagram, Snapchat or TikTok and encrypted conversations through WhatsApp, and this makes it hard for those who fall into this type of human trafficking to be traced break and to break free as the Criminal Justice System often sees them as willing participants, especially if they have had a troubled past.


This associated stigma may also prevent others from speaking out, but there are ways to get help anonymously and confidentially. A member of our team reached out to an operator from Missing People, the only UK charity dedicated to reconnecting missing people, for helpful links about County lines based in the West Midlands and London.


If you would like more information on County Lines or have concerns, we urge you to check out the following, or get in touch with us at safeguarding@glptraining.co.uk:







 

Recent News & Human Trafficking

Even recently, new cases are being investigated on human trafficking across the world.

The Tate Brothers Charged for Rape and Human Trafficking

If you have not heard of Andrew Tate (an ex-kickboxer and former Big Brother contestant) or Tristan Tate, you may be unaware of their controversial opinions on women and the many supporters - some as young as 9 years old - that have rallied behind their luxurious lifestyle and "alpha" mindset via TikTok. Their misogynistic, homophobic and sometimes anti-Semitic views are styled as a wealthy self-help guru sharing advice to "escape the matrix". This includes claims that:

  • Covid-19 was "stolen valour"

  • Following safety precautions made you weak

  • Covid-19 has ceased to exist as it is no longer mainstream (even when there is evidence readily available that proves it has not been eradicated as reinfection rates remain)


Tate had been prohibited from using popular social media platforms due to violations of their guidelines. However, thanks to Elon Musk's acquisition of Twitter and the subsequent decision to lift bans on specific accounts, Tate's previous ban from Twitter in 2017 was revoked. This ban was imposed when Tate made controversial comments during the MeToo movement, suggesting that victims of rape should "bear some responsibility". Even now, videos of the Tate brothers are constantly reposted across all platforms, with supporters claiming the allegations were fabricated to frame the Tate brothers.


On the 21st of June, Andrew and his brother Tristan arrived at a Romanian court following allegations of forming a criminal group in 2021 that aimed to commit crimes of human trafficking in Romania by the Romanian anti-organised crime agency (known as DIICOT), the US and the UK. The Tate brothers and two other Romanian suspects were detained in December. DIICOT alleges that seven victims were recruited with a "loverboy approach", where women were drawn in with false promises of love. They were then taken to various buildings across Ilfov, were then forced to partake in non-consensual sexual activities and threatened with violence.


While Andrew raises valid concerns about an unfair trial, as Romania was one of the "most corrupt judicial systems in the world" (as proven via the 2015 and 2016 Global Corruption Report), and that interest in the case brought against all accused will expire as the Romanian government investigate DIICOT's claims, he has shown examples of others who were eventually caught and brought to justice.

Victims of Human Trafficking Aboard Sunken Trawler in Greece


 

Discussion points for Rule of Law and Safeguarding

  • What can lead to the exploitation of vulnerable individuals?

  • What do you think happens to victims once they are free from trafficking?

  • Do you feel that this deserves more awareness, or more funding to prevent it?

  • How have things gotten better or worse, based on the history of slavery?














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