Sophie Claudet: “The UK government estimates between 10 and 13,000 people are trafficked into the country but unofficial sources say it could be up to 80,000. Where is the truth here?”
Euronews reporter, Damon Embling: “This crime is a hidden crime. These are people who are stuck in the shadows of society and that makes it really difficult to establish exactly how many victims there are in the UK at any one time. It makes it tough for the police to get into communities and find those people and hold the traffickers to account.
What we do know and it’s quite clear is that Britain is a trafficking destination in Europe.”
Sophie Claudet: “How are these people found out usually?”
Damon Embling: “It’s a real tough one because actually spotting a trafficking victim in the community is quite tough. How do you tell the signs? People make look forlorn, they may look stressed, they may look worried. But actually is that a sign of trafficking or is that something else? So it’s very difficult to detect. So the police and other authorities are relying on reports, and they’re obviously relying on their own intelligence as well.
But if you look at those figures, that 80,000 prediction for the UK and the number of people who are actually found, it’s just a few thousand every year. There’s clearly a huge gap there, so are those estimates over enthusiastic or are there tens of thousands of people out there still to be found?”
Sophie Claudet: “And do those figures also include unaccompanied minors, which is becoming a trend with the latest wave of migration?”
Damon Embling: “It was only in January this year that Europol revealed that at least 10,000 unaccompanied child refugees had vanished in Europe during the previous two years. Some of them may have well run to their relatives and friends. But some of them may well have fallen into the hands of the traffickers. And that really is a fear.”
Sophie Claudet: “So we can expect, unfortunately, that this trafficking pattern will only increase with the wave of migrants coming to Europe?”
Damon Embling: “I think the full impact of the migration crisis on trafficking is yet to be established. I mean this was something that peaked last year, obviously people are still moving, that’s still continuing.
But some of the figures I’ve looked at for last year. For example, we saw in Britain, in terms of the number of referrals, the number of victims or suspected trafficking victims, a 275 percent increase in Iraqis and a 100 percent increase in Afghanis. There’s also been a marked increase in the number of people suspected of being trafficking victims from Sudan and Eritrea.
We don’t know for sure whether this is actually linked to the migration crisis. But the fear is that the migration crisis, with more people moving around, more people wanting to go to the UK, that they may well fall into the hands of the traffickers, who are clearly waiting there just to move in and make the money they want to make from this horrendous, illegal crime.”