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IJM UK Samara Daria Szotek Photography 320

Stopping trafficking
in the UK and Europe

Over 120,000 people are estimated to be trapped in slavery in the UK.

That’s more than the capacity of Wembley Stadium. Trafficked for labour or sexual exploitation, women and men face shocking abuse.

Human trafficking in the UK is seen as a low-risk, high-reward crime for traffickers. Of the few people charged with a modern slavery offence, less than 1 in 4 of those are actually convicted.

But even those who are convicted are likely to walk away with a low sentence. The percentage of offenders receiving a sentence of four years or more has dropped by 40% between 2018 and 2021.

Impact of IJM's European Anti-Trafficking Programme so far:

Updated: May 2024

Antonia* was trafficked from Romania to London for sexual exploitation

Antonia was tricked into leaving her home in Romania when she was just 19 years old, under the false pretence of a factory job in the UK. 

When Antonia arrived in the UK, she was forcibly taken by traffickers who began sexually exploiting her. Multiple men paid to abuse her every single day for eight months.

Antonia managed to call her family in Romania, who contacted the authorities. She was brought to safety by the London Metropolitan Police, and the traffickers were arrested.

With IJM's support, Antonia bravely testified in court resulting in the conviction of four traffickers - the most recent in 2023. She also received significant compensation in a rare win for justice.

Today, Antonia is a mother to three children. IJM will continue to support her as she recovers and pursues her dreams for the future.

How does IJM work to stop modern slavery and human trafficking in Europe?

We’ve been helping protect people from cross-border trafficking in Europe since 2019. 

We have staff working in the UK, Romania, the Netherlands and Germany.

Working with authorities and other partners, supported by people like you, we support survivors with trauma-informed care, bring traffickers to justice, and help strengthen justice systems so people are not abused in the first place.

With war in Ukraine putting millions more women and children at risk of trafficking, we recently expanded our work to help protect refugees in Bulgaria.

“With the amazing help of IJM, we have offered practical support to survivors, from counselling to social care, housing and even skills courses.”

- Detective Constable Lore Hancock, London Metropolitan Police's Specialist Crime Command

FAQs

What are the signs of modern slavery?
What does human trafficking look like in Europe?
What does IJM do in Europe?
How has IJM been responding to the Ukraine crisis?
What is sex trafficking or commercial sexual exploitation?
What is labour trafficking?

Modern Slavery Helpline
If you suspect you or someone you know is being exploited, call the UK Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700.

*pseudonym

[1] GRETA, Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, 2019.

You Can Help Send Rescue Today.

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You can make the most impact as a Freedom Partner today.

Your generous monthly support will help send rescue to vulnerable children and families at a moment’s notice, stand with them as they rebuild their lives in freedom and have perpetrators held accountable.

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