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Romania Stock European Anti Trafficking Programme IJM

Stopping human trafficking in the UK and Europe

Nearly two million people are trapped in slavery in Europe - including the UK.

Almost 17,000 people were identified as potential modern slavery victims in the UK in 2022 alone. Trafficked for labour or sexual exploitation, they face abuse and violence.

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, only 23% 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 from 75% in 2018, to 31% in 2021.

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

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, and supported by people like you, we bring people to safety and support them 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 false offers of work or housing, we’re working to expand our anti-trafficking work into other countries in Europe.

“With the amazing help and support from International Justice Mission, we have managed to offer practical help and support to survivors, from counselling to social care, housing and even skills courses.”

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


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.


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

You Can Help Send Rescue Today.

When you give a gift today, you’ll be fighting slavery, violence, and injustice across the globe. Together, we can end slavery and violence in our lifetime.

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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