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Human Trafficking in the Spotlight at University Conference

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Human trafficking was the subject of a one-day conference held at the University of Worcester.

The University’s National Centre for the Study and Prevention of Violence and Abuse (NCSPVA) hosted the conference, which included speakers from the Gangmasters Licensing Authority, South Wales Police and West Mercia Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre.

Ruth Jones OBE the Founding director of the NCSPVA said: “This event was very important as it formally marked the Centre’s work around a cross section of issues related to human trafficking. It was also very timely being conjunct with the Anti-Slavery Day.”

Dr Gabriela Misca, Senior Lecturer in Psychology and Researcher in the NCSPVA, who coordinated the day’s presentations, added: “The key-note presentations addressed various aspects of human trafficking, including trafficking for labour and the role of Gangmasters Licensing Authority in preventing this; and trafficking for sexual exploitation and the role of family.

“It brought together good practice examples from a variety of agencies such as Police, and Non-Governmental Organisations such as Sandwell Women’s Aid and West Mercia Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre, and provided an overview of the magnitude of the phenomenon in the UK and Europe. In addition, the keynotes addressed the phenomenon of trafficking from the perspective of sources countries, with a focus on Romania, which represents a major source of human trafficking victims in Europe and the UK.”

Data from 2013 shows that in the UK there were 1,128 identified victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation, 743 victims trafficked for labour exploitation and 249 victims trafficked for criminal exploitation and 230 for domestic servitude. The top three countries of origins for trafficked victims in 2013 were Romania (307 identified trafficking victims), Poland (239 victims) and the UK, where 193 trafficked victims were identified, highlighting that human trafficking does not always occur cross-border.