The Trade in Human Beings: Human Trafficking in the UK - Home Affairs Committee Contents

8  Effectiveness of UKHTC

189. UKHTC has been in existence for only three years and, as many of our witnesses commented, these are still early days to pass judgement on its effectiveness. However, the UK Action Plan placed a huge emphasis on UKHTC's role as a multi-agency body, the central repository of all data on human trafficking, offering strategic and operational support and a 24/7 support line for advice, including on the care of victims. It is therefore disappointing that so many of our witnesses suggested it was not really multi-agency, being dominated by the police and UKBA; that it was not doing much work to produce the badly-needed estimates of the scale of trafficking; that it was not fully aware of the needs and rights of child victims; and that recent operations and individual cases had shown a lack of clarity in responsibilities and a failure to give useful advice on the support available for suspected victims. UKHTC has, however, worked hard on awareness-raising and training of the police and immigration officials, has run the public 'Blue Blindfold' campaign, has widened the focus to labour exploitation as well as sexual exploitation and has successfully involved a number of NGOs in training and in anti-trafficking operations. It is probably unrealistic to expect too much of so young an organisation which, moreover, has only about 30 staff. However, we recommend that the Government and the leadership of UKHTC look carefully at the criticisms of the organisation made by our witnesses to see whether UKHTC needs to rebalance its efforts. We ask the Government to report progress made to us by the end of March 2010.

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