CONCLUSIONS ON INVESTIGATION, PROSECUTION
AND PUNISHMENT IN THE UK
133. The Government argues that its overall anti-trafficking
policy is based on a "twin-track" approach, which combines
a victim-centred (or human rights) approach to protection of victims
and a tough law enforcement approach to prosecute traffickers,
and that this is the most effective way to combat trafficking.
We acknowledge and applaud the ongoing effort of the Government
to improve investigation, and the bringing to justice of traffickers,
and agree that the second arm of the "twin-track" approach,
the tough law enforcement approach, is now being pursued with
some effectiveness. Operation Pentameter, in particular, has
not only had success in bringing traffickers to justice, but has
raised media and therefore public awareness of the evils of trafficking.
We also warmly welcome the establishment of the UK Human Trafficking
Centre to provide further co-ordination and focus to law enforcement
134. Nevertheless, as we have already said in relation
to the anti-trafficking legislative framework itself, the main
criticism levelled against the Government's approach by witnesses
to our inquiry is that the first arm of the "twin-track"
approach, the protection of victims, has not been promoted and
implemented effectively. In this context the UKHTC must ensure
as a matter of urgency that its objective of developing a victim-centred
approach to trafficking is articulated clearly and swiftly, that
this objective remains a central one, informing all its law enforcement
and other activities, and that policies are implemented consistently
by the UK's different police forces and enforcement authorities.
Enforcement of the law against trafficking must always make the
interests and the needs of the victims a primary consideration,
and their protection should be at the heart of any law enforcement
measures. In our view, this is necessary to ensure that the Government
fully meets its human rights obligation to investigate, prosecute
and punish traffickers fully.
135. In addition, the UKHTC and all other authorities
will need to address the concerns expressed by many of those who
submitted evidence that there is a lack of adequate knowledge,
training, co-ordination/communication and resources on trafficking
among law enforcement agencies, other concerned agencies, and
NGOs at local and national levels.
Once again, this makes it difficult to achieve the "twin-track"
approach advocated by the Government.
136. While the legislative framework to prohibit
trafficking is clearly in place, we share the concerns of those
who say that there have not been enough prosecutions under the
existing laws on trafficking,
compared to the number of victims arrested, detained and deported.
Lack of awareness and training among law enforcement agencies
may be contributing factors for this. Also, we recommend that
the courts should be more pro-active in issuing confiscation orders
to seize assets from traffickers.
137. In the light of the scale of the problem,
in terms of both victims and criminals, we recommend that the
Government takes steps to identify best practice in other countries
where the volume of both victims rescued and criminal convictions