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Crime Reduction Toolkits

Trafficking of People

Crime - Let's bring it down
 
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Interviewing traffickers and victims

 

If they are foreign nationals who are not resident in the UK, suspected traffickers should be interviewed by the Immigration Service to establish their immigration status. Once this is established police should determine whether there is sufficient evidence to bring a prosecution.

Victims of trafficking are often considered to be ‘unreliable witnesses’. Experience has shown, however, that if they are treated sympathetically, trust allowed to develop, and they feel safe then they are often happy to report all of their experiences.[1]

Extensive work has been carried out regarding protocols for interviewing victims of sexual assault. Much of this will be relevant and appropriate for victims of trafficking.

It is important to realise that the language and terminology that professionals use may not have much meaning to the victims. For example they may not understand what trafficking is and will need it explaining to them in simple terms. At the same time it is better to base the interview questions around all the aspects of the UN definition rather than assume a common understanding of ‘trafficking’.

Suspected traffickers or victims should be interviewed separately and individually – a group of suspected victims may well include an agent of the traffickers. 

Care should be taken with selection of interpreters, to ensure that they do not have any involvement with traffickers and are not exposed to coercion from traffickers.


[1] Zimmerman et al, 2002

 
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