Greetings from The Slave Detective,
The wave of questions I have received as a result of my recent round of lectures have prompted me to do a Q&A’s blog. This may be the first of a couple of blogs on this subject as there is a lot of ground to cover.
I have looked up a couple of web pages that carry Q&A’s on Human Trafficking and I will add some of my own that I have received via Email.
The UN have a great Q&A’s page to get basic understanding.
US Immigration re victims rights.
Not For Sale have a true or false session.
Stop The Traffik has an E learning page available to all.
Treasures is a US specific page but has some very good answers.
The United Kingdon Human Trafficking Centre (UKHTC) is an intelligence based organisation set up, not as an investigative branch, but training and trend monitoring. There Q & A’s are very good.
I am often asked:-
How Do you Identify trafficked people?
- Is the victim in possession of a passport, identification or travel documents? Are these documents in possession of someone else?
- Does the victim act as if they were instructed or coached by someone else? Do they allow others to speak for them when spoken to directly?
- Was the victim recruited for one purpose and forced to engage in some other job? Were their transport costs paid for by facilitator, whom they must pay back through providing services?
- Does the victim receive little or no payment for their work? Is someone else in control of their earnings?
- Does the victim have freedom of movement?
- Has the victim or family been threatened with harm if the victim attempts to escape?
- Is the victim under the impression they are bonded by debt, or in a situation of dependence?
- Has the victim been harmed or deprived of food, water, sleep, medical care or other life necessities?
- Can the victim freely contact friends or family? Do they have limited social interaction or contact with people outside their immediate environment?
- Was the victim forced to perform sexual acts?
This is not an exhaustive list:-
Foreign female, poor English, no passport or identity documents.
Have they been held against their will for sexual exploitation?
In respect of the victim consider immediate First Aid
Requirement to attend hospital
Consider use of Forensic Medical Exam
Consider forensic examination at earliest possible stage.
Place of Safety? (Away from possible traffickers)
First responders should:
Ensure any questioning of victim is conducted in private and certainly not in the presence of any other members of the public.
Establish exactly what the victim is alleging (consider use of language line -internationally available interpreters); obtain details of language line interpreter.
Do not question victim in detail; consider the integrity of any future evidential interviews.
Make a written record of exactly what is being said, all actions in respect of the victim to be recorded to avoid any future allegations of inducement. Often if it is not written down it is considered in an evidential examination (court or review) as not to have happened.
Ascertain as many details as possible from the victim including age, nationality, first language, health requirements and / or mental impairment.
All allegations of this kind to be taken as TRUTHFUL and reassurances made to the victim that she will be protected and all information to be held in confidence.
Depending on age of victim social services or Support NGO to be contacted or other faith based organisations depending on availability. I always made this action a priority to my team. Does the Victim have somewhere to sleep tonight?
Consider provision of food/clothing recording what you supply to avoid any future inducement claims.
DO NOT make judgements on victim’s account or make any promises with regard to accommodation/ immigration status.
If victim making allegation rape/sexual assault then appropriate action to be taken in the first instance.
Consider use of Early Evidence Kit if available to investigators.
Contact with a specially trained Interview Techniques Officer. Always looking to achieve best evidence.
Ensure a senior officer or Duty Officer is informed.
Retain any travel documents, baggage labels. (this may also indicate victim’s country of origin)
Identify any scene(s)/ locations. DO NOT rush out to preserve scenes/ retrieve evidence unless absolutely necessary. This may alert traffickers and place other victims at SERIOUS risk.
Issues of Cross Contamination to be considered in any case. This means that evidence from one scene, victim or suspect may be accidentally passed by a well-meaning helper if it is not considered and give the suspect a ‘Get out of Jail Free’ card!
NOTE any action towards the victim should be considered in light of the need to gain a rapport and build the victim’s trust. Many of the victim’s will have a deep mistrust of law enforcement agencies based on experiences in their native countries.
First respondent to create CRIME REPORT. This will detail all actions of an investigation at the earliest so things are considered and covered.
Intelligence checks ( in Country of Destination, Transit and Source)
Consider community factors. Is someone looking for this person or will this incident cause undue fear or alarm in a certain area.
So you can see this is the initial steps of assisting a survivor of trafficking. It is a complicated minefield where one wrong step can destroy a case unwittingly.
I will do a follow up to this blog as I’m asked more questions.