The UK has some of the toughest anti-trafficking laws in the world and is committed to protecting victims and pursuing the slavery gangs behind this abhorrent trade to prevent further exploitation in the future.
In terms of reducing demand for commercial sexual services, the Government recognises the need for research on the nature and prevalence of prostitution before we consider any changes to underlying legislation and policy and have committed £150,000 to fund a research project being undertaken by the University of Bristol. The Government’s focus remains on protecting those selling sex from harm and enabling the police to target those who exploit vulnerable people involved in prostitution.
To support the police to tackle organised sex-trafficking and other forms of modern slavery, the Government has provided £8.5m of additional funding to the police in England and Wales to provide bespoke and dedicated modern slavery capabilities. This police activity is supported at a national level by the National Crime Agency who lead multiagency operations to target key thematic slavery and trafficking threats including organised sexual exploitation.
The increased law enforcement activity against the slavery gangs extends to preventing the use of the internet to facilitate sex trafficking. The NCA, supported by Government, is leading multi-agency work to investigate, disrupt and prevent online sex trafficking facilitated via commercial sex websites.