Hope For Justice – struggling against human trafficking


by Milena Rampoldi and Denise Nanni, ProMosaik. In the following our interview with Adam of the organization Hope For Justice struggling against human trafficking in the UK and Cambodia by raising awareness, and by supporting victims. Would like to thank Adam for his answers and the pictures he sent us.
What is the current situation related to human trafficking?
Human trafficking is a barbaric crime, a form of modern slavery.
Say ‘slavery’ and most people still think of it as something from the past – an evil institution but one that has been safely abolished and consigned to history. But there are actually more people trapped in slavery today than at any point in human history. 
There are no exact numbers, because this is a hidden crime, but the best estimates suggest there are 21 million people living in modern slavery around the world, and about 13,000 people in the UK. 
The most common types of modern slavery are forced labour, sexual exploitation and domestic servitude, but other forms also exist, from forced cannabis cultivation to organ harvesting. Men, women and children sold and traded, stripped of dignity and privacy and hope.
Victims are tricked or forced into these situations and kept there through violence, fraud or coercion, and often end up living and working in abominable conditions. Some people are beaten and abused; others have threats made against their families back in their home countries. Many are forced into fraudulent ‘debt bondage’, with their wages kept by a trafficker to pay non-existent bills for their travel, accommodation or food. Others have their passports kept from them, or are told they will be deported if they go to the authorities. 
The shocking thing is that there are almost certainly trafficking victims in your community. They work in factories and at car washes, as gardeners, waiters, leaflet deliverers… Others are forced to work in construction, waste management, manufacturing or in nail bars. Young women are forced into prostitution, moved from house to house and town to town. Domestic slaves are being kept in outwardly respectable homes, forced to cook and clean or look after children, for little or no money. 
That’s why Hope for Justice exists. We want to live in a world free from slavery. 
What are the most common misbeliefs about human trafficking?
Myth: It is a crime that only involves foreigners. 
Fact: Citizens of all countries are affected by this crime.
Myth: It requires foreign or interstate travel, or crossing borders. 
Fact: Human trafficking does not require any type of travel; a person can be trafficked on the same street where they have lived for their entire life. 
Myth: It is only related to the sex industry. 
Fact: Forced labour is just as big a problem.
Myth: If they get paid, they aren’t victims.
Fact: Victimisation came come through force, fraud, coercion, or any pattern or scheme intended to instil fear in someone. A person can seem to have means of escape, yet still remain as an unwilling participant because they are being coerced by their controller(s).
Myth: Prosecutions aren’t needed. 
Fact: Despite the desire of many NGOs to not have their victims have to participate with law enforcement, this issue will not go away without effective prosecutions. We must make it expensive for the traffickers, otherwise there will be no incentive to stop. Of course we still need effective prevention and protection activities, too. But we cannot forego strong prosecutions.
Myth: Victims self-identify. 
Fact: It is exceedingly rare for a victim to contact someone for help while being trafficked, even when given specific opportunities to do so. Fear, shame, dependence upon their trafficker and other types are coercion, or a lack of understanding of their condition all contribute to this phenomenon.
What are your activities related to human trafficking prevention? What services do you offer to human trafficking victims?
Hope for Justice exists to bring an end to modern slavery by rescuing victims, restoring lives and reforming society.
Our specialist investigators work closely with law enforcement and other agencies to identify victims of trafficking, build bridges of trust with them and rescue them from situations of exploitation. 
We often act on intelligence received from those we’ve trained to recognize the indicators of trafficking – including NGOs, community groups and frontline public service professionals.
Around the world, we work with victims to overcome trauma and rebuild their lives. We offer tailored restorative care initiatives and help partners to develop accredited systems, and offer support to meet survivors’ vital needs. 
In the UK, for example, we help survivors of trafficking with everything from housing and welfare to employability skills and community engagement, advocating on their behalf to central and local agencies and authorities. In Cambodia, we run aftercare facilities ourselves, offering survivors of sex trafficking a safe place to live, learn and overcome their experiences with specialist therapy, education and support. 
We provide advocacy and support to victims through the criminal justice process and seek to hold perpetrators financially accountable through civil actions against traffickers on behalf of victims. Our investigative work in support of prosecutions is what makes us largely unique in this field.
We train frontline professionals to spot the signs of trafficking and act on it, and seek policy change by influencing governments and media. Just last week, we were invited to the White House to brief the President in person, for example, and we also work with senior political leaders across Europe.
We are always overjoyed to rescue someone from modern slavery, but preventing it from happening in the first place is even more important. That’s why we also work with businesses to cut slavery out of their supply chains.
Did you develop, throughout time, a strategy that can be indicated as really affective into addressing the social inclusion of human trafficking’s victims?
Yes, in both the UK and Cambodia we have a strong record of restoring hope and opportunity for victims, reducing their vulnerability to re-trafficking, and providing them with relevant therapy, support, education and skills. Where appropriate, we help them into jobs with employability skills, career advice, language lessons, etc.
Do you cooperate with local authorities and institutions? If yes, how?
Yes, we work closely with police forces, social services, local and national government, and other NGOs. In the UK our relationships are especially strong – we work with police to rescue victims and ensure traffickers are convicted, with social services to get housing and welfare benefits for former victims, and with local authorities to raise awareness of modern slavery and train their staff to spot the signs and act on it.
We also rely on volunteers, many of whom meet together as part of ‘Abolition Groups’ to fundraise, campaign and take action. We’d welcome anyone reading this who’d like to join our movement, just visit www.hopeforjustice.org and click ‘Take Action’.