Human Trafficking

Human Trafficking

The trafficking claim is free-standing from the asylum claim [although it may be the centre of your asylum claim]. The UK Border Agency should give this careful consideration and allow a 45-day reflection period at the end of which the Competent Authority will make a “conclusive” decision on whether you are a victim of trafficking, and if you are, whether you should be granted leave to remain – this is far from automatic and depends on the circumstances.

The Council of Europe Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings is a comprehensive piece of international law focusing mainly on the protection of victims of trafficking and the safeguarding of their rights. It also aims to prevent and combat trafficking, promote international co-operation in this field and to prosecute traffickers. The Government ratified the Council of Europe Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings on 17 December 2008 and implemented it from 1st April 2009. This represents a milestone in our fight against trafficking. It protects victims and improves our enforcement capabilities. 

The Council of Europe Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings defines trafficking in human beings as: 

“the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs” ”

The Convention has three primary aims: 

  • To offer protection for victim’s rights;
  • To combat trafficking; and 
  • To promote international co-operation. 


All three Convention aims should be taken into consideration when considering victim status.

Having received a referral, a Competent Authority shall apply a ‘reasonable grounds’ test to decide whether a person is a victim of trafficking. The ‘reasonable grounds’ test has a low threshold.

The test that should be applied is whether the statement “I suspect but cannot prove” would be true and whether a reasonable person would be of the opinion that, having regard to the information in the mind of the decision maker, there were reasonable grounds to believe the individual concerned had been trafficked. Reasonable suspicion can never be supported on the basis of personal factors alone (e.g. the appearance of the suspected victim) without reliable supporting intelligence or information or some specific behaviour by the person concerned. It should normally be connected to precise and up to date intelligence/information.

Our lawyers are available 24 hours a day, providing immediate legal assistance during proceedings. Please contact the Head of the Immigration Department Richard Harrold on 020 7388 8333 or email

Human Trafficking