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Volume 13 Number 1
New Delhi, Spring 2006

Human Trafficking for Labour and Sexual Exploitation in Commonwealth Europe

Stephanie Aiyagari
London Liaison Officer, CHRI Trustee Committee Office

In the 2005 CHOGM communiqué, Heads of Government explicitly condemned human trafficking, acknowledging that it deprives
people of their human dignity, including their rights and freedoms. It was noted that eradication requires “a comprehensive approach which focuses on prevention, protection and prosecution”. An understanding of trafficking is therefore required - an overview of the situation in Commonwealth Europe is provided below:


  • Cyprus is both a destination and transit country for sex trafficking.
  • Cited in a 2005 report as not taking minimum steps to eliminate trafficking. (United States Department of State, “Cyprus,” Trafficking in Persons Report 2005,
  • Despite establishing a anti-trafficking police unit in 2004 and National Plan of Action in 2005, failings include low public awareness, need for civil society and government collaboration, and improved victim protection. (US Trafficking in Persons Report 27-30/06/05)


  • 2004 figures show that 32 out of 33 London Boroughs were concerned over trafficked children. (Amnesty International UK, 14/10/04)
  • Oxfordshire social services on average take in 8 new trafficked children per month: ‘most of whom have been dropped off [by] lorries on the [motorway]’. (UNICEF, Child Labour Today, 2/05)
  • A rising influx of eastern European women are trafficked to London for sex work: They face rape, beatings, threats of slavery, and are forced to have sex with up to 40 men a day for little income. (Guardian, 11/02/05)


  • Vulnerable children from Welsh care homes have reportedly been trafficked to work in massage parlours, and children of refugees reportedly trafficked to work in the underground sex trade. ( 9/11/04)

UK Overall

  • In 2005, the UK Solicitor General started to target men who solicit sexual services of trafficked women. (Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, Trafficking in Persons Report, 3/6/05,
  • Police have found that hundreds of Turkish boys have been brought to the UK to work in restaurants over the past few years. (UNICEF, Child Labour Today, 2/05)
  • Traffickers have exploited a traditional west African practice of private foster care (children brought up by someone outside the family who sends them to school in return for domestic work). Some are exploited, locked up and kept from school. 15,000-20,000 are estimated to be in private foster care in the UK. (UNICEF, Child Labour Today, 2/05, p. 49-50)


  • The government of Malta has been accused of turning a blind eye when issuing visas to likely victims of trafficking. Trafficking agents in China market Malta as an easy gateway into the European Union. (, 4 and 10 April 2005)
  • The Italian government has claimed that armed Maltese traffickers force Chinese passengers to jump to shore to avoid Italian surveillance. If they refuse, they are beaten, sometimes to death. (, 4 and 10 April 2005)

Northern Ireland

  • Eastern European children have been reported as trafficked into the begging trade in Belfast. (UNICEF, Child Labour Today 2/05)


  • In 2002 Glasgow witnessed a rise in the number of women and children smuggled into prostitution according to a ECPAT report (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes). They are promised a better life, but then forced to work for little or no income. (BBC News, 29/07/02)

CHRI Newsletter, Spring 2006

Editors: Mary Rendell & Clare Doube , CHRI;
Print: Chenthil Paramasivam ,
Web Developer: Swayam Mohanty, CHRI.
Acknowledgement: Many thanks to all contributors

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The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) is an independent international NGO mandated to ensure the practical realisation of human rights in the Commonwealth.