At Hope for Justice we want to resource the professional bodies that work day-in-day-out with potential victims of Human Trafficking.
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What we do

Hope for Justice is an anti-human trafficking organisation working to uncover and abolish the hidden crime of modern-day slavery. As a non-governmental organisation (NGO) we gather intelligence and assist in the process of removing victims from exploitation within the UK. Human trafficking is not someone else’s problem, it’s happening in our communities, in our neighbourhoods, in our country. Hope for Justice was created to be the practical solution to human trafficking with four areas of operation:

  • Investigate & Rescue

    Our team responds to intelligence received from NGOs and community groups we’ve trained to recognise the indicators of trafficking. This work enables them to assist in the rescue of victims from situations of exploitation and transfer them to aftercare providers. Intelligence is submitted to the police and can form part of the picture where a larger organised crime culture exists. With so many victims arriving from countries with disreputable policing, and so many others wilfully instilled with a terror of UK police, the need for a third party is distinct and urgent. Hope for Justice builds bridges of trust between police and victim, and acts as a conduit for intelligence that would otherwise simply never see the light of day.

  • Assist Aftercare

    Whilst not providing aftercare ourselves, we work closely with those who do, to assist in the protection and rehabilitation of victims. Our Aftercare Coordinator may suggest the most appropriate facility based on the victim’s needs and facilitate transport there. Follow-up phone calls and visits are made and the team tracks each individual’s progress. This relates closely to our third aim; prosecution. 78.13% of the victims we rescue request our assistance in terms of advocating for them through investigation and prosecution.

  • Perpetrator Accountability

    We believe that perpetrators should be held responsible for their crimes via prosecution. We work to ensure that victims are properly recognised as such through referral into the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) and we forward intelligence to the police to assist in bringing perpetrators to justice. Our Legal Team supports the victim through the reporting and investigative process should they wish to report the matter to the police and ensure that they receive appropriate basic legal advice on all aspects of their case including any potential civil actions. This means perpetrators are held to account financially as well as through the criminal justice process.

  • Campaign

    We campaign at a local, national and international level to ensure the laws on human trafficking work effectively to combat the problem. As we develop relationships in Whitehall our advocacy and legislative agenda is growing with over 100 ACTFORJUSTICE community groups joining our call for action and awareness. We are an established part of the anti-trafficking NGO community and a member of the Human Trafficking Foundation, an umbrella forum chaired by Anthony Steen.

Our Executive Team

  • Ben Cooley
    Ben CooleyChief Executive Officer
  • Robert Allen
    Robert AllenChief Operating Officer
  • Allan Doherty
    Allan DohertyActing Director of Operations
  • Gareth Russell
    Gareth RussellDirector of Partnerships
  • Judith Townsley
    Judith TownsleyExecutive Assistant to CEO

— Board of Directors

  • Robert White (chairman)
  • Marion White
  • Robert Allen
  • Christopher Dacre
  • Timothy Nelson
  • Martin Warner
  • Vivian Jackson
  • Anthony Jackson


Take a look at our Annual Report and read our review of the last year at Hope for Justice. We hope you’ll be as pleased as us at all the progress that’s been made and share our anticipation for what’s ahead as the fight against human trafficking goes to the next level.

Download PDFHope for Justice Annual Report Apr 2012 - Apr 2013

Frequently Asked Questions

Human trafficking is a hidden and complex crime that can easily be misunderstood. It is conducted by serious organised criminals whose methods are constantly evolving. Hope for Justice is pioneering a new approach to combatting the devastation caused by human trafficking on the lives of many people here in the UK. Click the drop-down links to see the answers:

  • +What is the simplest way to explain human trafficking?

    The definition of human trafficking comes from the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children which is one of three Protocols known collectively as the Palermo Protocols. These protocols were signed in 2000 and the UK is signatory. The best way to understand human trafficking is to split it into its three elements; each element must be present to establish a case of trafficking. We ask ourselves – has there been:

    1. The ACT – What is done

      e.g. recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons.

    2. The MEANS – How it is done

      e.g. threat or use of force, coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or position of vulnerability, giving or receiving of payments/benefits.

    3. The PURPOSE – Why it is done

      e.g. prostitution, sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery, servitude, removal of organs.

    Where the suspected victim is a child it’s only necessary to demonstrate that the ‘act’ and ‘exploitation’ elements exist.

  • +Is it only human trafficking if victims are transported across national borders?

    No! The Protocol recognises a number of ‘acts’ (transfer, recruitment, harbouring or receipt of persons) but it doesn’t specify that those actions need to cross borders. When someone is moved from place to place or town to town within the UK as a result of transport, transfer, recruitment, harbouring or receipt of persons they are also trafficked. This kind of trafficking within a country is called ‘internal trafficking’. When a person has moved or been moved across a national border it is ‘external trafficking’. Both types are prohibited by the Protocol.

  • +What if people travel to the UK willingly?

    The Protocol answers this question and the best way to explain it is with an example. Meet Jacob, Jacob responds to a job advert offering certain wages and accommodation for work in a UK city. This seems a great opportunity and Jacob travels to the city willingly. Jacob has been recruited for work by the person who posted the advert and he has transported himself; either the recruitment or the transport is enough to satisfy the ‘act’ element from the Protocol’s definition of trafficking.

    When Jacob arrives for the job he’s told he has to pay off the cost of the accommodation he’s offered but with deductions for food and transport to and from work, and with the unreasonably low wages Jacob will never have enough money to pay off the accommodation. Now he’s trapped in a cycle of debt. Jacob was promised certain work and conditions but the promise has turned out to be false; he was deceived into travelling to the UK city, that deception is the ‘means’ element of the definition.

    The fact that Jacob works for no real pay because of all those unreasonable deductions means he is being exploited. He is a victim of exploitation for forced labour. The labour is forced because he does it under ‘menace or penalty’, the penalty being that he must pay off his debt. Jacob transported himself (‘act’), he did this because he was deceived (‘means’) and now he’s been exploited to work for no real pay (‘exploitation’). Jacob is a trafficking victim, despite having made his initial journey to the UK freely.

  • +What if people aren't kept captive physically, is that still trafficking?

    The Protocol mentions ‘means’ of trafficking and this includes some physical ‘means’ such as use of force or abduction. This kind of physical confinement and rough handling is what we most often associate with trafficking; a girl tied to a bed, a guy locked in a trailer. However, the ‘means’ of trafficking can often be psychological or emotional manipulation such as a threat against the victim’s family or the long-term ‘grooming’ of a victim to believe the trafficker is their lover or friend. Traffickers may manipulate their victims by creating fear of others; there have been instances of traffickers dressing as police officers before raping a victim. Acts like this falsely convince a victim that the police cannot be trusted and should be feared. There has been an increasing trend of traffickers targeting vulnerable groups in society for recruiting victims. Their vulnerabilities make them easy to control without needing to resort to physical measures. Common examples include alcoholics and the homeless.

  • +Is there really a lot of trafficking in the UK, isn't it a 'developing world' problem?

    Trafficking is a global problem and it’s happening in our communities, perhaps even on our street. Hope for Justice only deal with cases in the UK and yet our staff are busy, as we grow the volume of cases keeps pace. In a 2005 report the International Labour Organisation estimated that $31.6bn is made from the forced labour of trafficking victims, with $15bn of that money being generated within industrialised nations like our own – as you can see, that’s pretty much half. With the public paying more for services in ‘developed’ nations there is more profit to be made from forced labour and sex trafficking in nations like our own than in ‘developing’ countries. See our statistics for more info.


  • +How trustworthy are the statistics?

    Statistics are estimates, they are an educated guess. Some people may think that there is no value to a ‘guess’ of any sort, but with human trafficking being conducted so successfully out of the public eye, half of the battle is awareness. If we can get people to think about trafficking, we can teach them to recognise trafficking indicators and we can make it significantly more difficult for traffickers to operate in the UK. The value of statistics is that they can have an impact on an audience in just one sentence. Once a person’s attention has been grabbed, a space is created for the fuller picture of trafficking to be painted.

    It’s impossible to know the exact number of victims of human trafficking that exist because it’s a crime that happens mostly out of the public eye and within a criminal underground. For this reason all statistics should be treated as estimates and not as indisputable fact, figures should be interpreted with a margin either way; the real number could be bigger or smaller. What is indisputable is the existence of human trafficking and its presence in our nation; the debate over the reliability of particular statistics can detract from that important truth to the detriment of those caught up in a web of slavery and exploitation.

    With any statistic it is vital to know the exact source and that is why Hope for Justice will not use a statistic from another organisation without being able to direct you to the title of the report, the date of the report, its author and the precise page number where it can be found.

  • +How can I recognise trafficking in my own community?

    There are many indicators of trafficking in general and further specific ones for each type of trafficking. A copy of the indicators we use in our training can be found here. The existence of any one or even a number of indicators is not proof of trafficking but combined with your best judgement it is sensible to report any concerns about an individual or yourself to Hope for Justice using the details in the answer directly below.

  • +What should I do if I suspect trafficking?

    If yourself or someone else is in immediate danger dial 999 and speak to the police. If you or someone else is not in immediate danger, or you have already spoken to the police contact Hope for Justice by calling:

    0845 519 7402

    If you report potential trafficking activity to Hope for Justice, we will endeavour to keep you informed about the progress of the case. However, the information we gather following a report is often subject to confidentiality. For that reason, whilst we understand you may want to be kept fully informed because you are passionate about anti-human trafficking efforts, this is not always possible or appropriate.

  • +What is Hope for Justice's strategy to end human trafficking in the UK?

    Hope for Justice have a four part strategy:

    • Investigating and bringing about the rescue of victims from the abuse of human trafficking – we work closely with the police and other partners and provide training for organisations and individuals to equip them to recognise the indicators of trafficking.
    • Assisting in the protection and rehabilitation of victims – we advocate for victims, meeting practical needs where appropriate and build relationships with aftercare providers nationwide.
    • Ensuring perpetrators are held responsible for their crimes via prosecution – we contribute to police investigations and support victims through the process
    • Campaigning at local, national and international level to ensure the laws on human trafficking work effectively to combat the problem – we want to raise levels of public awareness and put the fight against trafficking and the aiding of victims onto the Government agenda.

    Due to the nature of trafficking and elements of serious organised crime, it is not always possible to give specific details of our strategy or the operational aspects of Hope for Justice. We hope this gives you a clear enough picture of how we work.

  • +What do you mean by the term 'rescue'?

    Hope for Justice have an office motto; “Rescue isn’t an event, it’s a process”.

    To our staff and supporters this motto means that we don’t use the term ‘rescue’ to glorify ourselves or sensationalise a story. Instead ‘rescue’ is the label we give to the time when we celebrate the unique individual we’ve been able to help and mark the beginning of their journey of recovery. We know as well as anyone that this journey can be a very tough and lengthy one for a victim of human trafficking. We want each individual to know that this is a fresh start for them if they choose it; promising and full of possibility. We hope that along the way they’ll be able to turn their back on their situation of exploitation, regain confidence and reclaim the future they’d imagined for themselves.

    So ‘rescue’ denotes the beginning of restoration and this nearly always starts with placing a victim into aftercare. That can’t happen until a victim has been identified following either their escape or removal from exploitation. Many people imagine ‘rescue’ to mean kicking down the doors of brothels and there are occasions when, accompanied by the police, that will be the case. However, there are also more humble but equally decisive encounters, such as the identification of a trafficking victim at a homeless feeding station. Their safe placement into aftercare is just as worthy of the label ‘rescue’. Without that intervention the person would remain vulnerable, at risk of re-trafficking and unlikely to receive adequate physical and psychological care. Their recovery will be delayed perhaps indefinitely. It’s important to signal a clean break from past experiences and acknowledge that they were not to blame for what happened to them.

  • +Does Hope for Justice operate across the UK?

    Our vision is to see the end of human trafficking here in the whole of UK. We have completed a stringent review process of our operations which has resulted in the decision to open a network of nine Regional Investigative Hubs in regions across the UK. This expansion will take place in phases, and the first phase will be the opening of three Hubs in the next three years. In January 2013, the first Hub opened in the north-east of England. However, Hope for Justice will continue to accept calls from everywhere in the UK with information about trafficking or referrals from victims.

  • +Does Hope for Justice work with the UK government and police?

    Hope for Justice seeks to develop partnerships with senior officers in each constabulary, particularly, those in our target areas, and has already successfully cultivated relationships with key officers. Our aim is to encourage and equip police forces and provide a bridge not a barrier between victims and the police. There is a need even where frontline police officers are fully versed in trafficking law and the National Referral Mechanism procedure for Hope for Justice to act as a trusted intermediary. This is because many victims are instilled with a fear of the police from past experiences in their home country or where the fear has been falsely created by their traffickers. Hope for Justice offer training on the indicators of trafficking and the National Referral Mechanism to police forces. We honour the service they provide but also recognise the burdens placed on UK police forces by limited resources.

  • +Why does the fight against human trafficking require an NGO?

    The kind of fear and manipulation experienced by many victims means they would never consider reporting their situation to the police. This creates a desperate need for a trusted third party who can build bridges between the victim and the police. Hope for Justice play that role by coming alongside victims, getting to know them and their situation and guiding them into safe aftercare facilities. After some time in a safe environment, victims are often able to overcome the fear they’ve been instilled with. At this point the victim may feel comfortable telling their story to the police.

  • +What results has Hope for Justice's strategy produced so far?

    All of our most up-to-date results are available in our Annual Report. We are not always able to say much about our successes because of on-going police investigations and because of our commitment to protect and respect the victims we have helped. However, we believe in openness and integrity and if we can say something we will. See our Annual Report for more info.

  • +Why focus on human trafficking out of all the injustices in the world?

    There are, sadly, too many injustices happening in our world. To really combat any problem you have to set out with a clear idea of what you want to achieve and focus solely on that. It’s good to have an idea of surrounding issues, but in order to do your best work you must not get side-tracked. Hope for Justice exists to see the end of human trafficking in the UK. We have a definition of what human trafficking is and we’ve set geographical limits for our work. “Why human trafficking?” is a question each staff member and supporter will answer differently. Recognising how difficult it is for many victims to approach the police even though their need is desperate creates a need for an organisation like Hope for Justice. After hearing the stories of those who have been rescued or hearing the statistics of how many haven’t been rescued yet, most people are compelled to act. That was the way it began for our CEO, Ben Cooley, and for many others inside and outside the office.

  • +Is it a good idea to use the term 'victim'?

    Due to the manipulation, deceit, coercion and grooming employed by traffickers many of the people we rescue from exploitation do not realise they are victims. Understanding that what has happened to them is wrong and the trafficker is to blame and not themselves can sometimes be a long and difficult road. Getting the general public and organisations to understand that a crime has occurred and that the crime has a human cost also necessitates the use of a commonly understood term such as ‘victim’. This is why Hope for Justice use the term ‘victim’, although staff remain aware of the sensitivities of such a label and will often alternatively use the terms ‘survivor’ or ‘client’ when interacting with victims.

  • +Is Hope for Justice a Christian organisation? Does it only help Christian victims?

    Hope for Justice is a Christian organisation. This means that most staff come from a church background and all staff are expected to work in a way that reflects core values of respect, tolerance, love for society, passion for justice and appreciation of the value of individuals. The organisation strives for high standards of professionalism, due diligence, openness and integrity but the service we deliver is not directly evangelistic. We hope that our work and the good that comes of it speaks of the love of God but we do not impose our personal and organisational values on our clients. We are acutely aware of the vulnerability of the victims we rescue and we treat them with the highest level of cultural sensitivity. We serve victims who have originated from all across the globe and from the diverse mix of cultures that call the UK home. We do utilise the programs of some faith-based organisations that provide aftercare for victims of trafficking but we would only make a referral if the victim was comfortable with the content of the programme and was able to make an informed choice.

  • +How is Hope for Justice different from other anti-human trafficking charities?

    Hope for Justice focusses on investigating instances of human trafficking and following up with rescues. There are a number of other excellent charities in the field who conduct research projects, raise public awareness and lobby government. We’re really proud to work alongside these charities and we love to honour the outstanding contribution they’ve made over the years. We continue to recognise the value of our very different contributions to the struggle against modern day slavery and hope that the awareness they raise will ultimately prompt more people to report suspected trafficking to Hope for Justice. As described above, Hope for Justice is then excellently placed to build bridges between the victim and the police, and provide the police with specialist knowledge of trafficking and the National Referral Mechanism.

  • +How is Hope for Justice funded and regulated?

    Hope for Justice is currently funded by private individuals, a small number of trusts and via church partnerships. Churches who have partnered with us commit to giving a set, regular donation in a similar way to individuals who donate. Hope for Justice does not currently receive government funding. More information about our financials is available in our Annual Report.

    Questions about regulation and accountability are addressed by our Accountability Structure. See our Annual Report for more info.

The Importance of Celebrating

“Time to drink champagne and dance on the tables.”

This is the tweet we share to tell the world when we’ve completed a successful rescue. We know that “rescue isn’t an event, it’s a process”. So we never use the term ‘rescue’ to glorify ourselves or sensationalise a story. Instead it’s the label we give to the time when we celebrate the unique individual we’ve been able to help and mark the beginning of their journey of recovery.

After the day’s work is done and the staff return to the office, we mark these wonderful beginnings with a toast. A member of staff is asked to give a name to the rescued victim that can be used in our media and then we raise a glass to them. The new name is written carefully on a label and hung around the neck of the bottle. Dotted all around our office are champagne bottles, each one a simple reminder of the amazing people we’ve helped and loved getting to know.

So if you see this tweet on Twitter get together with friends and family and celebrate one more good thing made possible by the power of people.

“Two things make this time really special. Firstly, it keeps the individual at the centre of what we do. We’re here to end the exploitation of these victims and if we take this time out to remember them we’ll never lose sight of what’s important. Secondly, for me, it’s a great way to bring the staff together and to share the good progress with our supporters. It’s important to be connected.”

Rebecca, Spring 2012 Intern

Champagne is purchased by staff members using their own finance or is often given to the office as a gift by a community partner or supporter.