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.