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AS LONDON’S Eaves/Poppy charity launches a £450,000 appeal in the wake of the loss of the Government’s £6m contract for the aftercare of trafficking victims to the Salvation Army, let’s take stock of a situation that seems to have got just a little out of hand…

According to the Serious Organised Crime Agency, 156 persons were confirmed as sex trafficked in the UK (pdf) in the 21 months to last December 31, or about seven or eight a month.

So across the entire UK, less than 90 actual sex trafficking victims a year are found – the sort of number that could easily be housed in a reasonably modest hotel. Find some such hotel in a pleasant location with extensive grounds, provide it with appropriate security and counselling services, and enable its inhabitants to communicate with the authorities, lawyers, folks back home and embassies: job more or less done, you might think.

One victim is one far too many, of course, and individual cases can be appalling, but this is hardly the pandemic of the gargantuan proportions routinely ascribed to it by certain politicians and NGOs.

Less people probably fall down disused mine shafts, but not a lot less, and we’ve no such kerfuffle about them.

On the face of it, more sinister is that 54 of the 156 victims (or two or three a month) were under 18, of which only Read more…


London’s boxes of tricks guilded with Platinum Lace

I AM INDEBTED to Punternet’s Wanderlust for these shots of London phone boxes at the corner of Tottenham Court Road and Percy Street, which, like many others, are the focus of city deputy mayor Kit Malthouse’s anti-tart card campaign.
How thoughtful of BT – what better way to warm up pedestrians in anticipation of the joys of the ladies within than a nice full-length ad for Platinum Lace, the big new lap dance venue?   


I can’t think this is going to fill the hearts of the Harriet Harmans, Julie Bindels and Cath Elliotts of this world with joy, however, let alone the massed rank of Object activist.
Hmm. Wonder how many boxes of tart cards the Wellcome Library has managed to collect now? Ahh – 18 It was 16 when I first looked a few months ago….as for the campaign, Kit – could do better.


‘LILY’ – the key victim featured in Channel 4’s series on sex trafficking – was rescued not by a police raid but by a client in a Plymouth brothel.

Photo: Channel 4

That’s the conclusion I’ve come to after viewing last night’s episode of ‘The Hunt for Britain’s Sex Slaves’, which finishes tonight at 9pm.

Yet the programme makers have remained silent on the means by which Lily escaped the clutches of her captors.

Throughout the two programmes to date, victims’ testimony has been interposed with footage of raids causing viewers to link the two. Careful viewing, however, reveals Eastern Europeans among the women interviewed after raids on Thai brothels.

Channel 4’s ‘Lily’ is the same person Read more…

‘The Hunt for Britain’s Sex Traffickers’

The opening instalment of Channel 4’s three-part documentary The Hunt for Britain’s Sex Traffickers last night was plagued by dodgy research and an apparent complete inability of its makers to question the world around them.

C4 publicity pic: Their mission: to boldly wear ill-fitting M&S suits that had never been worn before

Its opening words produced the first gaff : “In the first operation of its kind…”

For Pentameter 2 – the combined operation by the UK’s 55 police forces whose story it purports to tell – was not the first operation of its kind.

The original Pentameter began in 2005, with its operational phase between February and May 2006, discovering 88 trafficked ‘sex slaves‘.

For God’s sake, this is a simple question of fact.

The gaffs were to continue, notably when the off-camera female narrator announced that it is believed that 80% of the women Read more…

SEX TRAFFICKING: the highs and lows of raids and rescue

I WAS EMAILED a couple of days ago by Carl Eve, crime reporter of the Plymouth Herald. In the light of my appraisal of Project Acumen and its estimate of ‘sex slaves’ in England and Wales, he wanted my views on a particularly nasty trafficking case he’d covered in Devon.

This was simple enough, as I’d written a post about it a couple of days after Carl’s story was published in February last year. To summarise his story: a 29-year-old Thai mother-of-two and business owner ran into financial trouble and borrowed money from a ‘friend’ – only to discover a third party had financed the loan. She paid off the principal amount, but the interest was crippling and the spiral of debt, after the sale of her assets, still left her well in the red.

Effectively, she became debt bonded, and was told by her creditors she would have to come to the UK to work as a “waitress.“

Around September 13, 2007, she and the female head of the trafficking gang, ‘Jaiju’, flew in to Dublin airport on false passports having been refused UK visas. They took the train to Belfast, then flew to Gatwick, thus evading UK border control. In an Earls Court flat, they met another woman, ‘Por‘.

Jaiju was handed £10,000 and returned to Thailand. ’Por’ had a sleeping partner, ‘Jak’, who was also female, who had a one third stake in the enterprise. Both partners had been trafficked themselves, worked off their debts, and then begun supplying trafficked women to brothels around the country.

The mother-of-two, named ‘Sue’ by the Herald, was told she would have to earn £60,000 as a prostitute to pay  Read more…

SPOTLIGHT: Lifting the lid on ‘Project Acumen’

AS MANY readers will know by now, the UK’s top cops have unveiled their latest estimate of ‘sex-slave women’ in England and Wales. It’s either 2,600 or 12,000 depending which newspaper you read.

Their report, entitled Setting the Record, can be downloaded as a PDF here, and I encourage you to do so because it’s already clear that the UK media is coming up with its usual melodramatic nonsense. It takes a while to plod through the whole report, so rushed journos don’t. They grab the press release, might (if you’re lucky) browse the executive summary, flip through for a few stats they can stitch in out of context, and add in the most sensational quotes they can find. 

Sex Trafficking: Exploding the myths

Here, however, are some facts from Setting the Record, many of which you’re unlikely to come across in the mainstream media: Read more…

Great Gratuitous UK Prosecutions: the Florina Felia case

LIKE many court cases pondered over in this blog, that of Florina Ionela Felia results in more questions than answers. Florina is a 28-year-old Romanian woman whose home in Station Road, Hayes, was gate crashed by police last June.

The Uxbridge Gazette’s report of the ensuing court case informs us that this followed “a tip-off from a member of the public, who believed there were prostitutes working there against their will.” 

There were indeed sex workers present – four of them including Florina. All of them, it seems, were migrants, as Florina found herself acting as interpreter for the police (who we shall assume for the purpose of this post can speak enough English to at least get by). Read more…

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