SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Human trafficking gangs are branding their victims with tattoos marking “ownership,” a report by the National Crime Agency has revealed.
Evidence shows that some victims of human traffickers are “branded like cattle” as the numbers of people exploited by the gangs is on the rise.
The practice is usually used on women sold into the slave trade to show they are over the age of 18 and some are sold for as little as £20. The NCA wants to highlight the practise to officials in a bid to help the victims of trafficking.
Liam Vernon, head of the UK Human Trafficking Centre, said: “Put very simply, you brand cattle. I can put it in no more stark terms. And that’s how traffickers view people – as a commodity to buy and sell.
“That comes at the price of misery and real physical and psychological harm.
“It may be something that hasn’t been particularly looked for previously. We want to make a range of frontline responders aware of it.”
The NCA report said victims are often marked with various symbols or numbers, but the meaning behind them is unknown.
It said tattoos are used by sex traffickers and pimp but the extent of the barbaric practise in the UK is unknown.
Modern Slavery and Organised Crime Minister, Karen Bradley, said:
“Modern slavery is an appalling crime that has no place in today’s society. Yet these figures show it is taking place here – often out of sight – in shops, fields, building sites and behind the curtains of houses on ordinary streets.
“That is why we are taking action on a number of fronts including raising public awareness. The National Crime Agency is leading an enhanced and coordinated response to targeting trafficking gangs, we are working with law enforcement overseas, and we are strengthening legislation.
One example is given of a Romanian woman, who was held in Spain, was found with a bar code and sum of money tattooed on her body indicating the amount she would have to earn before she could be released by the gang.
According to the report the number of victims last year rose by 22 per cent to 2,744.
The number of British victims increased 124 per cent to 193, with the bulk of the victims trafficked for sexual exploitation.
Source: London Evening Standard