Smuggling and trafficking are the same thing

Fact: Smuggling is not trafficking. Smuggling and trafficking are two different types of crimes. Smuggling is a crime against the state where the smuggler provides a (illegal) service to a person to enter (illegally) into a country. Trafficking is a crime against an individual where the person is treated as a commodity.

Victims of trafficking are always illegal immigrants

Fact: Human trafficking does not always cross borders. The crime can occur within the same country and even within the same city. Victims of crime can come from abroad as well as from the UK. Similarly, not all illegal immigrants are victims of trafficking. To be considered a victim of trafficking, the person needs to have been exploited and controlled though the use of physical force or psychological coercion.

If a person consents to the initial situation that has led to the exploitation, the person is not a victim

Fact: Consent is irrelevant to exploitation. International protocols and national guidance make clear that a person cannot consent to their own exploitation.

Slavery does not happen in the UK. Slavery only happens in the developing world

Fact: Slavery can happen and does happen everywhere. Labour exploitation, sexual exploitation, domestic servitude and criminal exploitation all occur in the UK. Both victims and offenders can be UK nationals.

There must be an element of physical force or physical restraint  that prevents the victim from escaping the situation

Fact: Physical restriction does not define the crime. A person can be held against their will under psychological means of control (such as threats, debt bondage, false promises, etc.).

Only women and children are victims of slavery

Fact: Everyone can be a victim of slavery. Adult men and adult women (including elderly people), boys and girls can all be victims of slavery. Victims of slavery do not often conform to a stereotype. Victims of slavery can come from a wide variety of backgrounds including educated and wealthy families. Similarly, they can come from abroad as well as from the UK.

Traffickers/exploiters are only males

Fact: Similarly to victims of slavery, traffickers do not usually conform to a stereotype. Both males and females can be exploiters. Similarly, not all traffickers belong to well-structured organised criminal groups. Some offenders operate individually and others are part of a bigger network of offenders.

Sexual exploitation is the only form of exploitation

Fact: There are many different forms of exploitation. The most common types of exploitation that occur within the UK are labour exploitation, sexual exploitation, domestic servitude and criminal exploitation.

Exploitation only occurs in illegal, underground industries

Fact: Exploitation can also occur in legitimate businesses. Victims of slavery can be working in nail bars, car washes, factories, hotels and restaurants, construction or in individual properties (as servants or nannies).