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Counter Trafficking

Survivors of trafficking are systemically under-supported allowing traffickers to operate with impunity, while their victims are hidden, afraid and silent.

Lack of appropriate training means that professionals, including police officers and immigration officials, may not recognize or understand that a person is a victim of trafficking crime.  Instead they may only see a criminal, an ‘irregular migrant’, an ‘illegal worker’ or a ‘foreign prostitute’.  This means that Survivors frequently fall through the gaps in services and the trafficking cycle starts again. Often trafficking histories are complex, and Survivors are often disbelieved, held in detention or criminalized for offences committed by their traffickers.    They are vulnerable, traumatized and unwell, and with nowhere left to turn they are driven back into the hands of abusers and re-exploitation starts again. We exist to prevent this atrocious repetition of trafficking and torture.


The Helen Bamber Foundation’s Counter Trafficking team works with Survivors to increase their ability to thrive and to live independently.  It’s about building trust.  Our team has the specialist skills and training to work with survivors who are at risk and  spend as much time as needed to ensure their safety. People who have experienced trauma need to be supported in the best and most appropriate way to drive their own recovery.  We do this by using the methods in our Trauma Informed Code of Conduct and providing all encompassing care,  to ensure that each person has the right support to stop them ever being exploited again. Often Survivors’ legal cases in the UK take years and we are committed to giving the support they need. Crucially, we stay with Survivors for their whole journey. 

  • Our care means that Survivors are the drivers of their own recovery.
  • Our care means that Survivors can be relocated from unsafe environments to safe environments.
  • Our care ensures that Survivors have access to sexual health services and child support services. 
  • Our care means that Survivors can attend college and/or find a job. 
  • Our care reduces the risk of social isolation and increases self-esteem. 
  • Our care works collaboratively with our legal team to ensure that Survivors are fully heard and understood by the Home Office and court judges. 
  • Our care provides support for all legal procedures, including criminal investigations by the trafficking-specialist metropolitan police in London, and other UK police forces.
  • Our care helps Survivors access compensation.


It can take Survivors years to come to terms with the abuse they have suffered and to fully understand their experience. The realization that they have been victims of trafficking and can affect their sense of personal identity and leave them feeling frightened and confused, not knowing who they can trust.  Social withdrawal and isolation can lead to re-trafficking and further harm if they are not protected and supported individually so that they can build trust again. 

Helen Bamber Foundation’s Counter-Trafficking team works carefully with each person, delivering delicate, kind and intricate support so that Survivors can ultimately develop a healthy relationship with themselves, others and the world around them. We stand with Survivors to ensure that their voice is heard and drives recovery and change.

The close contact the team maintains with Survivors means risks are quickly identified and the Survivor is given the individual, detailed support they need. 


In the last year 86 women and 38 men from across 29 countries were provided with specialist support from the Counter-Trafficking team. 

At least 279 face to face appointments were held by the Counter-Trafficking team in 2019.