People/child trafficking

Human Trafficking: Operation Pentameter 2 and support for victims


1. This section to outline the links between the current police operation, Pentameter 2, which is aimed at tackling human trafficking, the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (the “Convention”) and the provision of support by public and voluntary agencies, including local authorities, for victims of trafficking rescued during Pentameter 2.

2. This section outlines a number of issues relating to the support of victims of human trafficking. It is a complex area, both in terms of the practicalities of support, and in terms of longer term developments as the UK moves toward ratification of the Convention. To help maintain lines of communication, therefore, it would be extremely helpful if each local authority could designate a single point of contact for matters relating to the support of victims of human trafficking.

3. A copy of the Convention can be found at:

4. In broad terms, the Convention aims to:

      • Prevent and combat trafficking;
      • Protect the human rights of victims of trafficking, and in particular design a framework for the protection and assistance of victims and witnesses;
      • Promote international co-operation.

5. The Convention has comprehensive provisions for the identification, protection, assistance and support of victims. Its main provisions are:

      • Assist victims in their physical, psychological and social recovery, including provision of secure accommodation, assistance, medical treatment, translation and counselling (Article 12(1)); and;
      • Provide in law for a recovery and reflection period of at least 30 days to allow victims to make a decisions about their future. No expulsion can be enforced during this period.

6. COSLA Strategic Migration Partnership took a paper through the COSLA political structures to Council Leaders in November 2006 in order to raise awareness about the problem of human trafficking and to explore potential responses. Leaders made a commitment to support the counter-trafficking agenda at a local authority level and to adhere to the principles set out in the Convention, and called on heads of state to sign the Convention.

7. The Convention was signed by the UK Government in March 2007. On the same day the UK and Scottish Governments jointly launched the UK Action Plan on Human Trafficking, a copy of which can be found at:

8. The UK Government aims to ratify the Convention as soon as possible. However a number of steps have to be taken before that can be done, these include enshrining in legislation a reflection period, designating a competent authority for identifying victims and putting in place appropriate support mechanisms for victims of trafficking.

9. In the meantime, police forces in a number of countries, including across the UK, are taking part in a co ordinated operation focussed on human trafficking. In the UK that operation is known as Pentameter 2. As well as tackling traffickers and releasing their victims, Pentameter 2 is being used to identify issues that need to be addressed before the Convention can be ratified by the UK, including putting in place a national referral mechanism for identifying victims.

10. The current police operation, Pentameter 2, when set against the background of the Convention has implications for local authorities, particularly as and when victims are recovered, such as:

      • Need for agreed protocols on identification of victims; and
      • Support for victims, which might include support for victims who are willing to assist the authorities in the identification and prosecution of traffickers.


Identification of victims

11. During Pentameter 2 the United Kingdom Human Trafficking Centre (UKHTC) has been designated as the “competent authority” for identifying victims of trafficking in Scotland. When potential cases of trafficking occur, the police Senior Investigating Officer should pass the details to the competent authority as soon as practicable. The information will allow the decision maker in the competent authority to decide whether or not there are reasonable grounds for believing someone is a victim of trafficking. Relevant Information will include facts obtained during first contact and interview notes. At a later stage information may also include papers that an NGO might submit in support of an individual’s status.


Support for victims of trafficking

12. Although trafficking can occur in a variety of ways, the following categories of victim have been identified:

      • Children (defined by the Convention as anyone under the age of 18);
      • Adult women trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation; and
      • All other victims of trafficking (e.g. adults trafficked for labour exploitation or domestic servitude).

It may be helpful to look at each of those groups in turn.



13. Children should normally be picked up by local child protection service providers (e.g. the relevant social work services team), and Child Protection Committees have been alerted to the current police operation. An interim protocol was developed, in conjunction with Whitehall colleagues, for protecting children rescued from trafficking by Pentameter 2 and issued to Child Protection Committees at the start of October. This protocol was produced in order to provide guidance for staff involved in the protection of children located as part of the police operation. The protocol is attached at Annex A.

14. The Home Office and Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) jointly published, on Friday 7 December 2007, guidance on safeguarding children who may have been trafficked. The guidance can be found at:

15. The Scottish Government is currently working on complementary guidance that is based on the Home Office and DCSF document but which fits Scottish legislation and policy. The revised guidance will take into account feedback received on the interim protocol, and views on draft guidance will be sought from Child Protection Committees, and others with an interest, early next year.


Adult women trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation

16. Glasgow City Council and key partner agencies have developed a small scale service (the Trafficking Awareness Raising Alliance (TARA) Project) to provide an assessment and support service for adult female victims of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation. Since 2005 the TARA Project has received 21 referrals and supported 15 women.

17. The Scottish Government has provided an additional 6 month funding package to TARA to enable it to extend its services across Scotland. TARA will be able to provide immediate support for the victim, assess her needs, identify existing accommodation and give financial support for victims with no recourse to public funds for a maximum of 3 months (although this will be dependant on resources). TARA will also liaise with local authorities to provide advice and information to frontline colleagues, provide training and to negotiate longer term, local support packages for women. It will take a while for these arrangements to be put in place, and TARA staff will be in touch with local authorities in due course. in the meantime, if there are any issues that you wish to discuss with TARA, please contact Bronagh Andrew on 0141 287 8307, or e mail her on


All other victims of trafficking

18. There are no formal mechanisms for providing support to victims of trafficking that do not fall into either of the two categories above. However, as local authorities will have no legislative obligation to support victims who have no recourse to public funds for the duration of the reflection period, the Scottish Government has set aside provision that can be drawn down by local authorities on a case by case basis to gain recompense for the direct cost of supporting victims of trafficking. Details of how that money may be claimed can be found at Annex B.


Role of local authorities

19. Local authorities are often in the frontline when it comes to supporting victims. On most occasions it will not be clear beforehand what types of victim may be found as the result of a police operation. Local authorities will need to liaise with their local force so that appropriate measures can be put in place to support victims. Local authorities will also wish to liaise with service providers, such as TARA, so as to ensure that both immediate and longer term support mechanisms are in place.

20. The police have a crucial role in the emergency and out of hours care of victims. At the moment there is differing practice across Scotland regarding the provision of initial care, support and accommodation. It will be necessary to establish clarity on the responsibilities of the police and local authorities when victims are found outwith normal working hours. Glasgow City Council appears to have the most developed response in Scotland at the moment, and both local authorities and police forces might want to use that response as a model on which to build their own local arrangements.


Provision of detailed guidance

21. This letter gives only an outline of the issues raised by the Convention and Pentameter 2. More detailed guidance on the identification of victims of trafficking, how their needs might be best met and the support available, as well as on legal issues such avoiding the contamination of evidence will be issued as soon as possible.


Longer term

22. The measures outlined in this letter are only temporary, pending decisions on how best implement the provisions of the Convention. Those decisions cover both reserved and devolved matters. The Home Office and Ministry of Justice are leading on reserved matters, such as the immigration status (where relevant) of victims of trafficking. The Scottish Government is involved in discussions on how devolved matters might best be delivered in Scotland. In the longer term COSLA will ensure that individual local authorities’ views will be taken into account prior to any definitive decision being taken. In the meantime the key points of contact for COSLA are Derek Mitchell and Lorraine Cook, who can be contacted at and respectively, or on 0141 314 3548.



23. If you have any comments or questions on the above, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely,

William Hepburn, Head of Victims of Crime Branch


Annex A

Model protocol for action between child protection services and the police concerning under 18s identified by operation pentameter 2

This model protocol is issued by the Child Protection Policy team in the Scottish Government in collaboration with relevant representatives from statutory and non statutory agencies across the UK. The protocol has been produced in order to provide guidance for staff involved in the protection of children located as part of Operation Pentameter 2.

It is accepted by all agencies that children identified as part of the process will have been found in circumstances of significant harm, including being victims of and witnesses to crime and, as such, should be made subjects of local child protection procedures.



The protocol is based on statute and policy guidance with regard to children who are trafficked and/or sexually exploited. A localised version of it is also applicable in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The protocol is based on the following premises:

  1. Operation Pentameter 2 is a UK-wide multi-agency operation intended to combat trafficking in human beings. The operation is primarily focused on trafficking for sexual exploitation. However, children who have been trafficked for forced labour, domestic servitude or exploitation through street and other crime may also be identified.
  2. A child who is identified during raids on brothels, saunas and other exploitative establishments as a result of Operation Pentameter 2 will be found in circumstances strongly evidential of being sexually (or otherwise) exploited for the purposes of prostitution, or other types of exploitation such as domestic servitude or labour exploitation.
  3. Sexual exploitation is a child protection issue and all children who are sexually exploited or at risk of being, must be subject to Children in Need and Children at Risk assessment procedures.
  4. Where a child is identified as being a victim of trafficking for sexual exploitation, enforcement agencies should consider whether charges under the Protection of Children and Prevention of Sexual Offences Act 2005 might be appropriate.
  5. There is a high risk of trafficked children going missing within a short time span.
  6. Child Protection Committees may already have a lead officer or a sub-group and local services may be well linked up. When this is the case, the lead officer will notify appropriate agencies.

Trafficking is defined as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or reciept of a child for the purpose of exploitation (Palermo Protocol)

A child means every human being below the age of eighteen years.


Joint planning

Named contact leads from the children’s social work services and local police forces should be agreed and contact details shared bilaterally. The contact details of named leads may be different according to whether the referral is being made within or outwith office hours. However, it is recommended that one person from social work services has an overview on behalf of a Child Protection Committee area.

The named police officer and named children’s social work services person will liaise and convene an initial planning meeting.

In the event of a child coming to the attention of the police during Operation Pentameter 2, information regarding the police operation will be shared on a need-to-know basis. As police operations may occur in non-standard hours, out of hours services must be notified and briefed on agreed plans.

A card will be given to the child which will include NGO phone numbers. Where possible these packs should be available in a range of key languages. These may include Chinese, Vietnamese, Lingala, Yoruban, Romanian, Albanian, Hungarian and French. These cards are provided by the NSPCC and can be found in the SIO Toolkit.

Immediate contact details and the basic circumstances of the child will be given to children’s social work services as soon as possible.


National advocat

For all children and young people recovered within Pentameter 2, an advocate will be appointed by the Gold Command Victim Care Group. The function of the advocate is to support local authorities in providing appropriate care to these children and young people. Once the police have referred the child to the local Social Work Dept (or equivalent department for the relevant Children & Families social worker teams), the NSPCC 24-hour line (020 7825 2802) should be contacted. NSPCC will follow up on the cases by directly contacting the child or young person as well as the designated social worker.

The National Advocate will be expected to have an overview of the young person’s circumstances and needs, and will work proactively for those young people who go missing. Information regarding the child will therefore also be shared with the National Advocate who will monitor cases in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Responsibility for providing the National Advocate with this information lies with the local police force.


Child protection services

The police will consider taking the child into police protection for the reasons outlined in the background section.

Accommodation will be provided by children’s social work services under Section 25 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995. Accommodation options will be determined by availability, but it is recommended that due regard is given to the following needs of the child:

      • immediate safety;
      • accessible follow-up support; and
      • carers who can access health advice as well as appropriate linguistic and other support.

The preferred options for accommodation of children picked up under Pentameter 2 are:

      • experienced and registered foster carer; and
      • a residential unit that is registered under Section 93 (1) of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995.

Key consideration should be given to protecting the child. Contact by others with the child, both by phone and face-and-face, will need to be closely managed and is likely to need to be restricted in some measure. Strict confidentiality will be required in respect of the location of the placement, and contingency plans should be made in the event of the child being pursued by traffickers.

As the child will have been found in circumstances of significant harm, the children’s social work services should action a child protection investigation at the appropriate level in line with the provisions of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995.

The police will be developing an investigative strategy that is in keeping with protocols, and will be bearing in mind that in a safe contained environment, the child may be willing to give evidence.

Liaison will take place with child protection services in line with Protecting Children: A Shared Responsibility Guidance on Inter-Agency Co-operation. For England & Wales the relevant guidance document is Working Together to Safeguard Children (2006) and Scottish agencies may also wish to be aware of this document for completeness, especially section 4.7.2 dealing with confidentiality needs when placing the rescued child.


Age-disputed young person

There may be cases where it is unclear whether the young person is a child (under 18) or an adult. Young people may have no papers or may have been told to lie about their age to evade attention from the authorities. For example, an under-18-year-old in a brothel may have been told to say that he/she is an adult.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child states that in cases where there is an age-disputed young person, the benefit of the doubt should be given: until there is information to the contrary, the age-disputed person must be treated as a child and the above procedures followed.

For the purposes of Pentameter 2, agencies are recommended to abide by the above ruling in all cases where there is an age dispute.

As well as referring to the National Advocate, if further consultation on the treatment of age-disputed young people is needed, this can be obtained from Ann Lucas (team leader) and Ron Craigie, (Victim Care Coordinator), UK Human Trafficking Centre (0114 252 3891).


Actions to be taken

These specific points should be considered in relation to trafficked children:

      • Initial child protection procedures may include the need for medical or psychological involvement with the child, as they may also be a vulnerable witness in criminal proceedings to follow.
      • Agree the accommodation plans, the confidentiality of the placement is crucial to the child’s safety. This point cannot be over-emphasised.
      • Consider how the carer can best protect the child by understanding the need to control and monitor activities such as telephone access to, and supervised contact with, the child.
      • It is important to take a photograph of the child upon recovery and attach that to their records. The child may not have any identifying information on them and/or their documents may be forged. In the event that the child later goes missing, having a photograph of them is vital for their recovery.


Follow up support

Planning and follow-up support will be led by child protection agencies as per their care planning procedures. The following NGOs/organisations can offer advice and support.

Children who have been victims of trafficking will need additional support with regard to family tracing and voluntary repatriation, including specific risk assessment and independent legal advice with regard to their rights, immigration status and support.


List of useful contacts

NSPCC 24 hour helpline: 0808 800 5000

NSPCC Child Trafficking Advice Line: 0800 107 7057 (lines open during office hours) (for asylum advice for England, Scotland and Wales)

Refugee Council Children’s Panel: 020 7346 1134 (lines open during office hours)

Ann Lucas (team leader) and Ron Craigie, (Victim Care Coordinator) – UK Human Trafficking Centre: 0114 252 3891

Bronze Commanders for Scottish Police Forces as follows:

Central Scotland Police: DCI David Wilson 01786 456212

Dumfries & Galloway Police: DI Peter Stevenson 01387 242301

Fife Constabulary: DI Lee Gickson 01334 418726

Grampian Police: DI Martin Mackay 01224 306140

Lothian and Borders Police: DCI David Bullen 0131 311 3334

Northern Constabulary: DI Alan Mackenzie 01463 720253

Strathclyde Police: DC Supt Campbell Corrigan 0141 532 2078

Tayside Police: DI Ian Laird 01382 596630

British Transport Police (Scotland): DCI Jim McKelvie 0141 335 2785

Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency: DCI William Kirkwood 0141 302 1060


Annex B

Applying for the refund for the cost of supporting a victim of human trafficking


1. The Scottish Government has set aside funds to cover the cost of supporting victims of human trafficking who have been recovered under the auspices of police operation Pentameter 2 and who have no other recourse to public funds.

Victims eligible

2. Victims are eligible for support if:

      • The victim is not an adult women trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation (in which case, separate arrangements apply);
      • The victim is not a child (defined as persons under 18 years of age);
      • The victim has no other recourse to public funds; and
      • The victim was recovered under the auspices of police operation Pentameter 2.

Costs covered

3. The costs eligible for reimbursement are:

      • Actual cost of emergency accommodation, up to a maximum of £80 per night, for a maximum of seven nights;
      • Actual cost of longer term accommodation, up to a maximum of £175 per week;
      • The cost of accommodation (taking emergency and longer term accommodation together) will be met for a combined maximum of 30 days;
      • Cost of subsistence for the victim, at a maximum of £60 per week;
      • Cost of an interpreter; and
      • Any other costs reasonably and properly incurred in the support of a victim of trafficking, up to a maximum of £500 per case. If these costs are likely to exceed £500 please contact this office to discuss what further financial support may be made available.

4. As costs are being reimbursed on an ad hoc basis, and although every effort will be made to be as flexible as possible, please check on the eligibility of costs before incurring substantial items of expenditure. In particular, if support is required for longer than the minimum of 30 days allowed by the Convention, please contact this office to discuss what further financial support might be available.

Submitting a claim

5. Claims should be made on the attached Form T1 and signed by at least a team leader or equivalent. Separate forms should be submitted for each victim. Copies of invoices or other relevant documentation should accompany each claim.

Audit of claims

6. Claimants shall ensure that adequate internal financial controls are in place, and will keep and maintain for a period of three years after the expenditure occurs, adequate and proper records and books of account recording all receipts and expenditure of monies paid to it by way of recompense. The claimant shall afford the Scottish Ministers, their representatives, Audit Scotland and other such persons as the Scottish Ministers may reasonably specify from time to time, such access to those records and books of account as may be required by them at any reasonable time in response to a written request for such access from the person seeking it and the claimant shall provide reasonable assistance and explanation as the person carrying out the inspection may from time to time require.


7. If you have any enquiries, either in relation to the general principles involved, or in relation to specific cases, please contact:

Lynne Nicol

Victims & Witnesses Unit

Criminal Justice Directorate

Room GW.15

St Andrew’s House

Regent Road




Tel: 0131-244 3713

Fax: 0131-244 8494

Scottish Government

Victims & Witnesses Unit

21 December 2007

Application for refund of cost of supporting a victim of human trafficking

Name of authority:

Name of Account into which payment should be made:

Contact name:




Name of Victim:

Gender: Male/Female



Costs Claimed

Cost of interpreter:

Emergency Accommodation:

Other Costs:

Accommodation & Subsistence:

No. Days:

Subsistence (@ £60 per week):

Accommodation (up to a maximum of £175 per week):


Claims must be accompanied by copies of appropriate documentation.

Return to: Lynne Nicol

Victims & Witnesses Unit

Criminal Justice Directorate

Room GW.15

St Andrew’s House

Regent Road




Tel: 0131-244 3713

Fax: 0131-244 8494