20.9 million people are victims of forced labour, including victims of human trafficking and this isn’t just a developing world problem, it’s happening in our own neighbourhoods. In 2013, the Manchester based charity, Hope for Justice assisted 104 victims of human trafficking in the UK. Their work involves rescuing victims, prosecuting the traffickers, and raising awareness of the issue. The charity has put together a multidisciplinary unit consisting of investigators, lawyers and social workers deployed in the UK to find and free people trapped in modern day slavery.
“For a growing, medium-sized charity it was tremendously beneficial to be able to access leading lawyers who are specialists in their fields. As a result of iProbono’s work, we can be confident that what we are delivering is professional and fit for purpose.”
Legal Director, Hope for Justice
Hope for Justice’s Legal Director, Phillipa Roberts, first approached iProbono in need of advice on matters of data protection. The charity works with public sector bodies to speed up the process of acting on evidence of trafficking and they needed an information sharing protocol to ensure that sensitive details are exchanged securely and promptly. Phillipa undertakes casework for victims of trafficking and has a broad understanding of other areas of law, but the charity often requires specialist assistance of this kind.
The project developed from drafting an information sharing protocol to creating a template memorandum of understanding to be entered into with law enforcement agencies. This work enhanced the charity’s ability to work with law enforcement in identifying victims of human trafficking here in the UK. Ultimately, the closer they work with other agencies the more they can add their expertise and ensure more victims are rescued from situations of devastating exploitation.
Ben Cooley, Chief Executive Officer, said, “iProbono has helped astronomically. In the past, it was very difficult to identify and act on suspicions of human trafficking as the evidence wasn’t there. Information sharing protocols allow law enforcement to cross reference their findings and speeds up the process so an arrest can be made. Creating information sharing protocols is synonymous with rescuing a victim of trafficking.”
Hope for Justice has since used iProbono for several other projects. These include:
- Engaging corporate lawyers to assist in acquiring a company so that the charity can build a trading arm to fund their charitable activities.
- Working with employment lawyers to review in-house staff handbooks and policies.
- Sourcing a Hungarian real estate lawyer to advise a victim of trafficking in the UK on her rights in respect to property she was coerced into transferring to the people who trafficked her.
Hope for Justice are always looking for supporters to take part in sponsored walks, such as the Zoe Challenge. To learn more about Hope for Justice and donate to them, click here.
 According to the United Nation’s Global Report on Trafficking in Persons.