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Report: Trafficking victims may be tattooed to 'signify ownership'

The National Crime Agency (NCA) said it has seen some evidence of potential trafficking victims being marked with tattoos - like branding.

The report found that victims were marked with "various symbols signifying ownership or to show that a victim is over 18".

It’s a simple as branding cattle and I can put it in no more stark terms than that. This is how they view the traffickers, as something that they buy and sell.

– Liam Vernon, United Kingdom Human Trafficking Centre

The report said it included the evidence to give front line responders another sign to look out for when dealing with potential victims.

Car wash industry a growing destination for trafficking

The number of potential slavery victims exploited in car washes has risen from just seven cases in 2012 to 30 in 2013. Half of these were from Romania.

There has been a 328% rise in the number of potential trafficking victims going to car washes Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

The National Crime Agency found that many of these were forced to work for low pay and bound to traffickers through debt bondage.

Of those trafficked for labour exploitation, most (around 10%) were put to work in the paving and tarmacking industry by members of the UK Traveller community.

There were also significant numbers being exploited in the agriculture, construction and food industries.

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