Romania is consistently identified as a major country of origin of potential victims of modern slavery identified in the UK. The Commissioner has worked to strengthen the already positive bi-lateral anti-slavery partnership with Romania.
In June 2015 the Commissioner met with Romanian Ministers and senior officials in Bucharest to discuss the trafficking and enslavement of Romanians in the UK. During meetings with the National Agency Against Trafficking in Persons, the National Police and also the Prosecution Office (Directorate for Organised Crime and Terrorism), it was identified that although there have been a number of successful joint investigations, there are significant discrepancies with regards to the data held in Romania and the UK on the numbers of victims, suspects and prosecutions involving Romanian victims of human trafficking.
Positive cooperation has been established between Romania and the UK to tackle modern slavery, but the lack of strategic coordination has been preventing a fully effective response. The Commissioner is therefore working with senior Romanian officials on development and implementation of collaborative solutions.
The Commissioner secured the secondment of a senior Romanian official to his office to work as a Special Adviser on Strategic Cooperation with Romania on Human Trafficking. The Special Advisor will enhance strategic collaboration to tackle modern slavery involving Romanian victims and offenders. This role was established in January 2016, following the Commissioner’s visit to Romania in June 2015.
The Commissioner’s Special Adviser has focused on developing an enhanced common understanding of the extent and nature of human trafficking between Romania and the UK, ensuring effective coordination of prevention strategies and further developing the integrated response to human trafficking within the Romanian Embassy in London, which is already recognised as best practice. The Special Adviser is developing a problem profile on Romanian modern slavery in the UK, as well as recommendations for improved intelligence sharing and operational coordination between UK and Romanian authorities.
The Special Adviser is working to develop a platform to assist practitioners in the UK and Romania to collaboratively progress their cases at the tactical level. He has also advised law enforcement agencies across the UK on best practices and resources available for the prevention and investigation of modern slavery crime in the UK involving Romanian victims or offenders. This has included facilitating secondments of Romanian police officers into UK law enforcement agencies.