The tale of 400 victims: A lesson for intervention

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human trafficking
forced labour
criminal past
recruitment agency
Operation Fort

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Muraszkiewicz, J. (2021). The tale of 400 victims: A lesson for intervention: Historia 400 ofiar: wnioski dla właściwej interwencji. Archives of Criminology, (XLIII/1), 75–96.


This article speaks to a world order where forced labour is in plain sight. The starting point for the crime and recruitment of victims of human trafficking is often on the street. Homeless persons and individuals who have recently left correctional institutions are approached and swiftly transported to countries of destination. There, again in plain sight, they are taken to legal and regulated recruitment agencies and are found jobs. In many instances, they are placed in factories, recycling plants, and warehouses. Although these jobs are legitimate, what happens behind the scenes is not: individuals working have no access to their wages, suffer psychological and physical abuse, threats, coercive control, and their documents are taken from them. These clear components of forced labour are perfectly illustrated in the plight of vulnerable polish men recruited and transported to the UK who were discovered in UK’s largest police investigation into forced labour: Operation Fort. This exposé investigates and explores three key points where intervention is needed: two related to the recruitment of certain subgroups – the targeting of homeless individuals and those with a relationship with the criminal justice system, and a third, where forced labour is facilitated through the use of legitimate recruitment agencies.


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