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Standards Against Female Exploitation

Information about trafficked, exploited, under-age, forced or coerced workers can be reported in confidence to RedlineUK  via its website   or by calling 0800 112 3733.

To find out more about SAFE, visit www.safe.uk.net

Feature  article & info by Angela Belassie




Standards Against Female Exploitation (SAFE) is a registered charity number 1147308 which was set up to tackle human trafficking and under-age working in the sex industry.

SAFE engages with the sex industry in the UK to promote self-regulation and safe practices through the SAFE Network.

The team work with the women over a period of time to build up trust in order to help rescue them from their traffickers.

SAFE then puts rescued women in touch with after care services, including the Salvation Army, The Medaille Trust - a charity founded to help women, young men and children who have been freed from human-trafficking, and the Poppy Project, Which provides support and accommodation to women who have been trafficked.

SAFE encourages potential abuses to be reported through its confidential RedlineUK hotline so investigations can be carried out and victims rescued. To date, four women have been rescued since the charity was set up over a year ago.

The charity was founded by ex police officers and is an independent charity, based in the North West. Its aim is to make sure that those who work or use the sex industry can do so safely and without fear of abuse.

The charity does not work for law enforcement agencies or the sex industry

SAFE also works to protect males and transgender people from any abuses or exploitation.

The charity hopes to expand when it has the funding to do so.

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FOUR women have been rescued from human trafficking for prostitution thanks to a new charity in Manchester, set up by former police officers.

Standards Against Female Exploitation (SAFE), which tackles human trafficking and under-age working in the sex industry, was tipped off about the women through its 24 hour confidential hotline.

SAFE Founding member and former police officer John, who cannot give his surname because of the sensitive nature of his work, said: “I think it’s a great result for a small charity and we believe that as we grow, we’ll have an even greater impact.

“When you see the damage people are prepared to inflict on young women for cynical exploitation, it’s just sickening.

“It’s heart-breaking to see the tortures, degrading treatment and brutality these women have been subjected to. It’s about time decent people stood up and ended this torture for these very tragic women.”

The charity has since passed on information to the police to stop other inappropriate practices within the sex industry.

One of the rescued women, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has thanked the charity for saving her.

She said: “I didn’t get fed, was raped and beaten. That was my life until I was 19. Now, thanks to SAFE, I’m going to college and getting my self-confidence back. I now know what freedom means.”

The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) estimates there are at least 2,600 female adult victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation in England and Wales. Reports from the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre suggest there are on average around 300 child trafficking victims in the UK each year. 

John added: “These women are controlled and can become broken and compliant, so it’s difficult for them to get out. We had a rescue mechanism which allowed us to build a rapport with them which did not compromise their safety or the dignity of the undercover operator.”

SAFE also engages with the sex industry in the UK to promote self-regulation and safe practices through the SAFE Network.

Human trafficking is international organised crime, with the exploitation of human beings for profit at its heart. [Definition taken from Government’s human trafficking strategy

Case Study- Tina

Liverpool. – north west

Tina was just 15 years-old when she met Sandra, who she had seen around town. Sandra kept telling Tina how pretty she was and insisted she join her at a party at her house that evening. Tina finally agreed.

Sandra drove to them to the party and scratched her car as she scraped a wall accidentally on the way.

When they got there, the party was full of men aged in their 30s and 40s. During the evening, Sandra started to shout at Tina and blamed her for ‘distracting’ her and causing her to damage her car.

Sandra went mad, shouting that it would cost Tina 1,000 and she owed her that money.

One of the men smirked and said he would give her 500 towards it if she slept with him.

Tina said: “I didn’t want to and kept saying no. But Sandra dragged me upstairs. She then pushed me into a room and he followed, then she closed the doors behind us. He raped me and I just froze.

“I later saw him handing over money to Sandra. I just felt so dirty.

“Sandra then trapped me in the house, using blackmail and threats to keep me there. She said she would hurt my family if I left and that I still owed her money.”

Tina was put into a house with other girls. She said they had a bed, but nothing else to keep them entertained.

“She wouldn’t let me go home alone and arranged for me to sleep with between five and 10 men a day. I felt dirty. We weren’t allowed to use protection and at one point I got pregnant and had to have an abortion. Some of the other girls got STDs.

“The clients would sometimes seem respectable and one even said he was a police officer. I would have clients come to me, telling me they were either married or had girlfriends, and I used to wonder how they could do that.

“Some of them were kind but others were mean and would do things against my will.

“I told my parents I had got back together with my ex boyfriend, going home regularly enough for them not to suspect anything. Sandra warned me to be back within three hours or she would track me down. I also said I was working and not going back to school.

“I was afraid of Sandra. At times she would scream at me, punch me, pull my hair and push me into the wall. Then at other times she be lovely and take me on trips. She would feed me and give me money to buy nice clothes and things with. She could be really nice at times.”

She said: “Sandra told me there were cameras in the room, so I didn’t dare to try to escape. She kept me isolated, without any television or form of entertainment. Even today I’m used to sitting in silence, staring out of the window.

“Then one day another girl, who was an escort, heard Sandra screaming at me. She asked why I would work for her and I explained it hadn’t been my choice. She then handed over the number for Redline, a charity which investigates human trafficking. The next day they came to my rescue.

“I had all been suicidal at this point as we could see no way out. I had been kept as a sex slave by Sandra for two years. My mum cried when she found out – she’d had no idea. 

“I still get flashbacks and have nightmares. But today I’m trying to get my life back together.

“I have had counselling and SAFE have helped me to get a work placement and go back to college. If it weren’t for SAFE I’d still be under Sandra’s control. I’m really grateful to them.

“Things are getting better and I’m no longer afraid.”

Questionnaire Analysis


1 Have you heard of redline UK?

  • 84.1%   Yes
  • 15.9%  No

2 RedlineUK Exists solely to prevent and help rescue the victims of Human Trafficking, do you believe:


2.1 Human trafficking is an issue which affects the UK Sex industry?

  • 39.7%   Strongly Agree
  • 46.0%  Agree
  • 6.3%  Nether Agree of Disagree
  • 4.8%  Disagree
  • 3.2%  Strongly Disagree

2.2 underage Working is an issue which affects the UK sex industry?

  • 39.7%  Strongly Agree
  • 36.5%  Agree
  • 15.9%  Nether Agree of Disagree
  • 14.3%  Disagree
  • 3.2% Strongly Disagree

2.3 Anonymous reporting is an essential feature of any service wishing to impact on these issues?

  • 80.3%  Strongly Agree
  • 18.0%  Agree
  • 1.6%  Nether Agree of Disagree
  • 0.0%  Disagree
  • 0.0%  Strongly Disagree

2.4 False and malicious reports represent a serious threat to the credibility of any organisation wishing to impact on these issues?

  • 57.1%  Strongly Agree
  • 38.1%  Agree
  • 3.2%  Nether Agree of Disagree
  • 0.0%  Disagree
  • 1.6%  Strongly Disagree

2.5 RedlineUK is building a strong and trusted brand within the UK sex industry?

  • 27.4% Strongly Agree
  • 43.5%  Agree
  • 24.8%  Nether Agree of Disagree
  • 1.6%  Disagree
  • 1.6%  Strongly Disagree

3 Does the sex industry have a role to play in ending trafficking and exploitation of the most vulnerable and underage?

3.1 A majority of persons within the industry support eradication of trafficking and exploitation of the most vulnerable/underage?

  • 63.5%  Strongly Agree
  • 30.2%  Agree
  • 4.8%  Nether Agree of Disagree
  • 1.6%  Disagree
  • 0.0%  Strongly Disagree

3.2 A minority of persons within the industry support eradication of trafficking and exploitation of the most vulnerable/underage?

  • 17.5%  Strongly Agree
  • 12.7%  Agree
  • 12.7%  Nether Agree of Disagree
  • 25.4%  Disagree
  • 31.7%  Strongly Disagree

3.3 The sex industry is being fully engaged by authorities to eradicate trafficking and exploitation of the most vulnerable/underage?

  • 9.5%  Strongly Agree
  • 12.7%  Agree
  • 23.8%  Nether Agree of Disagree
  • 38.1%  Disagree
  • 15.9%  Strongly Disagree

4 With regards to the extent to which human trafficking and exploitation of underage workers takes place in the UK sex industry, would you say:

4.1 You have seen someone you believe might have been trafficked?

  • 17.7%   Yes
  • 82.3%  No

4.2 You have seen someone you believe might have been working whilst underage?

  • 12.9%  Yes
  • 87.1%  No

4.3 Someone has told you that they have been aware of trafficked or underage person(s)?

  • 30.6%  Yes
  • 69.4%  No

5 When considering reporting your suspicions about trafficking or underage working say if you would be:

5.1 Worried about being identified by the authorities?

  • 31.1%  Strongly Agree
  • 29.5%  Agree
  • 14.8%  Nether Agree of Disagree
  • 16.4%  Disagree
  • 8.2%  Strongly Disagree

5.2 Concerned about a breach of confidentiality?

  • 24.6%  Strongly Agree
  • 31.1%  Agree
  • 21.3%  Nether Agree of Disagree
  • 18.0%  Disagree
  • 4.9%  Strongly Disagree

5.3 Anxious about your personal safety or fear reprisal?

  • 16.4%  Strongly Agree
  • 32.8%  Agree
  • 23.0%  Nether Agree of Disagree
  • 21.3%  Disagree
  • 6.6%  Strongly Disagree

5.4 Worried that you are mistaken and could cause problems by your report?

  • 13.3%  Strongly Agree
  • 31.7%  Agree
  • 30.0%  Nether Agree of Disagree
  • 18.3%  Disagree
  • 6.7%  Strongly Disagree

6 In the context of the UK sex industry, how many times would you say that you have met or otherwise been placed in contact with someone you believe:

6.1 Was probably trafficked?

  • 8.2%  more than 3
  • 0.0%  3 times
  • 3.3%  2 times
  • 13.1%  1 time
  • 75.4%  never

6.2 Was probably underage?

  • 3.3%  more than 3
  • 3.3%  3 times
  • 1.6%  2 times
  • 8.2%  1 time
  • 83.6%  never

7 I would consider reporting genuine concerns about an individual to:

7.1 Local Police

  • 31.7%  Yes
  • 68.3%  No

7.2 Anonymously to Crime stoppers

  • 56.7%  Yes
  • 43.3%  No

7.3 UKHTC (Serious and Organised Crime Agency)

  • 11.7%  Yes
  • 88.3%  No

7.4 Anonymously to RedlineUK Call

  • 70%  Yes
  • 30%  No

7.5Anonymously through RedlineUK Website

  • 76.7%  Yes
  • 23.3%  No

8 Have you heard of the charity SAFE, (Standards Against Female Exploitation)?

  • 89.8%  Yes
  • 10.2%  No

9 Public Perception about the sex industry:

9.1 The general public have difficulty seeing any difference between the Sex industry and those involved in trafficking and exploitation of the vulnerable and underage?

  • 30.5%  Strongly Agree
  • 55.9%  Agree
  • 5.1%  Nether Agree of Disagree
  • 3.4%  Disagree
  • 5.1%  Strongly Disagree

9.2 The general public are cynical about any message suggesting that the sex industry wants to eradicate trafficking, exploitation and create a culture of harm reduction?

  • 28.8%  Strongly Agree
  • 49.2%  Agree
  • 15.3%  Nether Agree of Disagree
  • 3.4%  Disagree
  • 3.4%  Strongly Disagree

10 Perceptions about the sex industry:

10.1 The illegal nature and stigma attached to some aspects of sex work lead persons involved to be secretive and private?

  • 55.9%  Strongly Agree
  • 44.1%  Agree
  • 0.0%  Nether Agree of Disagree
  • 0.0%  Disagree
  • 0.0%  Strongly Disagree

10.2 Some people operating in the industry have more to hide than others?

  • 45.8%  Strongly Agree
  • 40.7%  Agree
  • 10.2%  Nether Agree of Disagree
  • 1.7%  Disagree
  • 1.7%  Strongly Disagree

10.3 Keeping a low profile within the sex industry conflicts with efforts to grow a culture of harm reduction?

  • 23.7%  Strongly Agree
  • 37.3%  Agree
  • 28.8%  Nether Agree of Disagree
  • 6.8%  Disagree
  • 3.4%  Strongly Disagree

10.4 Voluntary introduction of a set of standards for the industry is a significant step forward?

  • 44.8%  Strongly Agree
  • 44.8%  Agree
  • 6.9%  Nether Agree of Disagree
  • 1.7%  Disagree
  • 1.7%  Strongly Disagree

10.5 Effective management of these standards will lead to positive improvements in participating businesses

  • 44.8%  Strongly Agree
  • 44.8%  Agree
  • 6.9%  Nether Agree of Disagree
  • 1.7%  Disagree
  • 1.7%  Strongly Disagree

 10.6 Industry standards should influence the behaviour and conduct of others whether they are signed up to them or not?

  • 37.3%  Strongly Agree
  • 49.2%  Agree
  • 6.8%  Nether Agree of Disagree
  • 5.1%  Disagree
  • 1.7%  Strongly Disagree

10.7 Reduction of harm and eradication of human trafficking are realistic goals which the sex industry has a moral duty to pursue?

  • 69.5%  Strongly Agree
  • 27.1%  Agree
  • 1.7%  Nether Agree of Disagree
  • 1.7%  Disagree
  • 0.0%  Strongly Disagree

11 Can you please tell us what your relationship is to the UK sex industry?

  • 72.9%  Customer
  • 11.9%  Independent sex worker
  • 1.7%  Sex worker
  • 5.1%  Business Manager/Owner
  • 6.8%  Professional link (eg. Health worker)
  • 3.4%  None


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