• Sense it. Spot it. Stop it.

    If a person is in immediate danger always dial 999.

  • The process of the NRM

    Overview of the National Referral Mechanism

    PDF Icon  Download a complete digram of the NRM Process

    STEP 1: Contact a first responder

    To be referred through the NRM, the first step is for there to be an interview. During the interview the NRM referral form is completed, this is then submitted to the UKHTC who make the decision as to whether someone is considered a victim of human trafficking.

    The interview is taken by what is called a ‘First responder'. First responders are authorised agencies and include

    Local Authorities
    UK Border Agency
    POPPY Project
    TARA Project (Scotland)
    Migrant Helpline
    Medaille Trust
    Salvation Army
    Gangmasters Licensing Authority
    UK police forces
    Local Authority Children's Services
    Health and Social Care Trusts (Northern Ireland)


    If you are from any other organization or are an individual, contact Salvation Army who will take on the role as first line responder.

    If you are police and are unsure how to complete an NRM form call UKHTC.

    If you are from children's services and are unsure how to complete an NRM form contact NSPCC/CTAIL.


    STEP 2: Complete the NRM FORM

    Read the NRM forms to see what information needs to be given:
    Click to download the Adult NRM form 
    Click to download the Child NRM form


    Completing the NRM form.

    The first responder will interview the potential victim and complete the NRM form.

    The referral is voluntary and can happen only if the potential victim gives their permission by signing the referral form. 

    Unlike adults, children do not need to consent to their referral but the child should be informed as to why a referral is being made and kept informed of decisions through their appointed representative.


    STEP 3: Submitting completed NRM forms

    Completed forms should be sent to the UKHTC Competent Authority via e-mail at or by fax to 0870 496 5534.


    STEP 4: Assessment by a competent authority


    In the UK we have two Competent Authorities:


    • The UKHTC, which deals with NRM referrals from the police, local authorities, and NGOs.


    • The UK Border Agency, which deals with NRM referrals identified as part of the immigration process, for example where trafficking may be an issue as part of an asylum claim.


    The CA will assess the case and make a decision on whether an individual is a victim of trafficking. There are several stages in this process:


    Stage 1. Reasonable Grounds Decision

    The target is for this decision to be made within 5 working days from receipt of referral. The decision is based on the approach: "From the information available so far I believe but cannot prove."


    If the decision is affirmative then the potential victim will be:


    • allocated a place within a safe house accommodation, if required


    • granted a recovery and reflection period of 45 days. This allows the victim to begin to recover from their ordeal and to reflect on what they want to do next within the choices open to them. 


    Both the first responder and potential victim will be notified.


    Stage 2. Conclusive Decision

    The target is for this decision to be made within within 45 calendar days of Reasonable Grounds Decision. 
    The decision is based on the approach: "It is more likely than not."

    Both the first responder and potential victim will be notified.


    STEP 5: What happens next?

    If an individual has been identified by the Competent Authority as a victim of trafficking, these are the possible next stages of the NRM process:

    A. Co-operation with police enquiries. The victim may be granted discretionary leave to remain in the UK for up to one year to allow them to co-operate fully in any police investigation and subsequent prosecution. The period of discretionary leave can be extended if required.

    B. Possible leave to remain. If a victim is not involved in the criminal justice process, the UKBA may consider a grant of discretionary leave to remain in the UK, dependent on the victim's personal circumstances.

    C. Wishes to return home. If the victim is from outside the European Economic Area, they can receive help and financial assistance to return home through the UK Border Agency Assisted Voluntary Return of Irregular Migrants (AVRIM) process. If they are an EEA national, UKHTC will put them in touch with their embassy and any relevant NGOs who may be able to help.


    What if the referred person is not found to be a victim of human trafficking?

    If an individual has not been found to be a victim of trafficking, depending on their circumstances they may be referred to the relevant Police force or the UKBA.

    There is no appeals process for an individual to challenge the Reasonable Grounds or Conclusive decisions. However, it can be challenged at Judicial Review.

    If the UKBA has decided that an individual was not trafficked and there are no other circumstances that would give them a right to live in the UK, they will be offered support to voluntarily return to their country of origin.

    The NRM operates alongside existing European, refugee and human rights law, so those who are trafficked may make other applications to remain in the UK based on either European, refugee or human rights law.

    If a child or adult is in immediate danger call 999.

  • Police

    Share what you have identified with your local police force.

  • Victim Support

    Support, advice and services available for potential adult trafficking cases.

  • Children's Services

    Advice and information on what to do and who to contact when a case involves a child.

  • Immigration Support

    Advice for cases where the potential victim may need immigration support.

  • The Police

    If the person's life is in immediate danger then you should call the police straight away.

    Phone: 999


    Local Police

    If the potential victim is in a situation that needs intervention then you should call your local police.

    Calls to 101 are a fixed rate of 15p per call, you will be redirected to the relevant place.

    Phone: 101

    Metropolitan Police

    The metropolitan police have a 24hour helpline for Victims and those who suspect trafficked victims are living in their community.

    Phone: 0800 783 25 89



    Call Crimestoppers if you would like to make an anonymous report of any information you have surrounding human trafficking.

    Phone: 0800 555 111


    Salvation Army

    The Salvation Army is responsible for delivering the UK government's contract to manage support services for adult female and male victims of Human Trafficking. Their confidential referral helpline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

    Phone: 0300 303 81 51



    Migrant Help

    Migrant Help is responsible for support services for adult female and male victims of Human Trafficking. For cases in Scotland and NI they are a primary contact. Available 24 hours a day. They are a first responder for the NRM.

    Phone: 01304 203 977 or 07766 668 781




    The Scottish Government provides funding to TARA (the Trafficking Awareness Raising Alliance) to provide support to women, over 18 yrs, trafficked (or potentially trafficked) for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation, recovered across Scotland.

    Phone: 0141 276 77 24

    POPPY Project

    The Poppy Project provides support, advocacy and accommodation to trafficked women. They are a first responder for the NRM.

    Phone: 020 7735 2062 (ask for the POPPY Project duty worker)




    Provide advice, advocacy and support services in the UK for migrant domestic workers. They are a first responder for the NRM.

    Phone: 0207 243 2942



    Medaille Trust

    Help women, young men and children who have been freed from human-trafficking. They provide safe housing and offer opportunities for physical and psychological healing and rehabilitation. They are a first responder for the NRM.



    Unseen UK

    Unseen runs secure accommodation for women of 18 years and over who are classified as survivors/victims of human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation and domestic servitude. They are a first responder for the NRM.




    NSPCC National Child Trafficking Advice Centre (CTAC) provides information and advice to any professional working with children or young people who may have been trafficked into the UK. Available Monday to Friday from 9.30am to 4.30pm. They are a first responder for the NRM.

    Phone: 0808 800 5000



    Children's Services

    Your Local Authority's Children's Services are responsible for all cases that involve children.

    Your Local Authority has a general duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children in need in your area, regardless of their immigration status. They have responsibilities for unaccompanied children, as well as those who arrive in the UK with their parents and about whose safety and welfare there are concerns.

    If you feel your local Children's Services would benefit from advice on how to respond to child trafficking cases recommend they contact NSPCC CTAC or ECPAT.




    End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and the Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes (ECPAT) research, campaign and lobby government to prevent child exploitation and protect children in tourism and child victims of trafficking. They provide training on safeguarding children from trafficking.

    Read this page on their website which provides guidance for professionals working with children who may have been trafficked.


    Phone: 0207 233 9887



    Anti Trafficking Legal Project

    ATLeP is a network of solicitors, barristers and specialist practitioners who advise, represent and support victims of trafficking and other vulnerable people.



    AIRE Centre

    The AIRE Centre promotes awareness of European law rights and assist marginalised individuals and those in vulnerable circumstances to assert those rights.

    Phone: 0207 831 4276



    Migrant's Rights Network

    Organisation working and campaigning in support of migrants in the UK.

    Phone: 0207 336 9412