Author & Writer: Hera, Content writer, Headline Diplomat eMagazine
Traffickers use fake promises of education and job opportunities, violence, and fraudulent employment agencies to coerce, trick, and deceive their victims. While the trafficking industry is growing, several groups and organizations are also fighting to bring it down.
However, taking down a trafficking gang is not easy. It usually takes place in more than one country, making it difficult to comprehend and prosecute traffickers. Despite the challenges faced in taking down a trafficking gang, there has been a group that has been fighting to take down a trafficking gang in the UK.
In Taken, a documentary by Channel 4 shows a group of powerful people in power that are working together to bring down a powerful gang. It shows how sex traffickers operate from one country to another and how women are bought and sold ‘like meat,’ as one of the gang members puts it.
While the women are molested, raped, and hurt, the criminals enjoy a lavish lifestyle at their expense. Detective Inspector Peter Brown of the South-West Regional Organized Crime Unit works hard to gather evidence and ensure the criminals are brought to jail. “I know what’s happening,” says DI Peter Brown. He added, “But how do I turn it into evidence?”
According to the documentary, an investigation initially triggered by an anonymous letter to a police station in Gloucester takes three years to be unraveled. The letter tips that Mark Viner is part of the estimated 4,500 organized crime gangs taking part in running brothels, money laundering, and trafficking women working there.
The group working to take down the trafficking gang puts Mark under watch and meticulously pieces the puzzle together. All of Mark’s movements are followed closely: starting with the trips to Brazil and returning with young female companions; the discovery of three flats owned by Mark, out of which the women work; the extravagant lifestyle that Mark enjoys that could not be possibly supported by the Pension that is his sole recorded source of income; and the arrest of an associate, Lezlie Davies.
When Davies is told about Mark Viner’s involvement in the exploitation of women, he starts to cry and pleads innocence. However, when the police go through Davies’ phone and other belongings, it gives them a wealth of new leads that helps them to trail back Mark Viner. Besides, the cash movement is easily tracked down as well, with women bought and sold being interviewed and other gang associates being discovered.
In episode two, the police works around the clock to gather hard evidence; trying to avoid alerting Mark Viner in the process. They continue to assess the dangers of continued inspection against the proof collected so far. Since Mark has a lot of connections in Brazil, the Police are bothered that he would disappear if he discovered he was being followed. Hence, the police decide to hold on when he moves to Spain.
Detective Inspector Peter Brown, says, “Trafficking is what he does,” he adds, “And that’s what I need to prove. Peter Brown was certain that Mark Viner was one of the lead gang members after gathering enough evidence against him.
Episode three continues. The real-life international crime thriller reaches its climax in Spain and Brazil. DI Peter Brown wonders how Mark Viner looks so ordinary, and yet he is in the middle of one of the biggest sex trafficking gangs in the UK. Brown says, “Without people like him, a girl doesn’t get bought from Brazil into the UK and get raped.” One of the women who were interviewed states that they were raped, robbed, and hurt, after being forced to have sex with 10 customers per day. Another one recounted how a client booked her for 15 minutes, got rid of the condom before raping her, and then sent her several texts about him having HIV.
Investigating a criminal gang and gathering evidence across countries is not easy. Nonetheless, DI Peter Brown and other powerful people relied on several ledger entries, phone records, and went undercover collect something big that they could use in court to prosecute the trafficking criminals.
Taking down a trafficking gang is never easy. It is even more difficult if the trafficking gang operates across borders. No matter the size of the trafficking gang, it can still be brought down when organizations, people, and governments work together to create awareness on the issue, be it through a documentary, an article, an interview, a report, while working together with authorities to bring these gangs down. Such an example has been the ‘Taken’ documentary, whereby a group of powerful worked tirelessly to bring down a trafficking gang. Another great example is the movie ‘Taken’ with Liam Neeson that showed how teenage girls are lured over false pretenses, then drugged to be sold and molested by cartels till the die.
In this movie, Neeson eventually saves his daughter, but in reality, this is rarely the case. Most girls are never found and when they do, they are usually dead. Trafficked girls, boys, women, and men go through a lot. They are raped, robbed, molested and deeply hurt. It is high time that more groups, associations, initiatives, NGOs and IGOs bring their forces together to stop criminal gangs around the world by creating the necessary projects, documentaries, interviews to bring about the necessary awareness and understanding to the issue, while secure for a better and much safer place to live and thrive.
Featured photo by cottonbro studio, Pexels.