Thu, Mar 14, 2013 - Page 9 News List

UK failing to combat human trafficking, slavery: study

British authorities are being blamed for failing to prevent human trafficking, with the victims of sexual exploitation and forced labor often being ignored by law enforcement until they are prosecuted as illegal immigrants

By Toby Helm and Mark Townsend  /  The Guardian

The report also hopes to tackle one of the myths associated with human trafficking, namely that it is an international crime overwhelmingly affecting women and children. Of the 2,077 potential victims identified by the UK Human Trafficking Centre in 2011, 40 percent were men.

Copyright: Guardian News & Media 2013

Some proposals made by the Centre for Social Justice

‧ The post of anti-slavery commissioner should be established to develop independent monitoring and reporting on the UK’s response to the issue.

‧ The UK Border Agency should be removed as a “competent authority” in charge of the government’s system for identifying and protecting suspected trafficking victims.

‧ Responsibility in government for human trafficking and modern slavery should be transferred from the minister of immigration to the minister of policing and criminal justice at the Home Office.

‧ A new modern slavery act should be drafted which outlines the obligation to investigate indicators of slavery.

‧ All police officers should receive training on how to identify victims of human trafficking.

‧ Trainee social workers should be taught about the risks of child trafficking.

‧ Police should be tasked to proactively investigate the links between missing children and child trafficking.

Copyright: Guardian News & Media 2013

Case studies

Josef’s story

Josef, a 53-year-old Romanian, was working as an electrician in his native country when, in March 2010, he lost his job. Josef traveled to the UK in October that year with other Romanians who promised him work.

Upon arrival, Josef was taken to a house and forced to live in a garden shed, which had no heating or lighting. He was given no food or bedding and had only a hole in the ground for a toilet. While living there, he was forced to work for a Romanian family who owned the shed.

In December that same year, during a party at the house, Josef stood outside a window to beg the guests for food, but was refused. Soon after, two men entered the shed and began kicking and punching him repeatedly. Then they made him eat his own feces and raped him.

In March 2011, Josef escaped and contacted the police. He was kept at a safe location outside London.

Four people were convicted of human trafficking into the UK in relation to the case.

Jasmine’s story

Jasmine was held in Yarl’s Wood Detention Center in Bedfordshire, southeast England, for more than seven weeks before she told a charity that she had been trafficked and forced to work as a prostitute. After attempting to leave the UK, she was arrested on suspicion of possessing a false identity document.

Jasmine was convicted of the offense and sentenced to 12 months in prison. She has since been detained by the Border Agency.

Jasmine told the charity that she was often beaten up by her traffickers and suffered from pain in her legs, hands and shoulders, along with gynecological and stomach problems.

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