The Central Mediterranean Route and the ‘LARS’ proposal

Since 2011, Italy has been the locus of a massive rise in onward migration from North Africa, sourced from across the sub-Sahel, as well as from South and Central Asia, and the horn of Africa. In 2016 there were 181,436  arrivals in Italy by sea. Of these there was an estimated 30,000 minors present in the mixed migration of those seeking refuge, work, futures, hope in Europe.

Requests for Asylum took some time to respond to the increase in numbers with 2017 presenting the paradox of more asylum applications than arrivals, owing to the backlog in Asylum processing which has blighted the Italian effort to appropriately respond to the sustained surge in forced migration numbers it has been absorbing into its  social and administrative economy  since 2014.

italian stats

 

In 2016 a study undertaken for the Protection System for Asylum Seekers and Refugees (SPRAR) annual report, noted that it was taking an average of 403 days from first registration of asylum, to reach the first decision. After that, if the decision was appealed the Tribunale Civile took a further 349 to hear the case, and from the second appeals court, the Corte d’Appello, a further 373 days. Where final appeals came into play the Supreme Court of Appeal – the Corted di Cassazione – took a further 688 days to receive the case and conclude its judgement.  From registration to final appeal a staggering 1,813 days – just a few days short of 5 years.

Italy has been scrambling to catch up. In 2017 it eliminated the Corte d’Appello to remove the second tier of the process of appeal.  At the same time it inaugurated special asylum chambers into 26 appeal courts the first tier Tribunale Civile.  However warnings were soon sounding from across Italy that the backlogs were so significant that in the case of the Florence chamber, carrying a backlog of 5,440 cases in 2017, 2018 would see none of the appeals lodged in 2017 or 2018 AND just under a thousand cases originally lodged in 2016 would not be addressed either.  And when all is said and done hardly any of those submitting their Asylum claims receive refugee status and subsidiary protection.

Why those who arrive in Italy stay

In 2017 only just over 13,000 of the 81,527 decisions which were made by the Italian asylum commissions, were for full refugee status or for subsidiary protection to those not qualifying as refugees but were recognised as being at risk of serious harm if they returned to their home country.

A further 25% of cases, 20,166 of the 81,527 cases before the asylum commissions, recommendations resulted in the generation of residence permits on humanitarian grounds – (health problems or preserving family unity). Humanitarian beneficiaries receive a 2 year renewable residence permit without family reunification being a deliverable.  This means that the   ‘humanitarian’  protection decisions which are generated for those seeking asylum in Italy, represents over half of the positive decisions passed through the commissions in Italy, a significantly different percentage than that of other European countries as the table below shows.

humanitarian Italy

 

The difference in the percentage of Humanitarian decisions in Italy over against full asylum or subsidiary protection, being deployed in other countries in this table, is massive, and worthy of further explication by the Italian authorities and the UNHCR.

At the same time the inability of all countries to exact removals of those who have failed their asylum claim after all processes of tribunal ratification have failed, is exemplified in the following data drawn from Italy in 2017.

italy removals

 

The countries which see most of the returns exacted are North African – Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria.  For third country Nationals coming from sub-Sahel there is currently a huge challenge facing Italy in achieving any voluntary or forced returns to West Africa and Sub-Sahel countries as the following data shows.

countries of source

 

countries of return

 

 

 

 

 

What is to be done? Europeanisation of approach

Italy’s asylum system is creaking.  Not only do decisions take an unconscionable time to realise, but once realised (just under 5 years if every route for asylum is exhausted) very few of those who are present either surfaced through their asylum appeals, or simply bedding down into Italy’s grey/black economy return home.  The same is true with differences in the asylum and subordinate protection recognition rate, across Europe.

Emmanuel Macron took the opportunity at a speech in the Sorbonne at the end of 2017 to highlight a fresh European wide approach.  He said:

“So long as we leave some of our partners submerged under massive arrivals, without helping them manage their borders; so long as our asylum procedures remain slow and disparate; so long as we are incapable of collectively organising the return of migrants not eligible for asylum, we will lack both effectiveness and humanity … we need to do that without leaving the burden to the few, be they countries of first entry or final host countries, by building the terms for genuine, chosen, organised and concerted solidarity.”

 

Carrot and Stick – Safer routes to European Work and Study

The European Stability Initiative in a working paper just published last month, suggests the following strategy to break the grid lock:

An Italian-EU pilot project supported across the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) to provide resources to bring the asylum process including appeals into a more efficient time frame without loss of quality. The Dutch asylum system is cited as a good example of how this can be done, in the ESI’s recent paper ‘Amsterdam in the Mediterranean’, the process from start to finish of asylum petitions takes just two months, with state funded lawyers expediting the cases through two comprehensive interviews.

Certainly a more efficient system, with full state sponsored support for the Asylum seeker would be welcomed by everybody. There are currently hundreds of thousands of migrants ‘capsized’  across Italy, caught in limbo, unable to work and prey to those who offer solutions to homelessness, hunger, loss of purpose, and lack of prospects,  open season for a range of exploitative and criminal processes to be unleashed on their lives. The hope of ‘integration’ is sadly underfunded and is currently not to the general public’s political taste.

The carrot offered, to encourage co-operation from source countries in accepting back their migrating population into their polities is to increase legal access to some EU countries to give the incentive to politicians at countries of source for future and sustained co-operation.  Member states of the EU can offer places for work, or for study, but either way the current stringency around legal means to access European opportunity for third countries will be ameliorated.

Will this be enough to staunch the flow of aspiration and desperation which fills the boats daily bound to Italy from the shores of the Libyan coast-line?  Until some clear economic and hard consequence signals are given to those who secure the smuggling routes North through to the nightmare vortex of Libya, where there are such inhumane, instrumental and cyclical forms of financial and venal extraction played out on young African’s lives, the flow is not going to be staunched any time soon.

Meanwhile the numbers are backing up in Italy, and some of Europe’s  barricades are toughening with resistance to hospitality, integration and honesty around how the global economy actually works, through the movement of goods and people, weakening.

In these circumstances, of desperation, lack of political and civic will, public disinterest in the outcomes foisted on those who have been swept up on their shores, the opportunities for incorporation into criminal and trafficked enterprises increases.

What are your thoughts on LARS – the Legal Access and Return Statement now being postulated to the UNHCR and the European Commission for consideration?  Our joint sponsored symposium in Palermo in a month’s time will be exploring some of the implications of taking this forward in Italy, and how the proposals are currently being received.  Readers reflections would be welcomed to inform our panel discussion on this during the week.

 

 

 

Supply Chains in focus – Just Share collaboration with CCARHT March 20th 2018

Supply Chains in focus –  Just Share collaboration with CCARHT March 20th 2018

Collaboration is what effective work in addressing Human Trafficking at every level is all about.  So here at CCARHT we are really delighted to be sharing with JUST SHARE, and the St Paul’s Institute to put on an evening of engagement with what is going on with Supply Chain transparency down in London later on in March.  Be wonderful to see some of our Blog readers who can access this evening event with us on this occasion.

Baroness Young of Hornsey, will bring her passion around fashion and responsibilities across the textile industry, along with her sustained political commitment to driving procurement accountability down through Public and Local authorities.

NGO heavy weights Aidan McQuade, (former CEO of Anti Slavery International) and Mike Dottridge (currently championing the Best Interests of the Child in the Global Compact for Child Refugees), will be speaking to the contribution of the Third Sector in driving through responsible and accountable Business practice in addressing Human Trafficking and modern slavery across their Supply Chains.

Professor Simon Stockley of the Judge Business School, will be looking at the power of ‘virtue signalling’ for  contemporary social media savvy organisations,  individual ‘public’ narratives and continuing the ‘North South divide’ of the Brandt report in new guise.  Natalie Evans head human trafficking and supply chainof ‘Transparency in Supply chains’ Procurement for the City of London will be addressing the challenges for developing effective compliance for Local Governance.

Chaired by CCARHT director Revd Dr Carrie Pemberton Ford the evening offers the opportunity to dig into what has already been achieved by advisory Supply Chain reporting, the wicked challenges which lie in its wake for sustainable development programmes, the responsibility and opportunity for ethically minded consumers and shareholders to sharpen up UK and international business boardrooms’ responses, and the upcoming landscape of global accountability around the inequalities which drive Human Trafficking opportunities.

 

st mary le Bow supply chains

Top TiP from the US 2016 – Ask the right questions

“If there is a single theme to this year’s Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report,”  Untitled pictureannounced Secretary of State John F Kerry in the presentation of the fresh off the presses 2016 TIP report,  “it is the conviction that there is nothing inevitable about trafficking in human beings. That conviction is where the process of change really begins—with the realization that just because a certain abuse has taken place in the past, doesn’t mean that we have to tolerate that abuse in the future or that we can afford to avert our eyes.  Instead, we should be asking ourselves—what if that victim of trafficking was my daughter, son, sister, or brother?”

So the stage is set yet again, where the global scenario of human trafficking not parties to the UNODC ppis set within the context of connectedness. Across the TIP report one reads of the state of each nation’s efforts to address human trafficking and the grading which the US assigns to their efforts.  Tier 1 is thetop score you can attain as a country working against trafficking,  whilst Tier  3 is a place to escape from with some rapidity, if you want to be working with the US Government in Trade, or US Aid related schemes.  Tier 3 countries are designated as ‘ Countries whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so.’

And this year Secretary John F Kerry pulls into the front of the stage the ‘victim’ of trafficking, fairly and squarely centre stage for the imaginary of politicians, business executives, prosecutors, immigration personel and protection agencies world wide.  For the victim isn’t to be seen as ‘other’ as an opaque figure, lacking clarity in the wider obfuscation of the counting exercise which global policy makers are caught in, in order to make proportionate allocation of resources in the fight against trafficking networks.  Rather the ‘victim’ is being posed as someone, a sentient human being, one who could have relational, familial, household connectedness with the decision maker, or reader of the report.

This is an important reminder for those of us who struggle to discern the quantity and geographical distribution of those trafficked within the agglomoration of statistics, unsegmented data, migration records and algorithms designed to spit out  ‘hard numbers’ for policy makers and Gift a netpoliticians alike. To announce some form of ‘familial connectedness’ in the imaginary,  invites us to explore more deeply the fundamental issues  at stake within the globalisation of the economic activity of the world.  For the forces driving migration, the assymetries in wealth, access to land, access to protected human rights and dignity,  the essential levels of protection which the United Nations calls on the world’s 194 Nation States to respect, but which are corroded both within and without, are the very forces which put millions of people’s lives at risk of being exploited through forced labour and human trafficking, in their watercourse of erosion.

John F Kerry Secretary of State“Ending modern slavery isn’t just a fight we should attempt” announces John F Kerry in the preface to TIP 2016,  “it is a fight we can and must win.”
To win the fight, we need to understand the forces which are arraigned against people which put them at risk of trafficking abuse.  We also need to be asking wider questions around the business model of trafficking, which means that there is ‘demand’ for a market of those whose rights are being flagrantly violated by others, and unprotected by the states and communities through which they pass and where they end up exploited.

We need to ask the right questions,  dig deep into the prevailing context of global, regional and national inequalities, and explore the wider system in which Human Trafficking is set.  We need to ask  tough questions about location, ethnicity, gender, age-set, sexuality, the mode of labour and biological reproduction,  the distribution of state and cultural power, priveleged buyers and underprotected sellers, all leading to a the compromising of safety, security, and sustainable living for a significant proportion of the world’s population.

Ending slavery in the end is perfectly possible, but the time-line for its chinese worker in chinarealisation, when our ability to acknowledge the ‘other’ as brother, sister, son, daughter, mother, father, in the face of the migrant, the unaccompanied minor, the refugee, the street hawker, the urban slum dweller or the West African child pulled out of education at 13 because of household poverty,  is depressingly some way off.

For more on the TIP report, and its analysis of the state of various nations strategies to address Trafficking,  do follow @ccarht where we shall be delivering key details of the report, and be following the inputs to our CCARHT Summer School, where TIP 2016, the UNODC Global Report 2016 and the Global Slavery Index 2016 will comprise some of our first two days work.  With our faculty lecturers drawn from Universities in India, Africa, Asia, Europe and Canada, we shall be unpicking the methodological underpinnings of TIP, and exploring the implications of global data analysis in the struggle to mitigate Human Trafficking and ‘end modern slavery’.  See more here – some Early bird tickets still available.

ilm-logo-1cambridge summer school

TEAMWORK – Multi-agency co-operation what is working

Labour Trafficking and Multi Agency Cooperation  TEAMWORK!

A recent report from the Netherlands just out  – TEAMWORK – is a comprehensive tool kit,  designed to strengthen multidisciplinary cooperation against trafficking for labour exploitation in the EU.  The report was developed  in co-operation with a panel of experts gathered from Luxembourg, SlovakTeam Workia and Malta, (countries which will take on the EU presidency in the periods before and after the six month run currently in hand with the Netherlands).  The report was commissioned in preparation for the Netherlands presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2016, and there is comprehensive mustering of all the usual organisations which are implicated, trade unions, business associations, employment regulators, recruitment agencies and business, alongside prosecutors, judges, revenue and customs, immigration services, police, border agencies, and judges.

For those looking to consider the various implications of how an early British exit from Europe might impact on the UK’s ability to co-operate on European wide challenges for data and police resourcing of investigations and information sharing, the sections on the work of EMPACT (the European Multidisciplinary Platform against Crime Threats) which builds on the work of Europol, Eurojust, CEPOL, Frontex and Interpol from the 25 EU member states,  and Switzerland, will be of particular interest.  The stated role of EMPACT is  “to disrupt organised criminal groups involved in intra-EU human trafficking and human trafficking from the most prevalent external source countries for the purposes of labour exploitation and sexual exploitation; including those groups using Legal Business
Structures to facilitate or disguise their criminal activities”

training
Organisation wide or individual applications for CCARHT training courses running througout the summer of 2016 – do be in contact. Training@ccarht.org

The role of continued upskilling and training for all sectors incorporated in the report is particularly highlighted and fits well with the courses which CCARHT will be running out over the summer – in co-operation with a number of providers of professional service training. Do be in touch to discuss your personal or organisational requirements on this.

Do let us know your reflections on this report.  We are seeking to extend our understanding of what works and what has proved disappointing, what is in particular need of development in Multi Agency Co-operation and what are the continued gaps in understanding around the human rights abuse and internationally recognised crime of trafficking for labour exploitation – as we drive forward our own research into deepening early detection and enhanced victim care. Informed co-operation across multiple sectors is vital – but still appears to be seriously challenging – with different State’s working practices, legislation, bureaucratic procedures, employment cultures and political priorities impeding rapid development of co-ordinated and efficient interventions.  Our associates and readers thoughts after reading the report  are welcomed.

Report on working together to resist THB in Labour Trafficking
Report on working together to resist THB in Labour Trafficking