What’s in a Name? Trafficking in a world of Modern Slavery
“The discussion around Human Trafficking has been led by the law…but only a multi-disciplinary, culturally contextual approach will truly enable use to understand the causes and find effective solutions.”
Dr. Carrie Pemberton Ford
On Monday the 1st of August, the Cambridge Centre for Applied Research into Human Trafficking (CCARHT)’s inaugural Summer Symposium commenced. Situated in the 500 year old Upper Hall of Jesus College, Cambridge, the Symposium was led by CCARHT director, Dr. Carrie Pemberton-Ford and attended by members of NATO, MEP’s, lawyers, academics, businesswomen, psychologists and delegates from the USA to Switzerland, India to the UAE. The aim, to shift the perspective of anti-human trafficking advocacy from a purely legal lens to, as Dr. Pemberton-Ford enthusiastically repeated ‘twenty-twenty-vision’.
“What do we mean when we say someone has been trafficked?” – In the wake of UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s declaration of a £33m war-chest to combat ‘Modern Slavery’, terminology and history were the focal point for the first day of the Symposium. ‘When we consider trafficking, we have to be aware that at certain historically and culturally specific moments in time, different disciplines have come into play in order to define ‘trafficking’ as we have known it and as we understand it today’.
As we began deciphering the language around trafficking, this already hydra-headed issue became far more complex. In it’s entirety, trafficking, as defined by the UN*, is equally distributed with a third occurring internationally, a third regionally and a third domestically. However, the nature of the 19th century Nation State, with its inherent sovereignty and defined borders, gave a historical context to the current over emphasis of trafficking as an international trade. The concept, which rests on the colonial enterprises of European nations in the wake of the abolition of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade – which in and of itself did not free those already enslaved, a task accomplished after an American civil war and further legislation – began a deeper discussion on, if any, the differences between trafficking and ‘Modern Day Slavery’. MEP Mary Honeyball, who has done extensive work with the European Parliament concerning trafficking, discussed this further, highlighting the focus on law enforcement within the Modern Day Slavery act rather than the gendered aspect of trafficking itself.
The highly asymmetrical and gendered nature of the issue was critically analysed through the psychological practice of neuroception. Considering we think our best when we feel safe, in situations of danger our flight or fight instinct is supposedly triggered. Yet, regarding the gendered aspect of trafficking, we discovered that the experiments that supported ‘flight or fight’ were only done on male lab rats. When the same tests were done on females, they tried to ‘absorb’ the situation. Unlike their male counterparts, when faced with an imminent, life threatening danger, female rats, and by extrapolation females, ‘play dead’, passing out or collapsing. With those caught in the high-risk activity of trafficking often stuck in zones of imminent danger, and thus often vulnerable if not dissociative, those who create policy are operating within a safe zone. As the day wore on, it became clear that, with European and North American nation states at the fore-front of the legal narrative surrounding and shaping human trafficking, not only do they often lack a historical perspective to their work, but they also lack the survivor narratives which are essential for designing effective policy.
In all, the opening day was an intense whirlwind that took us from the Palermo protocol through to anthropological readings of culture and language. It forced us to engage intimately with trafficking, to claw away at the legal jargon surrounding the issue, and begin to see its multi-faceted nature. Leaving with some of our core beliefs shattered if not severely questioned only hinted at what was to come as the week, and the Symposium, progressed.
*Article 3, paragraph (a) of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons defines Trafficking in Persons as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs (UNODC).
Thanks to our guest blogger Justina Kehinde Ogunseitan. Justina is a Social Anthropology and English Literature graduate of the University of Cambridge. With a keen interest in BME women’s rights and welfare and human trafficking, she uses both academia and the creative arts as a means social advocacy.
If you are a Student working in the field of migration, the history of Slavery or on aspects of Human Trafficking and would like to be part of our Associate Internship programme or post material to be considered for our blog – do be in contact – email@example.com.
“If there is a single theme to this year’s Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report,”announced 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 is 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 politicians 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.
“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 realisation, 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.
A Year in Focus – March 31st 2016 – Transparency, Supply Chains, and the Modern Day Slavery Act 2015.
The year in focus in this instance is based on the anniversary of March 2015. For in this particular month – on the 26th March 2015, the UK government initiated through legislation, a deviation from mainstream legal nomenclature currently being run out across the European Union to define the ‘crime’ and Human rights violation of Human Trafficking. The European framework on Human Trafficking, was initially set out in 2002 to approximate the laws and regulations of European Union (EU) countries in the field of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters relating to the fight against trafficking in human beings. It also aimed to set out common framework provisions at European level ‘in order to address issues such as criminalisation, penalties and other sanctions, aggravating circumstances, jurisdiction and extradition’. (2002/629/JHA) Working with the same terminology, bringing together some co-ordination across policing, information sharing and policy formation around Human Trafficing was seen to be an important and responsible response to the crisis of Human Trafficking whose scale of traction in Europe was just starting to be recognised.
In 2005 the European Union sought to strengthen the commitment of the EU to preventing and combating trafficking in human beings with an additional report by the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament in May 2006 based on Article 10 of the Council Framework Decision of 19 July 2002. In this communication the Commission sought to further reinforce the commitment of the EU and its countries to preventing and combating trafficking in human beings committed for purposes of sexual or labour exploitation, and in doing so to protect, support and rehabilitate victims. In this communication the EU Commission noted that trafficking in human beings could not be effectively tackled unless an integrated approach against Trafficking was adopted, based on
respect for human rights
taking into account the global nature of the problem.
Such an approach the Commission noted required a coordinated policy response particularly in the areas of freedom, security and justice, external relations, development cooperation, employment, gender equality and non-discrimination to be realised across the European Union. In 2011 a further series of measures were announced to sharpen up the EU’s response on a number of measures around victim protection and early identification and intervention on Traffickers. Furthermore in 2009 the EU had put into place an informal network to support country based Rapporteurs on Human Trafficking in order to bolster the understanding and networking of best practice developing across the EU.
The UKs journey to the Modern Slavery Act 2015
In October 2013 the then Parliamentary Under Secretary for Crime and Security James Brokenshire with Home Office backing from Teresa May and Lord Bates, introduced the Modern Day Slavery Bill. Brokenshire heralded its presence in the chamber that it would “send the strongest possible message to criminals that if you are involved in this disgusting trade in human beings, you will be arrested, you will be prosecuted and you will be locked up.” This was language first heard at the public launch of It Happens Here: Equipping the United Kingdom to fight modern slaveryin March 2013. Professor Kevin Bales was the main platform speaker at the launch of this Centre of Social Justice report – a centre close to the heart of the Conservative Government having been founded in 2004 by former Conservative party leader Iain Duncan Smith. To a crowded room of NGOs, journalists, policy advisers, and conservative politicians, Bales called for Britain to find its former leadership on counter-slavery matters, and implied that it could find refreshed greatness as the first country to ‘eradicate slavery from its shores’ once more with the gripping of human trafficking as slavery. The bait for greatness seems to have been too much for the politicians who recieved the briefings from this meeting to let slip. And thus three years and much committee time, report commissioning, lobbying and internal civil service reorganisation and reframing of training for police, prosecutors and courts later, together with the launching of scores of new supply chain related businesses to which we now turn, we now are.
Transparency of Supply Chains and the Modern Slavery Act 2015
March 31st 2016 sees the requirement for businesses with an annual turnover of over £36 million to report on what they are doing in their businesses to resist intrusion of human trafficking and forced labour in their supply chain. This is in many ways an important inclusion in the spirit of the United Nations Global Initiative to Fight human Trafficking UN GIFT, call to incorporate big business in the global requirement to clean up the ‘supply chain’. Big brands are now recruiting counter trafficking CSR personnel and outsourcing to CSR auditting businesses to assist them in delivering ‘slavery free’ order and procurement books. A late but wlcome addition to the MDS act, when in October 2015 the transparency of ‘supply chains’ provision was appended to MDS. Hailed by Home Secretary the Hon. Teresa May as ‘a truly ground breaking measure’ and an important addition to the ‘world leading Modern Slavery Act’ of 2015, the transparency in supply chains provision in the Act brings into view, businesses with an annual turnover of over 36 million, who will want to align themselves with the Conservative Governments ‘hard and tough’ talk on counter trafficking.
A slavery and human trafficking statement for a financial year is—
(a) a statement of the steps the organisation has taken during the financial year to ensure that slavery and human trafficking is not taking place—
(i)in any of its supply chains, and
(ii)in any part of its own business, or
(b)a statement that the organisation has taken no such steps.
All of this activity throughout 2014 and 2015, has spawned a whole new micro industry in transparency and counter trafficking resilience tool kit development in the supply chain. The Conservative administration espouses to ‘ raise the bar and send(ing) out a powerful signal to the world about the UK’s determination to confront all forms of modern slavery’. Although there is at present no real bite to the provision, as the requirement is in truth advisory with no criminal consequences for failure to report, a late in the day and significant insertion of ‘Directorate level sign off’ for the supply chain audit, offers going forward, the chance that over time, with share holder and consumer groups taking note of what the audit reveals, that the measure might gain some teeth and transformational traction.
At present though, we are very much in the foothills of the assault on restoring accountability within the supply chain in the face of all the drivers of the globalised market economy to place vulnerable communities, at considerable risk, with children, women and men caught in the slip stream of providing the cheapest and most easily disposable supply of labour in certain sectors of harvesting, processing, manufacturing and construction businesses. The challenge to render all links in the chain ‘slave, or forced labour free’ is going to be a long haul. One which will outlast every parliamentary based five year plan, for the foreseeable future, and a goal which could be significantly undermined if some of the strong regional alliances built across Europe over the last two decades to identify and resist human trafficking and forced labour presence in the supply chain are unravelled. Stakeholders who buy into this process, now at least have the sustainable development goals announced last year by the United Nations to assist them in the transformation of business goals placing the seventeen elements announced by the UN of sustainable development, with human rights based flourishing and ecological sustainability playing new roles as critical cousins to the ‘free movement of capital’, labour and the golden mean of the market, the mercantile mantra of the ‘wealth of nations’ which has powered the industrial revolution and its technological successor over the last two centuries.
The deeper background of this initiative to transform the wording of Human Trafficking legislation into a fanlfared Modern Day Slavery Act, may help us assess the likelihood of success of the rebranding which has been taking place. The role of American Academic and activist Kevin Bales has not been without significance. Bales – with a string of notable publications on the presence of slavery like practices informing his analysis of the global realisation of human trafficking – brought to Britain, language and legislative responses which many comment refer more appropriately to the cultural and racial specificity of the triangle of Caribbean and North American enslavement of African peoples across the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. This legacy of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, state sanctioned for three centuries has spawned a deadly legacy in ethnic separation and delegitimisation of an entire population within North America. As Andrew Coyle, Allison Campbell and Rodney Neufeld’s book amongst others point out, the prison based industrial inclusion of a significant part of the black population, defines the principal political asymmetries of North American society which was embedded in state sponsored slavery, and the Black Codes of 1865, emerging from the years of the American Civil War itself defined around states position on legitimising black slavery within their economies.
In vesting British legislation in such North Atlantic colours, the United Kingdom government has begun a journey which could restructure responses to Human Trafficking in the UK and further afield. There have been a number of voices expressing concern around separating the UK from the regional and international language of European directives and UN protocols developed over the last decade with an overarching framework built internatationally to accord with the edicts of the Palermo Protocol on Trafficking in Human Beings (2003) and the subsequent Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings opened for signature in Warsaw in 2005 and eventually ratified in the UK on the 17th December 2008. The next six months, with the up coming referendum on the UK’s place in the European Union, and the current policies emerging in Europe around the control of recent ‘surges’ in migration will have a significant role to play in how the UK moves forward with its new umbrella legislation, and how its wider regional partners react to its changes.
To the outside observer, tougher language – announcing a UK hostile to ‘modern day slavery’ – should signal tougher responses to those who commit trafficking crimes. But in truth very little appears to have altered. True there are a couple of new provisions included which beef up the provision of advocacy for children caught within the processes of trafficking, and two new civil orders put in place which assist police challenges in moving forward enquiries internationally. However this could have been undertaken within the existing framework of counter trafficking responses. For many of its critics, the new act is seen as window dressing, and the role and contribution of the welcome presence of some independence in the appointment of an Anti Slavery Commissioner to monitor and hold accountable the policing response to enforce the new legislation, though welcomed, yet to be fully put to the test. A great deal of money and energy has been spent reallocating legislation already in place to some new locations. Parliamentary questions will eventually disclose at quite what cost, when other capabilities of the Criminal Justice System have been, some might comment by stealth, dismantled. We shall be blogging on this aspect later in the year, as some of the first year results of the MDS in place are analysed with the 2015 – 2016 National Referral Mechanism numbers assembled later in 2016.
So what in case you missed it did the Modern Day Slavery Act bring to the party which was not already in place.
The Modern Day Slavery Act 2015
The act brought in a number of changes principally the long overdue appointment of an independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, (NGOs in the UK had been lobbying for the appointment of an independent Rapporteur on Trafficking, appointed in many European and international states for some years now) in the person of a former senior police officer who had served with particular distinction during the 2012 London Olympics, in the Vice and trafficking unit S014.
The consolidation of a range of counter trafficking, kidnap and slavery legislation which had been distributed across the legal shelves. This it is said will enable the easier absorption and implementation by police forces, prosecutors and the criminal justice system of counter trafficking measures
The introduction of two new civil orders to enable the courts to place restrictions on those convicted of modern slavery offences, or those involved in such offences but not yet convicted
The clarification of mechanisms for seizing traffickers’ assets and channelling some of that money towards victims for compensation payments – which had been informally operating over the last decade under the processes of the proceeds of crime act 2004 (POCA)
The creation of a new statutory defence for slavery or trafficking victims, compelled to commit criminal offences whilst under the control of their traffickers
The provision (in a piloted trialling) of child trafficking advocates
What have been the impacts?
Of course it is still to early to call. The impacts of all this churn, publicity and publishing attached to the Modern Slavery Act has raised a generation of NGO neophytes some of whom believe that before 2015 the United Kingdom had not been undertaking any strategically informed responses to human trafficking –chronically inaccurate but that is the advantage and risk of rebranding. It is quite extraordinary how such a young discipline as counter trafficking has already yielded to a chronic loss of short term memory, with all the work of Operations Pentameter (pp16-17) one and two under the leadership of Chief Constable Dr Tim Brain, and the pioneering development of the first multi-agency and inter-departmentally co-operating Centre to address intelligence gathering and strategic advice for United Kingdom Police Forces, the UK Human Trafficking Centre initially based up in Sheffield under the leadership of Assistant Chief Constable Grahame Maxwell, largely forgotten.
What the motives of this rebranding were are not completely clear. However it will repay research efforts to explore the ways in which European politicians have sought over the last decade to move counter trafficking discourse away from explicitly policing and enforcement requirements, to announcing discourse around higher moral and political values being championed by politicians. The inner politics of how power is wielded and distributed across the various arms of state, let alone how states choose to interact with one another across the wider vantage of the geo-political map is also in play in this recent piece of UK reallocation of the names we call gross exploitation by. It should also be noted that when focussing on the depravities of ‘modern day slavery’ our political and socio-economic attention can be steered away from the role which States and Businesses play in rendering millions of global citizens stateless or at appalling risk where lives are lost in thousands through forced migration, forced labour and super exploitation become the only options available to sustain life, gender based violence rises exponentially as summary eviction occurs due to man-made sustainability crises, war, threatened genocides, ecological devastation, from places where people for many generations have formerly called home.
What will be areas to watch for 2016?
This last year has seen unprecedented numbers of refugees and economic migrants seeking to enter the jurisdiction of the European Union without ‘due process’. Whether seeking to access the southern-most point of entry into Europe through Italy, via its first port of call Lampedusa, from North Africa, or cut across from Turkey to the necklace islands of Greece, many thousands of Syrians, Iraqis, Kurds, North Africans, Afghans, Somalis and Eritreans have died in 2015. Their exact number will never be known – though continued deaths experienced on this southern route this year alone will undoubtedly be counted in thousands. The logistics of the refugee and smuggling facilitated genocide, lack the record keeping required to be able to properly estimate the level of the horrors which have been taking place in the Mediterranean and Aegean seas. The International Organisation for Migration have assessed the numbers arriving into Europe through the Adriatic and the Mediterranean as more than 1,011,700 migrants, with only 34,900 accessing European borders by land. These numbers will be extremely tough for public opinion in the European Union to politically stomach, for a number of reasons which requires another thought piece to dismantle – and it has to be announced that set in a global context the numbers on the move north to the European Union are a paltry percentage of the millions of people on the move, seeking safety and economic survival world-wide.
With the civil war in Syria still raging, North Africa yet to emerge from the chaos which followed the displacement of its ‘tyrants’ and the ongoing presence, terror and appeal of Daesh and its associated networks wreaking havoc within the instability of these regions, the refugee crisis which emerged as the number one political crisis for Europe in 2015, will continue to generate anxieties around migration, border security and internal political stability across the Union. There will undoubtedly be ricochets in the world of counter trafficking, and the potential of ‘modern day slavery’ being interjected into discourses to potentially disrupt clarity in thinking, around sustainability and human rights informed immigration policies, asylum requirements , ongoing flexible labour force needs, competing international and national security concerns, social protection and privileging within nation states, and the role ethnic alignment and historical imperial privileging plays out for so many national identities across the globe.
This is a time when informed interventions around smuggling and human trafficking whilst rendering asylum fuelled migration safe across internationally recognised national borders will occupy significant time and thought from all our politicians and their advisers. It is a time when those involved with applied research in this area have a particular responsibility to bring some clarity, assisting policy makers to be fully apprised of the human rights and sustainability framed issues which we are confronted with in a world where there is suffering and terror, as well as great opportunities to join up our thinking and actions with regionally based programmes which recognise the interconnectedness of our political, economic and cultural choices and our inter-regional dependencies. In this the Palermo Protocol on Trafficking in Human Beings was clear – no nation can resist the challenges presented in Human Trafficking alone. All are accountable to each other in the deep and complex processes of resistance, prevention, protection, recovery and socio-economic, cultural, behavioural as well as crimogenic changes required to turn the tide on this particular form of human misery and super exploitation.
Earlier this year, before Olympic fever spread across the globe, the United States Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons released the 2012 Trafficking in Persons Report (‘TIP Report’). The Report, issued in June each year in accordance with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, sets out to provide a comprehensive account of human trafficking and anti-trafficking efforts around the world. It acts both as a primary reference and as a source of information on government efforts to combat the trade. The Report reviews the work of 184 countries and then ranks them according to three tiers based on the extent of trafficking in the country and progress on combating it. These rankings act as the United States Government’s primary diplomatic tool regarding anti-trafficking efforts by foreign governments, representing an opening of dialogues with different states aimed at advancing anti-trafficking actions and better allocating resources.
At first glance, it is apparent that many countries are doing better in combating trafficking. While Bangladesh and the Dominican Republic were recently ranked as very poorly attending to trafficking, new legislation and the implementing of comprehensive strategies to encourage the Four Ps – prevention, protection, punishment and partnerships – have moved both countries up a tier. Meanwhile, the Czech Republic, which slipped down a tier last year, regained its Tier 1 status following developments in anti-trafficking laws and the securing of convictions under these new laws.
However, it is rather notable that the tier rankings of certain states have not improved over time, with some several countries falling down a tier again this year. Many of these countries are plagued with widespread violence and conflict. Such conditions have made the assessment of anti-trafficking efforts and developments more difficult. It remains, though, that while the Report aims to encourage better efforts regarding the Four Ps, certain states are not responding to the Report.
In large part, such a failure to respond may be the result of the United States being perceived as failing to allocate funds based on the recommendations of the tier system. While the Reports aim to improve anti-trafficking efforts through a carrot and stick approach of economic benefits for efforts to comply with standards and sanctions for continued failures to meet standards, the continued failure to apply sanctions on certain states whilst continuing to sanction others has led to a perceived bias. Such accusations of bias were articulated on 19 June 2012 by Russia, which expressed clear discontent at its continued placement in Tier 2, whilst other states, including the United States itself, continue to receive a Tier 1 ranking despite profound trafficking issues and large numbers of victims.
While clearly the Report does provide valuable information, such complaints highlight some valid issues around the nature of the evaluation system being used to rank countries. First, the criteria and requirements for tier placement are difficult to identify. They are mired in complexity, which, added to a lack transparency in the way in which data is collated and translated into ranking positions, leads the report to appear only partial. Second, the Report only assesses the actions of governments not the actions of other organisations operating within a country. Such a limitation means that organisations that may have significant impacts remain unaccounted for and not fully assessed. Third, the rankings adopt United States standards rather than internationally agreed standards, imparting culturally specific criteria that could result in unique factor operating in other countries being ignored. For instance, several Caribbean and South American states have pointed out that their child labour problem is being overstated, as it is common for young family members to help with harvests without being paid. They argue is a culturally normal, household-based, and non-exploitative form of labour in states where farming remains a family effort.
What all this evidences is a greater need for the United States to engage other countries and jurisdictions in formulating the Report for 2013. Developing co-operation around data collection and the matrices which inform the interpretative grid must occur both in before and after publication. The State Department must take heed of its own advice and focus on the fourth P, partnerships. By mobilising different resources and working with its critics, the Department will be able to build greater counter-trafficking resilience, understandings and interventions that push the fight against trafficking further along its path.
Our thanks to Advocate Beatri Kruger who works in at the Free State University in South Africa for the following update on South Africa where the legislature is developing its response to Human Trafficking – she informs us about the following news released yesterday.
Human trafficker Adina dos Santos was sentenced to life imprisonment at the Pretoria Regional Court on the 20th July 2011. Dos Santos was found guilty of trafficking three girls from Mozambique who had been forced into prostitution and worked in South Africa. Dos Santos was in addition to life imprisonment, also given a one-year sentence for living off the money she had made from the girls.
This is very significant case. The giving of a life-sentence now clearly sends the message that human trafficking is categorised among the most serious of crimes in South Africa and signals clearly that those who traffick in human beings can no longer get away with impunity, or light sentencing in South Africa.
Dos Santos was convicted of sex trafficking under the terms of the Sexual Offences Amendment Act 32 of 2007. South Africa is currently reviewing its legislation on human trafficking and its comprehensive legislation regarding both child and adult trafficking has still not passed through the legislature. However there is interim legislation in place criminalising
-all forms of child trafficking and
-sex trafficking of adults
which are now in force on which courts are reaching their judgements, and judges sentencing on the strength of them.
In May two Chinese women who allegedly ran a brothel in Goodwood, South Africa were accussed of luring young women from China to South Africa. They were charged with keeping a brothel and human trafficking, but because the charges involve sexual offences, they have not yet been named until they plead. They were set bail conditions of R5000 – less than £500 each.
The women were accused of luring young Chinese women to South Africa with false promises of jobs that paid monthly salaries of up to R50,000 (£4,481). Chinese women are some of the most at risk women and girls in the world, in the current global movement of women for sex, domesticated servitude and trafficked labour.
The dos Santos judgement, is just one part of the long haul in getting a grip internationally on the globally realised crime of human trafficking – but an important one. As IOM acting chief of mission in South Africa Erick Ventura noted – ‘human traffickers in South Africa have in the past been rarely taken to court and only charged with minor offences such as “keeping a brothel” when they have been brought for prosecution.’
Without appropriate – punishment fits the crime judgements – those who benefit from as much as £100,000 per woman/minor exploited within trafficking for sexual exploitation – will continue to ply their illicit merchandising. Other dimensions of the trade need to be addressed as well. Importantly, dos Santos would have made no money whatsoever if there had been no clients to purchase the three young Mozambicans whom she had imported and forced into prostitution. And thereby hangs a longer and more critical cultural conversation for most countries in the world to engage with.
If you have news on recent judgements or decisions occurring in your context on which you would like us to comment or feature in the CCARHT blog drop us a line on firstname.lastname@example.org
There is a “looming potential explosion of human trafficking around the Super Bowl,” Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott was reported as saying by Newsweek yesterday. Certainly there is strong evidence that during the Superbowl when over 100,000 fans descend on the designated city, cases of super-exploitation within the sex industry arise, and within that mix can be found those who have been trafficked, either internally in the USA or across international borders.
In 2009 when the Superbowl was played in Tampa Florida, 24 children were later taken into care by the Department of Children and Families who were designated as victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation, and had been brought into the city for ‘use’ during the Superbowl festivities.
CCARHT is currently looking into the hard and softer evidence surrounding concerns about the linkages of trafficking for sexual exploitation and major national and international sporting events. Our report on the indicators of trafficking challenge around FIFAs world cup events, and the Olympic Games is currently being finalised – One thing that can be said for certain – in an environment where male leisure activity and surplus wealth can be channelled into purchasing sexual services, supply of these services will rise to fulfil the demand. The risk of some of those caught in the matrix of buying and selling, having been trafficked, increases year on year, as trafficking networks develop their muscle to super-exploit women, children and men in a global market. Thankfully states are not completely passive in the face of this exploitation of people’s liberty and dignity. However enforcement agencies, ordinary citizens, third sector agencies, businesses and government at local, regional and national level need to be alert to the movement of people deprived of their fundamental liberty to refuse their labour, trafficked across every border of the globe.
We shall be in touch with the justice department and some of the lead NGOs to analyse what does go down at this year’s Superbowl. Meantime NGOs and Citizen advocacy groups seeking to raise awareness of the human rights and dignity issues which cluster around the buying and selling of sexual services will do well to look at the range of ongoing economic and power inequalities which squeeze people into a place where they are vulnerable to the abuse of those who would pimp and those who would traffic them.
It is in the current context of anxiety around the horrendous crime which trafficking represents, which includes trafficking for labour in which men are as likely to be exploited as women, trafficking for sexual exploitation, trafficking for social benefits and insurance fraud, and trafficking for organ exploitation, to focus exclusively on a campaign around Trafficking for sexual exploitation, and neglect other longer term, endemic and presient issues of inequality and gendered violence.
In a recent report from the University of Pennsylvania Professors Estes and Weiner suggested that between 244,000 and 325,000 young men and women were at risk in the United States of some form of super-exploitation.
However all statistics need to be managed and cited with caution – as they say:
These estimates…reflect what we believe to [be] the number of children in the United States “at risk” of commercial sexual exploitation, i.e. children who because of their unique circumstances of runaways, thrownaways, victims of physical or sexual abuse, users of psychotropic drugs, members of sexual minority groups, illegally trafficked children, children who cross international borders in search of cheap drugs and sex, and other illicit fare, are at special risk of sexual exploitation. The numbers presented therefore, reflect the actual number of cases of the CSEC in the United States, but, rather, what we estimate to be the number of children “at risk” of commercial sexual exploitation.
As the NGOs and counter trafficking activists face off with bloggers accusing them of Misandry, and riding on the back of Superbowl induced hyperbole – it is well to remember that over inflating numbers could risk undermining long term resilience in addressing trafficking – which in all its forms is an expression of a fundamental erasure of human dignity, respect and worth- by the well worn path of crying wolf and then being unable to display the circling wolfpack.
However given the current known presence of trafficked women and children caught in the sex industry’s darker underbelly throughout the ‘developed’ world, as women’s education and aspirations enable them to move away from this enduring rung of accessing finance into other forms of wealth creation, trafficked women and children in the Superbowl’s wake will undoubtedly be present in the mix. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is right to alert law enforcement to a proper mindfulness to this form of superexploitation – but Dallas and those who come to the sporting festivities could benefit in taking some stock of the wider issues of exploitation operating and cashing in on the multiple opportunites which the gain in visitor dollars affords to the unscrupulous and the desperate.
The longer term arena of economic and social inequalities within the Nation’s own domestic ‘household’ arrangements as the University of Pennsylvania report suggests – shows there is plenty of room for some energetic conversation and interventions around the supply chain, and the demand cycle which drives the strange business of people’s – mainly women’s but also the unnerving use of children for sexual services for cash and highly abusive pornography. There will undoubtedly be some men who find themselves inadvertantly having ‘leased’ a trafficked woman whilst seeking what they consider innocuous sexual entertainment. One of our serious and sustained conversations in the third millenium must be about what the significance of gender equality, and children’s inalienable rights is in relation to the whole culture of renting bodies for sex. It will continue to excite tempers, and fray public servant’s nerves as the pay off between choice, freedom, dignity and exploitation is worked through.
Superbowl aside there is an opportunity here for some soul searching on how societies build solid socially just, psychologically empathatic and economically stable environments at home and abroad so that the numerous exclusions and lack of security which puts so many children, women and young men in the USA , and globally ‘at risk’ of profound exploitation today, can be addressed in a long term, strategic and effective manner – not just a matter of a few high balls and crowd ‘hysteria’ in Dallas next week.