Phase one – Campaigning and identification: the years before the Modern Slavery Act.
Dr Ford founded the UK intervention ‘Not for Sale’ advocacy movement in 2002, which brought the realities of not only Sex Trafficking but also as the campaigning moved forward and a wider range of ‘victims’ surfaced the wider incursions of trafficking into the agricultural, food processing and construction industries – which had been designated by the International Labour Office as ‘forced labour’ and within a few years became designated labour trafficking.
The campaign was referenced in Hansard as one of the last and most effective pre-social media advocacy campaigns, bringing to the attention of all parliamentarians, through a grass roots cross-party campaign in 2004, asking the following critical question. The campaign was later supported in a range of creative arts initiatives, with a campaign anthem ‘Love’s Not for Sale’, in publishing, Not for Sale, Raising Awareness and Ending Exploitation, and the Real Scandal of Sex Trafficking, and in a commissioned drama brought to the Edinburgh fringe.
With the UK ratification of the Palermo Protocol, in 2006, and the first steps of absorbing the protocol into legislation starting to be worked out through the courts and a designated unit within the Crown Prosecution Service under the leadership of former CCARHT director Glynn Rankin, Dr Ford turned her attentions to building the capacity of the Faith Based sector in providing social protection and first base ‘safe housing’ for those being ‘surfaced’ by police interventions most notably in operations Pentameter one and two, in 2005 and 2006.
The priority of Safe Housing and Reliable Victim Protection
The winter of 2006, saw the second phase of UK Not for Sale activity from CHASTE with a second powerful campaign into Westminster with the Timefor@rest campaign. With the UK ratification of the Palermo Protocol, and the first steps of absorbing the protocol into legislation and building policing capacity in the UKHTC achieved in 2006, the requirement for safe housing was pressing. The Home Office had allocated all of its safe housing budget – so Dr Ford galvanised the Faith Based sector to develop appropriate social protection and first base ‘safe housing’ for those being ‘surfaced’ by police interventions and the emerging field of NGO first responders. The Timefor@rest campaign, won wide support in lobbying for the UK Government to sign up to and adopt the Council of Europe Action on Trafficking in Human Beings, which the Blair government duly did in 2007/2009.
Government and Shadow Government ministers were briefed by Dr Ford on the requirements and ‘care deficit’ in counter trafficking work, the campaign won wide support in lobbying and enabled with the efforts of other campaigning groups such as ECPAT and the Poppy Project, saw the essentials of the convention of the Council of Europe Action on Trafficking in Human Beings installed across legislation and provision of required services coming into being 2007/2009. This provided much of the legal sub-structure for requirements around Prevention, Prosecution, victim Protection and Partnership work in place today. The allocation of the Salvation Army , one of the early members of the CHASTE Round Table on housing, as the chosen Human Trafficking Victim Care and Coordination of safe housing Contractor deploying the emerging network of NGO and FBO safe houses which had emerged during these important years, was announced in 2011, with a six million pound sterling three year contract (successfully renewed till 2019).
The impact which a Government shift of contract occasions – as in the ultimate demise of the Poppy project based out of the London based Eaves Housing working with Trafficked women for the past decade, is a matter for ongoing public/private/ third sector analysis and consideration of the risks and rewards of working with government contracts. The quest for how to achieve sustainability beyond the multi million pound contracts, and retain integrity of voice for survivors and victims within such contracts when working as the nominated Government contract holder is just one of the highly contested and significant areas of policy consideration, which CCARHT is now developing in its recent work with the Judge Business School and the Centre for Social Enterprise.
Dr Ford had spent several years working directly in first responder, and protection work in particular Phase one of the work against Human Trafficking in the UK and in Europe. She was the founder and CEO of the CHASTE round table – Churches Alert to Sex Trafficking Across Europe, which successfully doubled the national provision of safe beds available in dedicated safe houses within the first eighteen months of its activities in the UK.
The step forward for the Salvation Army, as one of the ‘activated’ four partners around the CHASTE round table (the Medaille Trust, Women at the Well, the Salvation Army, and Housing 4 Women) in securing the Government contract to manage the newly established National Referral Mechanism requirement for safe accommodation, with the initial Government funded contract of minimal support of 45 days safety (accommodation, essential counselling, health services, and accompanying services) has been significant for the national extension of safe housing in the UK, as well as securing the international voice provided by faith based organisations in their response to trafficking, particularly in relation to concentrating on responsibly resourced victim protection and onward recovery, and care beyond repatriation.
It was clear from the earliest pieces of work undertaken by Dr Ford, whether in harnessing the spare ‘built’ capital that were made available from the Religious Congregations to supply the first Faith Based Organisation (FBO) Safe Houses recruited through the CHASTE round table on Safe Housing and then ‘Kite marked’ for appropriate deployment by the various Police operations where safe housing space for potential victims of trafficking was vital.
These initial years of work saw the FBO houses being directly subsidised, NOT by the central Government exchequer which is now in place for safe housing support, but through the generation of charitable funds from Religious Congregations themselves, (the Medaille Trust under the
pioneering leadership of Sister Anne Joseph) and the Salvation Army (pioneered under the championing of Commissioner Helen Clifton) ; any who brought capacity in the first couple of years of activity from 2003 – 2005 had come around the CHASTE round table to offer their initial bespoke services for ‘hospitality’, ‘protection’ and initial recovery. It was a tough ask for the denominations, and not all were ready to respond with housing stock. Notwithstanding in the first three years of activity the accommodation made available for the National safe ‘housing’ for potential victims of trafficking had been doubled, at virtually no cost to the Home Office.
This courageous, pioneering work by the first generation of safe housing pioneers across the Faith Based Organisations, has yet to be properly honoured, or indeed sociologically decompressed in terms of the way in which activating FBOs can inject fresh motivation and political impetus for the incorporation of significant Human Rights based legislation, and assist in the immediate calibration and activation of compassionate civil society responses.
European Learning on Faith Based Organisation contributions.
Dr Ford was a member of the Churches Against Trafficking in Europe specialist team convened by the Churches Commission on Migrants in Europe (CCME) with a DG Home (Daphne Fund) grant, with colleagues in Romania, Lithuania, Latvia, Ukraine, Moldavia, and Germany, which started exploring these inter-connections in (2004- 2006).
There had been significant action across churches in Europe in the years running up to the turn of the millennium, particularly evidenced amongst the Religious Congregations in Italy led by the pioneering Sister Eugenia Bonetti, whose work has been rewarded in the last decade by a number of formal awards from both the Vatican and from the Italian State. A Consolata religious sister, her eyes were first opened to the emergence of a Nigerian dimension to global trafficking when she returned from ‘missionary teaching’ in Africa to Turin, and discovered young Nigerian females being exploited in number on the roadsides of Turin in the late 1990s.
There are issues yet to be fully discoursed in their potential humanitarian provision and cultural persuasive power, bearing in mind proper secular concerns around potential for proselytisation, the imposition of internal ethical red-lines not aligning with host or return cultures, and the potential for a lack of transparency for inter-governmental co-operation and law enforcement probity with alternative international organisational networks being deployed. These are some of the areas which CCARHT in its work with faculties of Divinity, Sociology, Business and Faith Based Organisations internationally is bringing into consideration for thought leadership in the fast moving multi-agency matrix of counter trafficking responses in the first decades of the twenty first century.
Steps forward in Enforcement
During 2005 -2007 Dr Ford worked with Gloucestershire police chief, Chief Constable Dr Tim Brain, as a member of the Gold Steering group, to develop the pioneering National Police financed operations to ‘lift the stone on trafficking in the UK’ Operations Pentameter one and two – which began the journey of National Policing and the Home Office in starting to understand the complexity and range of Human Trafficking present in the towns, and cities of the UK, with criminalised networks being supplied across Europe and reaching deep into Africa, Asia, the Balkans, the Middle and Far East as well as closer to home.
In 2006 Dr Ford had become one of the five founder board members of the UK Human Trafficking Centre. There she met fellow Director of CCARHT, Grahame Maxwell when UK national Police lead for counter trafficking and migration crime, and founding Director of the UKHTC at its initial headquarters in South Yorkshire. That year saw the initial convening of the UK wide national network for research and training under the leadership of UKHTC, chaired by Dr Ford with some of the future University researchers still present in the academic engagement field in the UK around the table.
With work being undertaken with a number of police forces, including Cambridgeshire Constabulary, Norfolk Constabulary, the Metropolitan Police Service dedicated Trafficking Unit, Gloucestershire Constabulary, and the Gang Masters Licensing Authority (now the Gang Masters and Labour Abuse Authority GLAA), Dr Ford became aware of the pressing need for focused informationals to be made available for a range of ‘potential victim service users’.
There were through the years of Pentameter one and two, a number of victim/survivors of trafficking abuse who were being ‘apprehended’, ‘surfaced’ or ‘encountering’ law enforcement, in ‘brothel’ raids, searches instigated by information received from NGOs working in the field, and routine ‘houses of multiple occupation’ visits. The Ibix Translate tool was born. The first of its kind, with 200 ipods donated by APPLE, loaded up with informationals in 12 top languages of identified communities at risk, the tool was initially deployed by the Metropolitan counter Trafficking Unit, and operations master-minded through the UKHTC in Sheffield following Pentameter one. The innovation was showcased at the UN GIFT conference in 2007 by Dr Ford, and successfully demonstrated in a panel dedicated to deploying technology in the fight against trafficking and enhanced protection of victims. The Austrian Police force showed interest and worked forward independently with the UN in its Vienna headquarters with its protection and trust building capabilities. and has since been absorbed into the UN portfolio of tools for border forces and the first wave of next intervention is being trialled in Refugee Camps internationally – the UN VITA tool (in 2006).
The second generation UN VITA tool adds to the portfolio of tools available for border police to deploy to increase significantly the co-operation and agency for potential victims of trafficking pertinent knowledge around personal safety, potential choices and ‘pathways’ open to those being interviewed by enforcement teams, whether arising from issues with their immigration status, or early indications of their being ‘trafficked’.
Other interventions in phase one undertaken by Dr Ford as she headed up the work of CHASTE in driving forward advocacy and ministerial briefing to encourage the full integration of the Palermo Protocol and the Council of Europe Convention on Action Against Human Trafficking into the UK political, policing and civil society landscape included:
- The development of the Ibixtranslate informational tool for potential victims of trafficking in 2006. This was developed with a small grant from the UKHTC, utilising the first wave of Apple Mp3 ipods and deployed by the Metropolitan Police counter trafficking unit, as well as in the second phase of Operation Pentameter.
- The initial NOT FOR SALE movement in 2003 – which brought forward to parliament the requirement for a strong integration of Palermo Protocol requirements into national legislation.
- The commissioning of two dramas, both featuring at the Edinburgh Festival on forced migration and Human Trafficking: 2007 and 2008.
- A national tour rolled out across Anglican Cathedrals of the UK, engaging public audiences through art, speech, film and song on the challenge which Human Trafficking now presented for social justice, addressing gender based violence, labour exploitation and human rights in contemporary UK culture 2008. The Not for Sale Tour.
- Initial ‘Kite marking’ of safe housing being developed through the intervention of the CHASTE round table for Safe Housing, by Religious Congregations and Faith Based Organisations in order to create a sustainable and quality controlled level of safety in responding to the needs of survivors in co-operation with the Poppy Initiative of Eaves Housing.
- The innovation of the Research and Education forum from the UKHTC initiating contact between concerned academics, and UK policing.
- Inaugurated the first NOT FOR SALE Sunday in 2005 – presaging the later adoption of St Bakhita’s day by the Roman Catholic congregations at the request of Pope Francis in 2015 – held every February 8th, and Freedom Sunday which was put into play by Protestant Churches in the USA.