Greetings from The Slave Detective.
I often get requests to be interviewed or persons doing their post-graduate studies wish me to answer questions.
Those that know me or read my blog know that what I am looking to do is highlight the plight of persons trafficked. Educate the masses.
There are many grey areas in the field of Human Trafficking. There are many factors that feature in how trafficking happens and why. I do not profess to have all the answers but I will be subjecting (if this is the right word) myself to a radio interview on the 26th March. I belive this is a live event so no doubt there will be more tricky questions for me.
Here is the last set of Q & A’s I took part in.
Are there disagreements on how to stop modern day slavery, AKA human trafficking? If so, what are the views?
Fundamentally there is little disagreement that Human Trafficking exists. In relation to how to deal with the problem there is a wide gulf of opinion. This opinion very much depends on your interpretation of Human Trafficking and the different laws.
My view is that education is the first key to prevention. The primary object of an efficient Police service is prevention.
Education is required at all levels. In source countries we need to be education the possible victims, the community leaders, the Police to identify trafficker’s methods and the legislators and public who lack understanding of what Human Trafficking is.
In Transit countries we need to be educating the border force, the legislators and the public so they ensure their Country leaders do not turn a blind eye to the problem…effectively it is someone else’s problem, they are not our citizens and they are just passing through so it will be gone very soon. Thus allowing Traffickers almost free haven.
In the destination countries we need to educate employers, persons who use the services of possible trafficked persons and persons with the money in their pocket…spending power. The list is endless but if people don’t understand how trafficking affects them and their daily life they believe there isn’t a problem.
The biggest problem here is that in this period of austerity when you get asked how you would like your taxes spent Human Trafficking doesn’t feature in the mind set.
Prevention takes many forms. This varies from education, awareness to punishment of offenders and advertising the consequences of this punishment. ie legislation to seize assets
Are there disagreements regarding the punishment for those involved in human trafficking?
I read that the Dutch increased prison terms. How do other countries compare?
The Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP report) is a global overview of the different methods of punishment of offenders worldwide. The TIP grades countries on their response to dealing with trafficking at all levels.
Each country has its own legislation but is guided by the UNODC (United Nations office of Drugs and Crime) who through the UN offer guidance.
Questions related to UN issues
As this probably varies by country: would you have knowledge of how other countries punish slave traffickers?
I suggest you read the TIP report. See on line.
Does the UN have a standard by which these criminals are punished?
The Palermo Protocol of 2000 General Assembly resolution 55/25 of 15 November 2000, is the main international instrument in the fight against transnational organized crime.
Are they punished as international human rights violators? If not, how do you feel about that?
The UN does not have the power to prosecute globally. They are a group of countries that create resolutions to advise countries. The UN only prosecutes War Crimes as far as I am aware. Then they will appoint a country to investigate.
Human Trafficking is domestically dealt with. The TIP Report grades countries response to Trafficking which is then raised by the UN to apply pressure through the UN Protocols. The UN votes on sanctions against countries that ignore their ruling. The sanctions have to unanimously voted upon. This makes in very difficult to place sanctions on countries like Saudi Arabia who are one of the worse graded countries.
I think it is very difficult to create universal legislation due to the different types of Policing/Court procedures. Also several of the UN countries depend heavily on their cheap labour and would resist global legislation.
How many human trafficking victims are sexually exploited? (A percentage would be great.)
Sexual Exploitation is notoriously difficult to quantify as is any human trafficking stats. Many have tried. I liken it to attempting to work out how many drugs dealers and drugs users there are in the world. When I was dealing with Trafficking cases 95% of all our cases were for sexual exploitation. That is not to say that this is reflective of the number of offenses committed. We never dealt with one Organ Harvesting case but this is a serious problem in places like India and China.
If the UN were to make prostitution illegal worldwide (or at least in member states) do you think human trafficking would decrease?
Firstly this is unlikely due to my previous answer. It is unlikely to be even attempted even if the UN could legislate.
Secondly even countries like the US are unable to legislate in their own country to make prostitution unlawful.
Comparing and contrasting Sweden and The Netherlands approach to the issue. Human Trafficking has significantly decreased in Sweden. Many say this is because Sweden is ignoring the problem as Prostitution is unlawful. Are victims afraid to come forward because they will be labelled as Criminals?
I have just written a blog on this very subject looking at two examples of persons riding along with the Police in these countries. Read my blog when it is posted. Slavedetective.wordpress.com
Other mentions are:- http://slavedetective.wordpress.com/2013/03/04/what-are-peoples-perception-of-human-trafficking/
How do you feel about the fact that the UN is resistant to make prostitution illegal for all member countries?
This is not strictly the truth. The UN is made up of member countries. In order for the UN to create a resolution on the subject they must have unanimous agreement.
Questions of a More Personal Nature
Was there a particular moment in your life when you decided to become a rescuer of slaves and to seek out and arrest the perpetrators?
In 2006 I was asked to set up the Human Trafficking Team at New Scotland Yard. This was the first dedicated Human Trafficking Team in The UK. This was as a result of a National Operation call ‘Pentameter’ which was set up to lift the stone on Human Trafficking. The UK set up legislation to target Human Trafficking in 2004. Before this time the Slavery Abolition Act 1833 was the only law that dealt with this and was not fit for purpose. The Unit was set up to test and enforce the new legislation in London.
Before this I was part of a Serious Organise Crime Team targeting Organised Criminal Gangs Smuggling persons into the UK. My proactive policing experience on serious organised crime was what they wanted from me.
What drives (compels) you to do what you do?
In 2010 Government spending cuts reduced the Policing Budget. Up until this time The Government had funded the unit. The Unit was closed due to lack of funding.
In 2009 my unit was heralded as the centre of excellence for dealing with Human Trafficking in The UK and revered throughout Europe and beyond. I could not see the problem of Human Trafficking being ignored so I began to write a book on how we dealt with our cases and the problems encountered. The blog and lecturing/consulting followed on from this.
Leading the team combating HT was a ‘path finding’ experience. Many of the things that we did on the team had never been done before. Empowering victims was the driving force.
What is the youngest victim you and your team have rescued to date?
The Metropolitan Police has a designated Child Protection Team that specifically deals with Child Protection Issues. They had a small unit called Op PALADIN that tackled Child Trafficking. We assisted them on cases where children as young as 10 were trafficked. This unit now has closed down.
Op GOLF dealt in trafficking of babies from Romania as begging tools. Go to my Blog page and word search GOLF or see the links to it down the side.
The youngest Sexual Exploitation case my team dealt with was a 16yr old female who lost her virginity to traffickers. The leader of the gang was sentenced to 14yrs. Op Bactrian http://slavedetective.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/open-for-christmas/ or again search my page.
Would you share with me a story that might emotionally move people to action?
I have many. Probably the case where two young ladies were subject to Ju Ju ceremonies, possibly when they were 14yrs old. They were recruited in Africa and trafficked to The UK for Sexual Exploitation. One was locked in a coffin to reinforce the Ju Ju Ceremony.
Put Ju Ju into my blog page.
I’ve checked out the UN’s and US’ information on what is being done but you have been directly in the trenches so:
Is modern day slavery good for any country?
The short answer is no. Many countries do rely on certain aspects of trafficking to support their economy. Countries where the general population is inherently poor and easily exploited.
The ‘Fair Trade’ movement have targeted several of these countries and have been successful in bringing about a fair wage for workers who were trafficked for labour. This has been to target the profit margin of the corporations and shame them into action.
Strangely this has now become more acceptable and has not pushed up the prices to the consumer by much.
Some people sell their children because they cannot economically afford to care for them: Is it feasible to send the rescued slave back to his or her family? Wouldn’t they be forced to sell the same child, potentially?
The issue is far more complicated than you first consider. Education is the key. By selling their children they are removing the next generation of workers for their region. Do poor people have children to sell them on?
A Romania Child Trafficking case we dealt with was where the poor community sold 1,107 children. 168 of them were criminally active in The UK with over 2,000 criminal convictions for various offences like shoplifting, begging, pick-pocketing and other forms of street crime. See Op GOLF.
The issues of what to do with the children had to be taken individually in each case for the best interest of each child. Some were returned home and some taken into care and thrived without committing further crime. The cost of this action is a hefty one.
I understand the goal is to return victims to their home countries: what if that is not possible?
Provisions are in place to assist victims of Human Trafficking to find the best solution for each individual person. If they choose to remain in the country where they were rescued support systems are put in place for them. If they choose to return they are assisted in any way that they require. The best solution has to also include a lawful solution ie be decided in a court of law (not criminal law). In the UK we have The National Referral Mechanism or NRM which is a process that officially identifies ‘Victims of Trafficking’ and creates a strategy to deal with each one.
What is being done to help those that suffer from Stockholm’s Syndrome?
There is an extensive network of support agencies for survivors of Trafficking. A research program called ‘stolen smiles’ is a great place to read.
It is also recognised that persons still working in prostitution or other forms of trafficking and have been ‘promoted’ within the network maybe ‘Stockholmed’.
Was there any particular high point when you freed someone and returned them home?
The Empowerment of a survivor is one of the most satisfying aspects of dealing with Human Trafficking Cases.
Would you please describe the story and moment?
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/diary-of-a-call-girl-1929226.html was a case where we rescued five victims one of whom was believed to have been murdered in Holland. She was also being used as a house slave where the traffickers boss (female) even spat out her chewing gum into her hand. This survivor had been keeping a diary and persuaded the first girl (the one believed to have been murdered) to escape with her. They went to their Embassy whom I had worked with previously and recognised that they might be trafficked. I interviewed them initially and the sense of relief on their faces when the realised that someone believed them and would take action was empowering. Being with them right through the process to the conviction of the gang was amazing. This is just one of the 68 cases dealt with in three years. See Op SHAWM on my blog.