2020 Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP)

Greetings from The Slave Detective,

Its that time again, when the Trafficking in Persons Report is produced.

TIP

My first move is always to look at how the Uk is performing. The TIP report says the UK is doing ok.

What is more troubling is the underlying tones in the report.

As reported over the past five years, human traffickers exploit domestic and foreign victims in the UK. The government reports 10,627 potential victims came through the National Referral Mechanism (NRM), with the latest government estimates of up to 13,000 trafficking victims present in the UK. 

Prosecutions for Human Trafficking have drastically reduced during that time.

Potential victims comprise 91 nationalities with the largest source countries being the UK, Albania, and Vietnam. Twenty-six percent of potential victims assert their exploitation occurred entirely outside of the UK.

The TIP report states that “Labour trafficking is the most common form of exploitation among adults and minors.” This is in the main due to the great work of the Gangmasters & Labour Abuse Authority

It also very much to do with the fact that focus has been turned away from investigating allegations of Sex Trafficking. If you don’t investigate it it is no longer a problem. This has meant that the UK has regressed to the bad old days when prostitution was not a focus of Trafficking investigations and victims were afraid to come forward.

Nearly half of all victims identified are children. Children in the care system and unaccompanied migrant children are particularly at risk of trafficking.

This has been highlighted since 2005 when operation Paladin attempted to dig down into this. Of course the funding was removed from this investigation and no one has taken up the challenge.

Youth trafficked by gangs are forced to act as drug couriers from larger cities into rural areas across the UK. Traffickers force adults and children to work in agriculture, cannabis cultivation, construction, food processing, factories, domestic service, nail salons, food services, the hospitality industry, and car washes, as well as on fishing boats.

This issue has also been around for many years. Intelligence services have targeted intelligence on what they refer to as “County Lines Gangs”

There have been high profile operations against the heads of these gangs but have we seen any prosecutions for Human Trafficking Offences? The answer is…… ‘NO’

The TIP Report also states:-

As of October, the government reported 1,090 police trafficking investigations in England and Wales.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which handled cases in England and Wales, prosecuted 349 defendants on trafficking charges with 251 convictions in 2019.

CPS data did not differentiate between sex and labour trafficking, nor did the government provide data on the range of sentencing of convicted traffickers or percentage of convicted traffickers serving prison time.

It also didn’t specify if the convictions related to offences they were charged with.

Since 2011 and the demise of a dedicated Human Trafficking Response in the UK it has been common place to charge with Human Trafficking Offences and then accept a plea of Guilt on lesser offences. I doubt the true number of Human Trafficking Convictions is anywhere near this number, even though its woefully low.

In truth there are no units capable with dedicating resources to these difficult and challenging investigations. Crime Management wants quick results and maximum press exposure.

Kevin Hyland showed this when he splashed the story of 3 victims held for 30years.

The story was soon brushed under the carpet. The investigation failed because it was poorly handled. Mr Hyland went onto be the Human Trafficking Commissioner, another role where he failed to deliver. He now is a fierce critic of The Trafficking Commissioners Office. They who adopted his failures. 

I have no time for his views. He was responsible for what we have today. The failure to support Trafficking Victims.

Finally there are two good news messages for the UK in the TIP report.

During the reporting period, courts convicted a man serving as a special constable for the Metropolitan Police Service to four years’ imprisonment for sex trafficking. 

The Offence happened in 2015 and was reported in 2017. They were convicted in February 2019 after a trail. Their sentence is on the low side of sentencing especially as this person was a Volunteer Police Officer.

The other great bit of news is that Northern Ireland still carry the torch for dedicated task forces against Human Trafficking.

Young women and girls from Albania, Bulgaria, and Romania, including ethnic Roma, remain vulnerable to sex trafficking in Northern Ireland. In 2019, the Police Service in Northern Ireland added five new detectives to the anti-trafficking unit to help manage the potential increase in cases as a result of the UK leaving the EU.

They also continue to secure great results targeting trafficking gangs with Trafficking Legislation. 

I’m proud to say I worked with this unit in 2010 and offered hands on assistance to their operations at that time. Great to see they continue to support victims along with the GLAA in mainland UK. If Sexual Exploitation is still an issue in Northern Ireland which fools is saying there isn’t this problem on The Mainland? Enough about Kevin Hyland!

What is Human Trafficking? About the Problem...

Our Society continues to go backwads!

Greetings from The Slave Detective,

While I am a firm believer that each case has to be examined on its own merit it appears we continue to fail victims of Human Trafficking who take the leap of faith to disclose their plight.

I’ve been a follower of Klara Skrivankova, the UK & Europe programme manager anti-slavery international, for some time and support her great work. I do not necessarily agree with everything she says, (debate is always great for learning) but we agree on one fact. We are still prosecuting victims of Human Trafficking despite the Modern Slavery Act.

In October 2017 Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services, published a highly critical report of the police’s response to modern slavery and human trafficking. It painted a picture of the police being uninformed, untrained and inconsistent.

In this article by Nadesh Karu, a specialist defence barrister, he highlights the failings of not only the Police but the prosecution system as well.

Of course some cases slip through the net and victims of Human Trafficking can by their very nature be some of the most difficult and demanding persons who are often initially vague and guarded in their accounts.

I challenge anyone to put themselves in the shoes of a victim of such an atrocity and come across as credible in the first instance.

This does not negate the fact that the system is letting them down. Weed out those that are attempting to abuse the system by all means but in the first instance build trust with a survivor then build a case!

Please read “Prosecuting victims of human trafficking: the sad reality”

and comment. As I said……Debate is the best learning platform!

Britain’s new law against modern slavery secures a rare conviction

Greetings from The Slave Detective,

Following on from my last post, TIP report 2018, I noted this article in The Economist.

It features a case of Ju Ju……my very good friend Andrew Desmond secured the first conviction in the UK of Anthony Harrison for the very same method of victim Control. I have mentioned it many times. Search him in this Blog if you want to know more.

What does stand out is the part of the article is “Only 6% of the modern-slavery offences recorded by police in the year to March 2017 resulted in charges or court summonses. Officers point out that charges are sometimes brought under different laws, meaning the total proportion will be higher. Even so, a report in 2017 by the police inspectorate raised “serious concerns” about the quality of modern-slavery investigations, and found some officers did not fully understand their new powers.”

I have been saying for some time that the erosion of specialist investigation officers who can not only drive these cases but offer advice and guidance and specialist knowledge to pass on, is to blame. And amazingly it is the Trafficking Commissioner himself, Kevin Hyland, who started the rot to eroded these skills.

As long as we have an Ostridge at the helm the 6% charging will keep falling. Its also interesting to note that this is the charging rate, not the conviction rate! I suspect the conviction rate to be much lower.

 

I’m happy to be proven wrong.

 

Something else I supported many years ago was the empowerment of people who are likely to happen across victims. I was involved in Delta Airlines push to educate their staff.

I’m pleased to say there are still persons in the industry educating in this field.

Airline Ambassadors International  are one such group.

I support their efforts. :o)

 

Trafficking in Persons Report 2018

Greetings from The Slave Detective

The TIP report 2018 is published and once again gives a good insight into what is happing around the world in relation to Human Trafficking.

Take a look at the Country that interests you. I was particularly interested in the fact that The UK government did not report the number of trafficking investigations initiated in 2016 or 2017. The Crown Prosecution Service, which handled cases in England and Wales, prosecuted 265 defendants on trafficking charges with 80 convictions in 2017, a decrease from 343 prosecutions and 216 convictions in 2016.

Yet the identification of victims has increased.

Through the NRM, authorities referred 5,146 potential trafficking victims for care nationwide in 2017, compared with 3,805 in 2016 and 3,266 in 2015.

That is a fail in my eyes!

A great plus for the UK is that The Gangmasters Licencing Authority goes from strength to strength.

” Gangmasters Licensing Authority continued to enforce labour standards in high-risk sectors, using their widened authority to investigate regulatory and criminal offenses in employment.”

They appear to be the only Investigatory Agency focused on Human Trafficking and actually Investigating it to prosecution.

On another note I found a great video by Tony Dunkerley who is saying very much what I believe about victims of Trafficking.

Discussion is a great way to understand what Trafficking is all about. Nice one !

Police are trained to spot drunken driving and drug trafficking. Why not child trafficking, too?

Greetings from The Slave Detective,

I saw this article today which echo’s what I have been saying about training our Police Officers.

Not just for child trafficking but all aspects of trafficking.

“When Deputy Patrick Paquette pulled to a stop on Interstate 20 in Georgia in January 2013, he didn’t anticipate a career-altering experience. He saw a young man and a far younger girl standing on the side of the highway. Both were handcuffed. The pair had been detained by an officer who had pulled them over for speeding, smelled pot and discovered a bag of marijuana. To Paquette, a Greene County sheriff’s deputy with 11 years of experience, it seemed like a routine case of drug possession. The man looked sullen. The young girl looked …

Paquette took a closer look at the girl. She seemed to be about the same age as one of Paquette’s sons and weighed down by some combination of sadness and fear. She kept glancing warily toward the young man.”

The Human Trafficking Commissioner in the UK doesn’t seem to have pushed for training to be on the radar of every Police recruit.

Harping back to when The Human Trafficking Team still existed in the Metropolitan Police in London we attended every recruit training course to make then aware of what they could be encountering. Look at situations differently, at the bigger picture. We also became part of the Detective training input.

This gave way to on line distance learning. On Line training has its place as a support tool but you can’t beat personal delivery to persons.

I have had the pleasure of delivering training in Georgia. The Superintendent of schools in Georgia recognised the significance of passing the message onto those that could come across Human Trafficking.

Hopefully I will have made a difference too?

So read the whole article and see how a simple awareness of something that ‘wasn’t quite right’ 

Two years later, Rebecca invited him to her high school graduation. “I wanted him to see,” she says, “that I am not wasting this second chance at life he gave me.” Paquette attended, sitting there with a rare kind of satisfaction — and humility. “It was kind of overwhelming,” he says, “and an honor.”

Good News from The UK

Greetings from The Slave Detective,

Having worried in the past about the plight of the Gang masters Licencing Authority (GLA) in the UK I have some good news.

The GLA ran a Licencing Scheme to ensure employers and those that supplied employees to the Agricultural, Horticultural and Fisheries areas and were under threat for funding by the UK Government.

Far from being shut down they have moved from their current funding stream to one of a Non Departmental Government Body (NDGB) with a bigger budget.

Not only that they have also expanded their remit to tackle all areas of Worker Exploitation looking to enforce legislation under the Immigration Act 2015.

This is a great thing. This means that there is a dedicated unit looking at The new Modern Slavery Act 2016, with the powers to arrest offenders. A proactive Government Body with a National Remit.

The last bit of really good news is that they have employed a great Human Trafficking Detective, Andy Desmond, of whom I have spoken about previously.

They have also changed their name to the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA).

They will continue to maintain a credible licensing scheme, creating  a level playing field and promoting growth but will now look to ‘Target, dismantle and disrupt serious and organised crime/early identification of human trafficking”

With the Metropolitan Police now completely devoid of a Human Trafficking Team, it being dealt with by the Kidnap Unit!, this GLAA should now lead the way in Human Trafficking.

They have already had their first result at Court.

Right on their doorstep in Nottingham this case has just been concluded.

Sajmon Brzezinski tricked two vulnerable men – one whom considered himself a member of his family after being taken from an orphanage – into handing over most of their money they earned.

The court was told the first man, who met Brzezinski at a building site in Poland, had been offered travel to the UK for £60 so he could find work in 2011 or 2012, but when he arrived he was told he owed £2,000 and had to work to pay it off.Brzezinski, 43, set up bank accounts for the 38-year-old, which his wages were paid into, but he kept his bank card so he couldn’t access the money.

Although the press article doesn’t report it I know that last week this man got 8yrs Imprisonment. They will also be going after his assets so that the survivors of this Crime can receive them under the Powers in the Modern Slavery Act 2016  to make slavery and trafficking reparation orders

I’m sure that a good friend of this Blog, Parosha Chandran had a hand in making sure that bit of legislation was firmly fixed in the Act.

The Modern Slavery Act 2016 is slowly being brought into legislation and parts of it, as I have stated before, worry me. The Slavery and trafficking prevention orders are like Anti Social Behaviour Orders but may have a place. Only time will tell.

There is also some more good news! Australia are examining the Modern Slavery Act 2016 and seeing if the legislation could work there. Another very good friend Prof David Webb, Associate Professor of Marketing and Business Ethics, University of Western Australia is part of a Think Tank examining this process.

I wish them all the best and I hope others follow in their steps.

 

 

 

New documentary on Modern Slavery

Greetings from The Slave Detective,

This documentary was sent to me by Parosha Chandran, a Human Trafficking Champion and someone I have mentioned many time s on this blog previously.

Its an excellent piece of work and echo’s many of my findings.

 

The video and the whole article are worthy reading.

Al Jazeera’s investigative unit has revealed that large companies in Britain may be failing to tackle slavery along their supply chains.

The findings prompted a warning from Britain’s anti-slavery commissioner that companies all over the United Kingdom could unwittingly be using modern-day slaves.

I know of Estate agents in North London who have been approached by persons who own car washes in North London. They wanted premises to house workers. Not one premises but 10!

This was in 2010/2011 and was reported to the now Anti Slavery Commissioner, Kevin Hyland.

It will not surprise many that nothing was done.

The video clip with the  Cannabis farmer is all the more worrying when you realise that over 7,000 cannabis factories being discovered every year in the UK.

 

Safe Harbor: Parosha Chandran talks Policy with TIPHeroes.org

Greetings from The Slave Detective,

Parosha Chandran is someone I have mentioned on this blog before. She is an aggressive force in rights for Human Trafficking Victims and Slave Labour.

She was recently recognised in the TIP report 2015 as a TIP Hero and tells me she was very honoured to receive the Trafficking in Persons Hero Award 2015 from John Kerry at a ceremony in Washington DC in late July.

Parosha

 

She has also done a Radio Interview to talk about this and ensuring Safe Harbour for Trafficking Victims.

She is a force to be reckoned with and knows how to get the job done.

look her up in my blog. She is a true Heroin.

 

 

Name and Shame – Press Power

Greetings from The Slave Detective,

Every day I receive notifications of press coverage of human trafficking stories.

I have been involved in some of them and rarely recognise the story!

I also lecture to young journalists training at The Press Association and have done for a few years.

This interesting article passed over my desk today from “Inside Nova” an American Publication.

What initially caught my eye was a Tag Line “Prince William Fugitive of the week.” I thought perhaps our Royal Family member had stepped out of line again? It turned out to be The District of Prince William in the USA, most wanted poster!

Then  I noted the naming and shaming of seven males who had groomed young girls on line.

name and shame

While it is to be applauded that the local newspaper is happy to name and shame these persons, who knows why they were grooming this girls, but I note they have also published their home addresses.

I would be interested to find out what the effect this has and if it is encouraging vigilante type attacks on these persons.

I hope the Police ‘Sting’ curtails the activities of others seeking to emulate these ‘Gentlemen’ and I know other Police agencies carry out similar operations and applaud them.

Is this a good use of the power of the press?

You decide. I know that we must protect our children!

Criminals

Deadly Game

Greetings from The Slave Detective,

I recently received a request from Matt Johnson, a retired Police Officer turned author, to assist him with his latest book, Deadly Game.

I’d never served with Matt or met him but he was writing a novel with Human Trafficking as the thread to his piece.

After reading his first novel ‘Wicked Games’ I was happy to assist as he has an engaging style.

Wicked games

Matt retired from The Police and wrote ‘Wicked Games’ from notes made during his treatment for Post Traumatic Stress (PTSD).

I have read a draft of his latest book and offered my opinion (I’m cheap!) and Matt kindly let me read his revised edit. I have to say Matt has in my opinion, grasped the plight of the victim and the novel ( a work of fiction) has plot lines that I recognise as real life issues when I have dealt with these investigations.

Read a taster of it below and have a look on Matts page.

Romania.

Anca Valcea huddled against the stone garden wall for shelter.

Winter was around the corner. The east wind was beginning to turn cold. Soon, she would need to take a chance and wait inside the house for the factory bus to arrive. In a few short weeks the winds from the east would bring snow and it would be certain death to wait in the street for the six o’clock pick-up.

Soon, her father would be demanding she leave the job at the factory and join her brother gathering wood to fuel the stove.

Soon… soon, she would find a new life.

For now, Anca contented herself with wrapping her mother’s woollen coat tight around her slim figure, lifting the collar and making herself as small and as tight as possible.

The wall provided the only protection from where she could see the approach of the bus. Miss the bus, no ride. Miss the ride, no job. Miss the job, go hungry.

Mat has not asked me to advertise his work but I believe his work brings to note the plight of victims, the intricacies of Human Trafficking investigations and the hurdles Police have to overcome to get the right result for a survivor of trafficking.