Category Archives: Uncategorized

Landmark Case for Trafficking Victims in UK.

Congratulations once again to Parosha Chandran.

On 16 February 2021, Parosha Chandran, barrister and Professor of Practice in Modern Slavery Law at The Dickson Poon School of Law, won a landmark judgement on human trafficking and the non-punishment principle before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

I have reported before about Parosha’s amazing achievements in this Blog. She is a Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report ‘Hero’ and general, all round, great person.

The case – V.C.L and A.N v the United Kingdom – concerned two Vietnamese children found working on cannabis farms by police in 2009. Both were convicted of drug crimes and detained in young offenders’ institutions despite indications they were child victims of trafficking who were being subjected to enforced criminal activity and forced labour.

The ECHR ruled that Britain had breached two Articles relating to the protection from trafficking and the prohibition of forced labour (Article 4) and the right to a fair trial (Article 6). This is the first time the ECHR has considered the relationship between Article 4 and the prosecution of victims of trafficking, passing a landmark judgment of non-punishment as a result.

The Court also found a breach of fair trial guarantees through the UK’s failure to identify the children as being potential trafficking victims at the time of their detection which affected the overall fairness of their trials and may have prevented them from securing important evidence that could have supported their defence.

Parosha can also been seen talking about Victims being prosecuted HERE and Modern Day Slavery HERE.

St Patrick was a Slave.

Greetings from The Slave Detective

So today the 17th March 2021 we celebrate St Patrick’s day. The patron saint of Ireland.

In around 400AD he was living, it is said, in Banwen, South Wales, when a band of Irish Pirates raided the village and took him and many others as captives. He was taken to Ireland and forced to work as a Shepherd for 6 years. He escaped, walking 200 miles and returned to the mainland UK. There he took up orders and eventually returned to Ireland as a Bishop.

To Celebrate St Patricks Day, the place where it is said he was born, Banwen (a small village near Neath, South Wales) hold meetings to toast to their famous ‘Son’. This year I was invited to the celebration to talk about Modern day Slavery.

This event was patronised by Wales First Minister, Mark Drakeford, The local member of Parliaments for Neath Christina Rees, Roy Nobel a distinguished Welsh broadcaster and many others from the local community.

Hosted by Richard Parry, from Landscapes of Faith and Councillor Dean Cawsey the festivities included a short address by Christina and Mark Drakeford followed by a poem by Menna Elfyn , Welsh Children’s Poet Laureate in 2002.

This community is now looking at focusing on Human Trafficking in Wales. As we discussed during the evening it is still happening right on your door step!

The publication, The National, have written a piece covering the events of the day in Banwen.

Happy St Patricks Day

First Minister drops in on zoom to celebrate St Patrick’s Day in Banwen

He may be running the country during the worst pandemic in living memory but Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford took time out of his demanding schedule yesterday to join the village of Banwen in south Wales on a community zoom event to mark St Patrick’s Day and to congratulate 95-year-old George Brinley Evans, a former Banwen miner, who has spent his life uncovering the story of how Patrick the patron saint of Ireland started his extraordinary life journey in Wales.  First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford made a surprise visit on zoom last night at 6.30pm to a community celebration for St Patrick’s day to congratulate 95 year old George Brinley Evans, a former miner who lives in the South Wales Village of Banwen, for his lifelong work to bring the story of St Patrick and his Welsh origins to public attention. 

Patrick was a real historical figure and his autobiography (Confessio) tells of how he was captured by raiders in the 5th century and taken to Ireland as a slave from his birthplace, a boggy area of western Britain called Taburnaie Bannavem. George Evans has led the claim that Tafarn y Banwen, in Glamorgan, is the place of Patrick’s birth and kidnapping. 
Earlier in the day George had walked down to the Welsh St Patrick memorial in the village and laid a wreath, made in the village, and decorated with local flowers, to mark the kidnapping of Patrick and his sister Darerca, and all the victims of human trafficking and modern slavery today. The village has marked the occasion by the installation of new sculptures made in willow of figures representing Patrick’s sister Darerca who was kidnapped by pirates along with Patrick, and thier mother Conchessa. The village is remembering all victims of human trafficking and slavery.

The event was marked by a reading of a new poem about St Patrick, his family and the tragedy of slavery, specially commissioned by the village for this year’s commemoration from leading Welsh writer Menna Elfyn.

The icing on the cake for the small village was when First Minister Mark Drakeford appeared on the community zoom event to thank George and wish the community well for their St Patrick’s Day celebrations.  

The First Minister said: ‘It’s great to see so many people celebrating together virtually. There can’t be a more fitting tribute to the day and your own celebrations than to have the most wonderful poem from Menna Elfyn, written especially for today.’  

Mark Drakeford went on to praise George Brinley Evans for his work, saying the former miner and established author was himself a legend in the area and had given a lifetime of service to his community. 

Banwen’s celebrations are not confined to March 17th. Working with the Visit Wales tourism project Landscapes of Faith the village is offering a weekend of St Patrick fun this June which will include Roman soldiers and cavalry camping by the side of the Roman road in the village and a re-enactment of the kidnapping of St Patrick – all, of course, subject to Covid-19 restrictions being eased. 

Richard Parry who leads the Landscapes of Faith project said: ‘Small communities in Wales can sometimes feel remote but the Sarn Helen Roman road goes through the village and reminds us that this place was once on an international highway. The village is delighted to be able to share its heritage with the world this coming June’.  

The village online event was hosted by local councillor Dean Cawsey and retired Scotland Yard Detective, Roddy Llewellyn, gave a talk about people trafficking today in Britain and how children are still brought to Britain as slaves and to undertake forced labour. The radio broadcaster Roy Noble who has worked with George Evans for many years on celebrating Patrick also took part in the online event.  

As for George Evans himself, he said: ‘It was a wonderful surprise and a bit of a shock to see Mark Drakeford on the zoom talking to me. I wasn’t expecting anything like that. Not only is he the First Minister but he’s a good man and a fine scholar, and I’m so pleased that Banwen is being recognised as Patrick’s home.’ 

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.