STOP THE TRAFFIK is thrilled to celebrate the announcement that Caroline Taylor has been appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in this New Year 2017 Honours list for services to Marketing, Diversity and Prevention of Human Trafficking.
Caroline has been a member of the STOP THE TRAFFIK board since its inception in 2007, and held the position of Chair of the board since 2011. Caroline leads the board with an exceptional blend of skill, wisdom, creativity and passion.
Ruth Dearnley, CEO of STOP THE TRAFFIK said:
‘Caroline’s unique contribution to STOP THE TRAFFIK facilitates a clear and strong governance which has kept us moving forward whether we are in times of plenty or famine with our resources. We benefit from her ability to reach for the innovative, to inspire and to support the staff team as we have sought to pioneer and imagine new ways to prevent the buying and selling of people around the world. Caroline constantly challenges us to be both wise and brave. This award recognises Caroline’s extraordinary contribution and we celebrate with her and her family and friends; congratulations Caroline and thank you for all you do for STOP THE TRAFFIK!”
Caroline is also a trustee of the Oasis Global charity, of which STOP THE TRAFFIK is a subsidiary. Steve Chalke, the founder of Oasis and STOP THE TRAFFIK, commented:
‘Caroline’s capacity to grapple with the complexities of the global and forever changing crime of Human Trafficking allied to her ability to work with and guide the team of wonderful activists who make up our staff has been, and remains, central to the vital campaigning and preventive work of STOP THE TRAFFIK. And the most remarkable thing is that she does all this in her spare time!’
Huge congratulations to Robert Alexander from STOP THE TRAFFIK Devon and Cornwall who won the Marsh Christian Trust Award for ‘Outstanding individual’ last week, an award that aims to recognise those who “do it out of love not money”; individuals that continue to pump in hours of efforts for the good of others, with no ask for any sort of recognition or attention.
Robert was applauded for his tremendous voluntary contributions over recent years, where lately, his work collaborating with charity ‘Unchosen’, a Bristol based organisation that uses the power of film to fight Modern Slavery, began to highlight the rapid breakthroughs in connection with his hard work. Driven to put an end to exploitative labour, Robert looked at how films produced in association with Unchosen charity could be key to raising awareness of modern slavery existent within the UK. By promoting and marketing the footage effectively, the films became a method of outreach, multiplying the number of supporters contributing to the deconstruction of a suspected $150 billion industry.
Accepting his award, Robert drew attention to the power of film as a medium for change within the industry; Unchosen charity, driving innovating ways to educate individuals on the persistent presence of modern slavery existent within the UK economy.
We are very grateful to have Robert leading STOP THE TRAFFIK public engagements across Devon and Cornwall; keep up the good work!
Human trafficking is a global industry and, if we want to defeat it, we need to confront it with a global, collaborative approach. It is for this reason that STOP THE TRAFFIK has developed the STOP APP, a mobile app that allows individuals from anywhere in the world to share their stories on anything they may have seen or heard relating to human trafficking, in a safe and secure place.
Last week, STOP THE TRAFFIK rolled out the initial stage of its first ever targeted pilot of the STOP APP in South Africa, which was selected due to the prevalence of trafficking in the country. Here, trafficking is happening on a number of levels; individuals are being trafficked internally, with children being recruited from poor rural areas to urban areas, as girls are subjected to domestic servitude and boys are forced to work as street vendors and within agriculture. People are also being trafficked into the country from numerous source countries, including Thailand and China, and become victims of sexual exploitation and forced labour.
To kick off the pilot, STOP THE TRAFFIK has launched a targeted Facebook campaign, in order to directly engage those who are living and working in South African communities that are vulnerable to human trafficking and its effects. Alongside this, STOP THE TRAFFIK is working closely with organisations, businesses, NGOs and individuals in South Africa to deliver a concerted, collaborative approach, which aims to educate individuals on how to spot the signs of human trafficking, explain the tools available to report suspicious activity and empower them to join the fight against this crime.
Therefore, STOP THE TRAFFIK urges you, whether you are living in, are visiting or have recently visited South Africa, to download the STOP APP and share any stories you may have on human trafficking. By working with you and with organisations in South Africa, STOP THE TRAFFIK aims to identify any potential hotspots or trends where people are most vulnerable to this horrific crime, and take the necessary steps to stop it, through collaboration.
The pilot in South Africa is an important step in creating a global picture of human trafficking; it is only when we piece together these stories from vulnerable communities around the world that we will be able to ‘stop the traffik’ for good.
In ITV’s recent historical drama, ‘Victoria’, slavery was a hot topic; the sixth episode of the series focused on the 1840 meeting at Exeter Hall for the anti-slavery convention, where Prince Albert delivered an impassioned speech against slavery. Despite the 1807 Slave Trade Act, which removed British involvement from the industry, slavery was still prevalent on a global scale and the convention was used as a vehicle to promote international collaboration and further its abolition across the Atlantic, given that it was still a thriving trade in America.
When Prince Albert took the stage, it was a momentous occasion; at the height of the British Empire, Victoria and Albert were amongst the most influential figures in the world and, by pledging their commitment to ending this issue, it was a demonstrative stand from the top down. However, set to the backdrop of the Victorian era, modern audiences could be led to believe that the series’ portrayal of this was merely an issue of its time, and one that was left behind a long time ago.
Nevertheless, over 175 years later, we are seeing history repeat itself. Once again, slavery is a highly prevalent issue and one of the most pressing crises of our time. It is estimated that over 45 million people are presently victims of modern slavery* – although it is almost impossible for us to understand the full extent, given the clandestine nature of this crime – and once again key global figureheads are taking to the world stage to demonstrate their commitment to eradicating this issue.
In September, UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, addressed the United Nations to deliver her campaign against modern slavery, with an aim to internationalise the work the UK has already done on the issue. Human trafficking is a truly global industry and, by meeting with representatives from around the world, this was an opportunity for May to promote a heightened cross-border collaboration and expand global policies to tackle the crime.
In line with this, May also implemented an increased budget of £33million in the UK in the fight against modern slavery in the UK and announced that UK intelligence will form an anti-slavery taskforce which will work to fight modern slavery. The taskforce will work both in source countries to disrupt the trafficking networks and within the UK, to uncover those who are benefitting from the slave trade and aid the prosecutions of these people.
It is clear that slavery, despite the efforts of history, has remained a prominent crime and it is critical that it is fought from the top by those with a worldwide influence- much like Albert and Victoria. However, history has taught us that this is not enough; for us to be successful in the fight against human trafficking it is imperative that this effort is a collaborative approach. We must work on an international scale and we must do this from within the communities that are affected by trafficking, for it is often those that are living within these vulnerable communities that hold the most vital information. By empowering these people to share their stories, we can create a much more complete picture of the global issue and we can build resilient communities that simultaneously recognise the issues around them and know how to address them.
It is for this reason that we have developed the STOP APP – a tool to empower people from every part of the world to share their stories and provide essential data for this global picture. With this global data, STOP THE TRAFFIK’s Centre for Intelligence-Led prevention is able to develop a much richer dataset, analyse its global impact and share it back to the communities and organisations to create a collaborative approach in the fight against human trafficking.
*Statistics taken from the Global Slavery Index
Human trafficking is the world’s fastest growing international crime, which affects millions of people worldwide. Its victims are heavily exploited and are deprived of the most basic human rights but, given the clandestine nature of the crime, it can be difficult to reach those in need. It is only with a concerted global effort that we will be able to stop human trafficking for good and, given their deep connection to local communities, faith groups are integral to this work.
It is for this reason that Freedom Sunday was founded, as it represents a day for global faith groups to stand together and take action to put an end to human trafficking. As part of Freedom Sunday, faith groups are provided with information packs to help them to plan their services and to provide further information to their communities. The aim of these services is to raise awareness of the issues around human trafficking, demonstrate compassion for the men, women and children that fall victim to this crime and drive action to simultaneously help those in need and prevent its growth.
The pack also includes suggested awareness and prevention campaigns that can be carried out by faith communities. In launching these campaigns, there is an opportunity to implement specific actions in the local area and, consequently, further raise awareness of the issues around human trafficking in the wider community.
Now in its fourth year, Freedom Sunday has grown exponentially, and its increased global presence represents a huge step forward in spreading international awareness of human trafficking. The collaboration it promotes amongst faith groups and wider societies around the world demonstrates a united commitment amongst communities and is a tangible and powerful global response against human trafficking.
This year, Freedom Sunday will be taking place on Sunday 16th October – or Saturday 15th October for those of whom Saturday is the Sabbath – as this is the closest weekend to Anti-Slavery Day on 18th October. We urge faith communities around the world to get involved and use this as an opportunity to raise awareness of human trafficking, by following the steps below. However, we also understand that human trafficking is an endless issue and so these resources are available throughout the year.
There is still a long way to go in the fight against human trafficking, but together we are stronger. Through our compassion, our unity and our actions, we can help those in need and ultimately put a stop to human trafficking.
To get involved in Freedom Sunday, follow these 3 steps:
- Register: Go to the Freedom Sunday global website https://freedomsundayglobal.org/ and register to download the information pack which has information and suggestions for how to get your faith community involved.
- Plan: The pack has lots of suggestions for how to plan your Freedom Sunday service for 16th Obviously the planning can be changed to be more tailor-made for your faith community to ensure the message is as effective as possible.
- Action: The education of your faith community can allow for raised awareness within the local area and prompt action against human trafficking. The pack contains lots of suggestions of campaigns and actions your faith community can do to ensure human trafficking can be prevented.
In July this year, the UK Anti-Slavery Commissioner, Kevin Hyland, outlined his top priorities in the fight against modern slavery. In this, Hyland emphasised the importance of enhanced international collaboration in order to bring down human trafficking at a global level, stressing that modern slavery is often a transnational crime and therefore demands a transnational response.
Whilst the commissioner underlined the importance for governments and law enforcement bodies to collaborate internationally, it is often NGOs on the ground that hold the most vital information on human trafficking trends, victims and perpetrators. As such, it is critical that these organisations have the ability to share this information and collaborate globally, in order to ultimately disrupt human trafficking chains.
This month, representatives from fifteen different UK anti-trafficking organisations came together in London to discuss these issues in further detail. The workshop provided an opportunity for the attending organisations to discuss prospective means of collaboration between themselves and served as a platform to learn more about the new digital tools that have been developed specifically to improve collaboration within the anti-trafficking sector.
At the session, chaired by Ruth Dearnley OBE, CEO of STOP THE TRAFFIK, two tools in particular were presented: the STOP APP and the Freedom Collaborative. Although these differ in purpose, they are united by one common objective: to provide a secure global platform for individuals and organisations to share information and stories from their communities about human trafficking.
Helen Sworn opened by introducing the Freedom Collaborative, which is the first online platform to facilitate connectivity, knowledge-sharing and cross-border cooperation among anti-trafficking stakeholders globally. Sworn explained that the Freedom Collaborative aims to encourage and develop collaboration from the bottom up, driven by those on the frontline, in order to create a centralised space for the anti-trafficking community.
Within this community, members are encouraged to share resources, attend webinars and join discussions to impart news, advice and opinions on the issues surrounding modern slavery. To highlight the power of the platform, Sworn explained that the Freedom Collaborative is now home to more than 300 organisations from the anti-human trafficking community and has already been used to establish international partnerships and case collaboration.
Following this, Dr Bill Peace presented the STOP APP – the first mobile app of its kind to collect, analyse and share data on human trafficking. Dr Peace explained that the vision behind the app is to disrupt trafficking supply chains by starving them of profit through the greatest of tools – people and technology, by empowering anybody who knows, has seen or even heard a situation that they believe to be trafficking to talk about it in a safe and secure space.
Dr Peace also introduced the Centre for Intelligence-Led Prevention, which analyses all data inputted into the STOP APP, and the partnership it has formed with IBM. He underlined the importance of the data that NGOs hold and explained that, by harnessing this intelligence, it is possible to track global trends and hotspots of human trafficking, which will ultimately provide those that are fighting this crime with powerful information to build campaigns and action to stop human trafficking.
Jonathan Hargreaves, Global Vice Chair of the Technology Sector at Edelman, concluded the session by reinforcing the importance of individual stories – in combination with technology – in disrupting human trafficking. He explained that, to date, the approach to fighting modern slavery has been very much a ‘cat and mouse’ tactic, due to outdated and siloed information.
However, Hargreaves stressed that this is no longer a sufficient method; human trafficking remains the fastest growing crime globally, largely due to its hidden nature, thus it requires a more targeted and intelligent response. He explained that by collaborating successfully and sharing data in one central location, the anti-trafficking sector now has the ability to use big data analytics to predict and prevent the growth of international trafficking chains.
Overall, the session was a highly positive example of anti-trafficking organisations coming together to discuss how we can best work together to fight human trafficking on an international level. Whilst the workshop highlighted the integral role that technology will increasingly play in empowering NGOs, communities and individuals to disrupt global trafficking chains, this is just the first step; technology does have the power to disrupt, but it requires people to share their stories if it is to succeed.
7th of September, 2016
Utrecht – To stand up against the exploitation of children in the sex industry, STOP THE TRAFFIK Netherlands has organized a motorbike ride, that will take place on the 25th of September.
The number of Dutch minors that has been exploited in the sex industry the past 5 years has increased by 64%. So the Dutch rapporteur of human trafficking has stated in her new rapport. STOP THE TRAFFIK rallies all motorbike riders to take a stand against this and to join their ride out against child trafficking. Because the innocence of a child ends up where sex trade begins.
Biker Ride Sponsored
The bikers will pay a registration fee (of ten euros) and call on their friends and families for sponsorship for their participation in the motorbike ride, as they tour to help support the work of STOP THE TRAFFIK and inform on the issues of human trafficking. The ride will be a total of 379 km, starting in Groningen and going through Zwolle, Apeldoorn, Arnhem, Nijmegen, Venlo, Eindhoven, Den Bosch, Utrecht and will finish in Amsterdam. There will be three places where riders can join up, in Groningen, Arnhem or Eindhoven.
Also there will be two free courses about spotting human trafficking and the prevention of sexual abuse, so motorbike riders can become active fighters against human trafficking themselves! The courses will be on the 16th and 21th September in Utrecht.
Experts state that prevention should start at a young age. This is way the prevention project of STOP THE TRAFFIK focusses at children between 8 and 12 years. The project wants to prevent children from becoming a trafficker or becoming a victim of trafficking by teaching them the safety rules of a healthy relationship.
STOP THE TRAFFIK is a campaigning and awareness raising organisation that incites ordinary people to take action human trafficking in all its forms.
More information about participation in the motorbike ride and / or support can be found on www.stopthetraffik.nl.
Note to editors: For more information, please email email@example.com or call Stop The Traffik on +31 (0) 30 711 67 64.
A new GIFT box was launched in Brazil, on Monday 25th July at Galeão International Airport, Rio de Janeiro. This coincides with the World Week against Trafficking in Persons, as well as the week leading up to the beginning of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. It was launched by Stop The Traffik Brazil in affiliation by 27 Million in partnership with the Brazilian State Secretary of Social Assistance and Human Rights, the Public Ministry of Work, COETRAE (State Commission for the Eradication of Slave Labour), and was attended by members of the Brazilian state. Other guests came from Mexico, including a representative of the Mexican National Commission of Human Rights. Volunteers from Brazil, California and the UK (from Tearfund, a partner of 27 Million) were also present. The opening was a success, attracting substantial attention from both visitors passing through the airport, as well as local media.
The GIFT box is a walk in street-sculpture which on the outside appears to be an elaborately wrapped gift inviting visitors inside with gift tags promising jobs and opportunities. Once inside, visitors are faced with a different reality; stories from survivors of human trafficking around the world who were lured in by such promises. This unique project raises awareness of human trafficking by inviting visitors in to read stories and talk to volunteers, but is also a valuable opportunity to gather information on the issue from visitors who may have seen something they suspect to be trafficking, or who may be victims of trafficking themselves, particularly in the context of an airport.
Stop the Traffik and the United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN.GIFT) joined to create the GIFT box in 2012. It was launched in London during the 2012 Olympic Games, and has been developed globally since then. It has already taken place in various locations in Brazil, including Rio, São Paulo, Belo Horizonte and Goiania. These editions of the GIFT box saw thousands of visitors, including people who had experienced human trafficking personally. Rio 2016 is a prime opportunity to reach more people and to generate more engagement with the issue, since the eyes of the world are on the city, and many people from all over Brazil and the rest of the world will flood there for the Olympic events. This edition of GIFT box will run throughout the week at the airport, before moving into the city centre for the Olympics themselves.
If you want to find out more about the GIFT box go to our website: GIFT box
“Am I entitled to some compensation”? Asked “Jan” a victim of human trafficking for the purposes of forced labour. “Yes” I answered, but immediately became worried about the mind field that lay ahead.
Research from the EU funded human trafficking project TRACE (Trafficking as a criminal enterprise) has shown that it remains difficult for victims to receive compensation either during criminal procedures or in separate private legal actions. Procedures are complicated and often take a long time and furthermore, in the case of private actions, are expensive. Moreover, judges find it hard to estimate the height of the damages, even material damages thus resulting in a lack of uniformity.
Yet, it feels like it should be the most natural thing; victims who experience the heinous crime should be swiftly recompensed for their trauma. Certainly, human rights law governs the issue through the right to an effective remedy, which should necessitate compensation and free legal aid.
Article 15 (3) – (4) of the Council of Europe Trafficking Convention is very specific and is a basis for state responsibility to allow victims to seek compensations. The provision reads:
3 Each Party shall provide, in its internal law, for the right of victims to compensation from the perpetrators.
4 Each Party shall adopt such legislative or other measures as may be necessary to guarantee compensation for victims in accordance with the conditions under its internal law, for instance through the establishment of a fund for victim compensation or measures or programmes aimed at social assistance and social integration of victims, which could be funded by the assets resulting from the application of measures provided in Article 23.
Regrettably, the obligations contained in Article 15 are riddled with weaknesses and ambiguities. Art. 15(3) requires that compensation is linked to the establishment of the perpetrator’s criminal responsibility. Yet prosecutions are few and far between. Conversely, Art. 15(4) provides for wider scope, and encompasses situations where trafficked persons can pursue compensation from other sources, e.g. as a civil procedure or via a state compensation fund.
Yet as found by the TRACE project, no European State appears to have developed a fund specifically for victims of human trafficking. In addition, the flexibility to adopt measures in accordance with the conditions under state internal law means that compensation is regulated differently across countries. Consequently, some victims may find it easier to gain compensation than others.
Turning to the UK, and the options that Jan had afore him. Firstly, and in line with the afore mentioned Convention, compensation could have been sought during criminal proceedings:
- Through prosecutors requesting a compensation order upon conviction in appropriate cases under sections 130 -132 of the Powers of the Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000, which provides for compensation orders against defendants.
- Through confiscation and compensation under section 13(2) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. Here, the court must determine any application for confiscation before considering a compensation order, however, the court has a discretion under section 13(5) and (6) POCA 2002 to make both a compensation order and a confiscation order against the same person in the same proceedings if it believes that the defendant will have sufficient means to satisfy both orders in full.
However prosecutors can apply for these only post-conviction; Jan’s perpetrator had not been identified, prosecuted or convicted.
Jan could have sued the offender in the civil courts. Civil litigation enables the victim to hold a defendant personally accountable for his actions, though funding for legal representation to pursue a civil compensation claim is often a bar to this course of action. However, as before he was unsure as to the whereabouts of his offender.
As such Jan’s only other option was through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). This scheme compensates for personal injuries awards to victims of crime and fatal injury awards to immediate family members of a victim who has died as a result of a violent crime. To claim, the victim must have sustained physical or mental injuries as a result of a violent crime. A victim claiming mental injury without physical injury must demonstrate they were put in considerable fear of immediate physical harm.
On learning about the CICA Jan asked if a lawyer would help him. Although in the UK under S.47 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, victims of trafficking can have to access legal aid to seek compensation in civil courts and Employment Tribunals, the same is not available for CICA claims.
In the end Jan decided the whole matter was too complicated and said he would not pursue it. Fortunately, most recently the government has agreed to conduct an urgent review of legal aid provision for people bringing compensation claims against their traffickers, after a judicial review brought by Garden Court Chambers on behalf of legal charity, the Anti-Trafficking and Labour Exploitation Unit (ATLEU).
The detention, coercion, threats and abuse, which trafficked persons, are confronted with, results in both physical and psychological harm. The crime is committed against these persons in such a systematic matter that is incomparable to theft or battery. This evokes an argument that in order to restore their feeling of dignity and security States ought to create national plans for legal aid and compensation to all victims of human trafficking, whether they are irregular or regular migrants.
Author: Julia Muraszkiewicz, member of the TRACE research team and member of STOP THE TRAFFIK Manchester.
About the Trip
In 2014, STOP THE TRAFFIK Australia announced that they would be hosting a 12-day, group trip to India. This was an amazing opportunity for STOP THE TRAFFIK volunteers to travel to the world’s epicentre of human trafficking, meet with campaigners and prevention workers, visit projects on the ground, and learn more about the culture of human trafficking. Natalia, a trip participant, was eager to share her experiences and offered to do an interview with STOP THE TRAFFIK so all of our activists could learn about trafficking in India. She said, “The idea is to be aware and understand more of how [human trafficking] works in India,”.
Over their 12-day journey, the group visited Hyderabad, Mumbia, and Assam.
In Hyderabad, Natalia said she was impressed by the work being done by the Dalit Freedom Network (DFN) who work with “‘untouchable’ women called Jonanis who are forced into prostitution as a cultural/religious norm. DFN runs a shelter home for their daughters to save them from being prostituted and instead they attend the DFN school!”
While the group was visiting Mumbai, they were able to visit some of the city’s slums and witness the work being done by Oasis (the parent charity of STOP THE TRAFFIK) to support women who have been prostituted with support services like childcare and training. Oasis also works to raise awareness in slums. If you’re interested in learning more about the work that Oasis is doing in India, watch this video.
Finally, the group visited Assam – a region that is well known to STOP THE TRAFFIK for the exploitation that is prevalent in the region’s many tea plantations. Natalia said, “We saw the awareness and community strengthening work being done which has had amazing results at building resilient and aware communities – trafficking has reduced significantly and they’ve traced and returned some young people who had been trafficked.”
Interview with Natalia
You must have met some amazing people when you were out there. Amongst such amazing people what stories should our activists hear?
These LEGENDS (pictured above) work with Nepalese women in New Mumbai; they’re trafficked in on the promise of jobs because Nepal is poor and Mumbai is developing but they’re then forced into prostitution. These guys (Bhanu, Abhay and David) work with these women and their children; they’re not a charity, just workers linked to a church.
Of specific awesomeness was the fact that they realised the children…slept underneath the mums’ beds while they were prostituted so they built beds and bought an old brothel room in the alley – the same alley where the women live and are prostituted – now they run it as a small daycare and night shelter. Their vision is to buy a room upstairs for vocational training. Abhay has actually adopted four kids at the request of the mums – it started cos’ one woman said her pimp had threatened to put her daughter ‘to work’ as she wasn’t earning enough.
What were some of the greatest challenges that you faced on your trip?
- Follow groups like STOP THE TRAFFIK, Oasis UK & the Dalit Freedom Network on social media and share the updates.
- Be aware of how use language e.g. instead of saying ‘prostitutes’ or ‘sex workers’ when discussing trafficking, terms like ‘prostituted women’ ‘users’ ‘sex buyers’ are are accurate and show the subtle but important difference between sex work and sex slavery.
- Buy ethical tea, chocolate, etc. and instead of waiting for a campaign, just message the ones who don’t sell these with tweets/emails etc.
- Raise awareness & money in fun ways e.g. tea party, dvd eve, henna party if raising money for STT India (just established).
Natalia, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and experiences! We’re so glad that you were able to have such a wonderful and eye-opening trip with STOP THE TRAFFIK Australia!
The days may be getting longer but that winter chill is still in the air. We bet a hot bowl of Traffik-Free Chilli Con Carne will keep you cozy this weekend! Download our recipe card so you can make a tasty meal tonight and to learn more about trafficking within chocolate supply chains.
Psssst: STOP THE TRAFFIK recommends you purchase fair trade chocolate to use in this recipe, like Green & Black’s. Certification marks by Fairtrade, UTZ, or the Rainforest Alliance show consumers like you and I that the chocolate has been made in monitored conditions that aim to prevent the trafficking of children and adults for labour.
STOP THE TRAFFIK’s Traffik-Free Chilli Con Carne Recipe
STOP THE TRAFFIK wins GMP bid to co-ordinate Modern Slavery Network in Manchester
10 November 2015: STOP THE TRAFFIK (STT) have been successful in securing a bid from the Greater Manchester Police Crime Commissioner (PCC), Tony Lloyd to develop and coordinate a Modern Slavery Network in the Greater Manchester area. STOP THE TRAFFIK is a global charity working to prevent human trafficking and disrupt its supply chains around the world.
This announcement builds on 7 years of experience held by our volunteer group STT Manchester in delivering successful community prevention models. STT have employed a full time coordinator to develop the Modern Slavery Network in Manchester to bring together multiple local stakeholders that will actively safeguarding vulnerable communities and ensure the Greater Manchester area become a hostile place for traffickers to operate. The dedicated coordinator will pull together existing best practices to equip and empower front-line staff to protect trafficked persons.
“This commitment from the PCC builds on the pioneering partnership with GMP, and STT Manchester and other third sector organisations to tackle this complex crime in comprehensive and creative way.” – Julia Pugh
“As the newly appointed Network Coordinator for STT I am delighted to have the opportunity to work alongside so many partner organisations and groups, bringing together the shared knowledge and experience to support an effective response to Modern Slavery in Greater Manchester.” – Hannah Flint, newly appointed Network Co-ordinator
“Modern slavery cannot be addressed by any one single agency. It is crucial that we work together to build on existing partnerships and form new ones, to collaboratively tackle this challenging issue. We are excited to be working with STOP THE TRAFFIK as we continue to develop the Greater Manchester response to Modern Slavery.” – Chief Superintendent Russ Jackson, Regional Modern Slavery Lead
STOP THE TRAFFIK CEO, Ruth Dearnley, said, “This is an excellent opportunity for STOP THE TRAFFIK and the GMP to strategically tackle exploitation and modern slavery in Manchester through shared intelligence, campaigns, training and events. We are really excited at the prospect to implement real, systemic change and hope to see this model replicated by police forces around the country.”
“As borders become increasingly blurred and the movement of people across countries is higher than it has ever been, the phenomenon of modern slavery is a danger which plagues us. This event hopes to bring light to the unfolding crisis and ask what can be done to put an end to human trafficking. Join us to find out what modern slavery in the UK looks like, how to spot the signs and what you can do about it.”
Ben Brown and STOP THE TRAFFIK CEO, Ruth Dearnley.
“I found it very inspirational listening to Mrs Dearnley speak at the Abbey Service. She made me think about what I could do to Stop the Traffik and I thought fundraising would help to save lives. As I had already made some money for stop the Traffik, I thought about how I could raise some more and decided to raise money by busking in the Maltings.
I played my saxophone for five hours on 22nd December. A lot of people stopped and asked me what the charity was for. When I told them that it was for stopping slavery they were happy to put in some money. The average donation was £2.” – Ben Brown.
Ben attended a presentation put on at his school by STOP THE TRAFFIK’s CEO, Ruth Dearnley, last year. Ben was so inspired by the presentation that he went out and raised £358 all on his own!
Way to go, Ben! It is activists like you who enable STOP THE TRAFFIK to do the work that we do. Thank you so much for your time and keep up the amazing work!
If you are interested in arranging to have a STOP THE TRAFFIK representative visit your school and speak about trafficking, visit our site here to receive more information!
Photo Courtesy of: Good On You/Facebook
Last week Collectively published a list of the 6 best apps to help consumers be more conscious when purchasing food, clothing, and beauty products.
When STOP THE TRAFFIK launched a decade ago a market for apps like this didn’t exist so we are very excited to see that apps which encourage shoppers to be conscious are growing in popularity!
Of the 6 apps listed, we’ve earmarked 2 as being particularly helpful in helping consumers avoid purchasing products that may be associated with unscrupulous production practices or unethical corporate owners.
- BuyCott – This app gives users the ability to scan items and trace the ownership of the item’s brand. BuyCott users can use this information to create campaigns to cull support for or against a particular corporation and organize a boycott against purchasing the products produced by them. How STT activists can use it: Start a campaign and boycott brands who are known to have poor labour standards.
- Not My Style – Users of this app can learn about the transparency of certain clothing brands and what their production practices are like. How STT activists can use it: Before you buy, review the practices of the brand and see what behaviours you may be supporting through a purchase.
Do you have any favourite apps that help you be a more ethical consumer?
Earlier this year we announced that we had been chosen as the Financial Times’ Seasonal appeal partner. Today that announcement became a reality as the paper published its first editorial story in support of the partnership.
Readers of the FT will have today learnt about the problem of human trafficking in China – just one of many forms in which this global crime manifests itself.
Commenting on the piece, Ruth Dearnley, CEO of STOP THE TRAFFIK says, “We are incredibly grateful to the FT for helping us shine a light on the global travesty of people trafficking. It is our greatest hope that this will lead to a step-change in public awareness of the extent, scale and complexities of the crime and that we will gain greater support in our mission to make communities resilient to the work of traffickers around the world.”
In the days to come, further editorial pieces will examine different aspects of human trafficking and each piece will be placed on a bespoke microsite to drive awareness of the partnership.
STOP THE TRAFFIK works to help communities become resilient to human trafficking. We provide education about what human trafficking looks like, how it occurs and what to do in the event that someone is being trafficked. The more knowledge people in a community have about human trafficking, the more they can do to protect themselves and others around them.
But a community isn’t just a group of people living close to one another. Communities and the protection they provide can extend across the world through email, telephone and websites like Facebook.
Researchers at the University of Southern California have written a new report on the role these extended communities can play in cases of labour trafficking. One key finding the researchers made is that these extended communities are an important source of protection against human trafficking. But they also found that creating these extended communities isn’t as simple as giving everyone phones and internet access – we’ll see that making extended resilient communities is a bit more complicated.
How labour trafficking happens
Many cases of people being trafficked into forced labour happen when people migrate to other countries for work. In an unfamiliar country, and often with little information about their rights and no support network, people are at the mercy of human traffickers posing as employers or recruitment agencies.
In countries like the Philippines people often place themselves in the hands of recruitment agencies, who arrange everything including jobs in the new country, as well as travel and visas.
Most of these agencies are legitimate, but some have the aim of trapping people and selling them into exploitation once they arrive in the new country. The researchers from USC interviewed one woman from the Philippines who was a survivor of domestic servitude in Qatar. She was trafficked by people posing as a recruitment agency who distributed leaflets in her village advertising jobs.
How being connected can prevent trafficking
There are different ways that access to mobile phones and internet can help protect people from being trafficked into forced labour. With access to the internet, people would have the opportunity to research recruitment agencies to find out if they are legitimate. The woman trafficked to Qatar didn’t have the opportunity to research her recruitment agency – the only information she had was the leaflet the company distributed in her village.
A key way that being connected through phone and internet can protect people from trafficking is that it gives them access to these extended communities that act as support networks. A person can keep in touch and report their situation for friends and family, who can themselves look out for the indicators that the person is vulnerable to being exploited.
The USC researchers found that being isolated from support networks is a key sign of labour trafficking. They interviewed three women from the Philippines who migrated to other countries into jobs as domestic workers. The women said that it was standard practice for their phones to be confiscated by their recruitment agencies when they arrived at their destinations. One woman was unable to contact her relatives back home for a year.
Since the extended communities provided by internet and telephones offer such a key protection against human trafficking, it might seem that trafficking can be prevented by making sure people have access to these technologies. But it isn’t that simple. The USC report finds that as well as access to technologies, people also need education about human trafficking. Without knowledge about the nature of trafficking, people can have access to these networks but still find themselves at risk.
Why education about trafficking is essential
Having access to phones and internet is not by itself enough to help protect people from trafficking – people also need the skills and knowledge to find information and decide which information is trustworthy. Organisations like the Migrant Workers Overseas Welfare Adminstration and the Blas F. Ople centre have collaborated with Microsoft and Google to provide education programs for migrant workers on using the internet to verify information and seek assistance.
But as well as knowing how to use technology, people also need to know about the nature of human trafficking if they are going to use this technology to protect themselves and others in their community. Without knowledge about the signs of trafficking and what to do if somebody is being trafficked, friends and family will be unable to let the right people know when they’re being trafficked.
USC researchers interviewed a woman from the Phillipines who applied to a job as a domestic worker in the Middle East. But the recruitment agency suddenly changed plans – the woman was put on a boat going to Malaysia, and on arrival was made to stay in a hotel room for a number of days. The woman was worried about her situation and texted a friend for reassurance. The friend repeatedly told the woman that everything was normal despite the woman feeling more and more uneasy about her situation.
As the woman was being transported to another destination in a van, it was stopped by Malaysian police and everyone in the van – including the woman – was put in a Malaysian jail. She managed to hide her phone when entering the jail and got a message out to Philippine officials who oversaw her release. She is now at a shelter in the Philippines.
In this case, the woman had access to a mobile phone and contacted her friend when she became suspicious about her situation. But the friend was unable to recognise the signs that the woman was being trafficked and so was unable to help her. More knowledge about the signs of trafficking could have helped.
So, being connected through phones and the internet can be a huge factor in protecting people from human trafficking. If they can be connected to their friends and family even when they are in another country it is more likely that they will be able to avoid human traffickers or get the right help if they find that they are being targeted by traffickers. But education and awareness about human trafficking still remains key in protecting people from traffickers.
Social media makes it easy to connect with people all over the world – and by doing so it also presents many opportunities for traffickers to deceive and exploit vulnerable people. Thanks to many awareness-raising campaigns over the years, people in some areas of the world are well aware of the need to be cautious of strangers on the internet. But this message is still of constant importance, as traffickers are still finding new ways to connect with and exploit people using social media.
But as well as giving traffickers ways to target people, social media also equips us with many new tools in the fight against trafficking. And, as we’ll see, these tools have been used by anti-trafficking groups in sometimes dramatic and surprising ways.
How do human traffickers use social media?
The fact that many people are well aware of the dangers of the internet does make it harder for traffickers to gain the trust of their targets. But with the opportunity to connect with so many people, traffickers are able to find those who are in situations where they are vulnerable.
In one case, Hope, a 17-year old girl from the US, made a social media post saying she hated her mother – and immediately received a reply from a woman offering her a place to stay away from home. The woman picked Hope up just 45 minutes later and drove her to a motel. But here it became clear what the woman’s true motives were – Hope was drugged and trafficked for sex across 8 states before finally being rescued three weeks later.
Trafficking through social media is also a problem in areas of the world where messages about internet safety aren’t as common. Indonesia is one of the world’s top Facebook users with 50 million people signed up to the site – and its capital Jakarta is the most active Twitter city in the world according to social media company Semiocast. But according to this article investigating trafficking through social media, people in Indonesia are unaware of the dangers of posting personal information online. Teenagers often post personal photos, addresses and phone numbers online, leaving themselves more open to those who want to exploit them.
Social media in the fight against human trafficking
Crowdsourcing for immediate action
One very direct case of using the internet’s people power to stop trafficking happened in 2010, when a US man named Dan Reetz posted ‘Help me help my friend in D.C’.
The post appealed for information about a former student of his, a Russian woman who was travelling with a female friend. The women had answered an advert that promised legitimate work in Washington, D.C. But when they arrived in the US their contact changed the details – and now told them to travel to New York City, with promises of hostess work at a lounge. Dan Reetz suspected his friend was being trafficked.
Within a few minutes of the post people were offering information and support – they called human trafficking hotlines and the Russian embassy in Washington, researched the lounge where the women were promised work and offered places to stay for the women. Finally someone who saw the post went to meet the women at the bus depot in New York and was able to convince them not to meet their suspicious contact.
Infiltrating Facebook groups
One group in Madagascar is taking on the responsibility for raising awareness. The Zà Association [link] found that the messages about traffickers’ use of social media were not being heard by a wide enough audience in Madagascar. So they took it upon themselves to ‘infiltrate’ 250 Malagasy Facebook groups and distribute messages of awareness about human trafficking.
Campaigning and raising awareness
At STOP THE TRAFFIK we aim to raise awareness about the nature of trafficking so people can safeguard themselves and others from trafficking – and the internet is one of the best ways to get the message out there.
Our Make Fashion Traffik-Free and Traffik-Free Chocolate campaigns have used social media to bring together thousands of people willing to use their consumer power to pressure big companies to stamp out human trafficking in their supply chains. From flooding big companies with tweets, to signing online petitions, to sharing awareness-raising videos and images with their friends, social media has empowered thousands of our supporters to make a difference.
Though the connectedness provided by the internet and social media gives traffickers more ways to reach vulnerable people it also gives more ways to work together to prevent human trafficking. Trafficking is a global crime, and using the internet and social media gives us the opportunity to join together across our global community to stop it.
At STOP THE TRAFFIK we work to raise awareness of human trafficking, because this is one of the best ways to protect those who are targeted by human traffickers. By learning about the nature of human trafficking, we can make it harder for human traffickers to hide their crimes and empower communities to recognise and disrupt the tactics of human traffickers.
Since knowledge is one of our main tools for disrupting the activities of traffickers, misconceptions about the nature of human trafficking can be harmful to the fight against the buying and selling of people. Confusions about what trafficking is, how it can take place, or what it looks like mean that spotting and preventing trafficking in communities is all the more difficult.
So, here are 5 of the biggest myths about human trafficking and the actual truths they conceal.
MYTH 1: Human trafficking always takes place in illegal industries
It’s true that some cases of human trafficking take place within illegal industries. Children or teenagers are forced to work in cannabis ‘factories’ set up in residential premises. , forced into sex work or sometimes even bought and sold for organ harvesting.
But one of the big problems is that human trafficking is part of supply chains of companies selling everyday products like tea, chocolate and clothes. People are made to work in terrible conditions, and not given the pay that they were told they would receive. Big companies often don’t even know where the materials products come from – but it is their responsibility to know and to make sure their products aren’t coming from forced labor. STOP THE TRAFFIK campaigns for companies to root out human trafficking in their supply chains.
MYTH2: People who are being trafficked will always try to seek help
Human traffickers often use psychological means of control over those they are trafficking – such threats and deception. The trafficker might threaten to harm a person’s family if he escapes, or may make promises about the pay the person will receive.
This means that people who are being trafficked may not seek help even if they are in public places or situations where people could be made aware of their circumstances. They may be afraid of the consequences if they do, or they may be getting deceived by human traffickers. If you suspect someone is being trafficked, the fact that they aren’t trying to get help doesn’t mean that they are okay.
MYTH 3: People who are trafficked are always taken by force
Traffickers often prey on people who are already in vulnerable situations. Their biggest tools are deception and psychological manipulation, which means they often don’t use force to take away peoples’ freedom.
In Tamil Nadu, India, traffickers visit poor and marginalized communities to persuade parents to sign up their daughters for employment in textiles factories. They will give false promises about the hours, wages and working conditions – and will even show parents pictures of modern, clean buildings as examples of where their daughters will be working. Given these promises, the parents willingly send their daughters away to the factories. But the reality is that the girls sent off with the traffickers will be forced to work long hours in hazardous conditions, and most do not even receive the pay they were promised.
MYTH 4: Statistics on trafficking are accurate
Trafficking is a criminal industry based on secrecy – which means that data is difficult to collect and concrete statistics about the scale of human trafficking are hard to come by. The figures quoted by many news sources, even if presented as hard facts, are often just estimates made by experts based on limited number of human trafficking cases that have been detected.
At STOP THE TRAFFIK we use the most credible and frequently quoted statistics, but we always make sure to emphasise that these are just estimates.
MYTH 5: Traffickers only target those in poorer communities
Although some forms of trafficking are more prevalent in poor and rural communities, traffickers can operate anywhere, in any country and in any community. Just because a person is from a developed country or a relatively affluent situation doesn’t mean that they are not at risk from traffickers’ deception and manipulation.
STOP THE TRAFFIK has worked with Sophie Hayes – a woman from the UK who is a survivor of human trafficking and who has now written a book about her experiences set up a foundation to combat sex trafficking and exploitation. Sophie’s situation was very different from living in poverty or in a small rural village – and her story shows that anyone could be targeted by traffickers.
In recent months the news has been filled with stories of people fleeing war and unrest in the Middle East to seek better, safer lives for themselves and their families in Europe.
But since European countries impose limits on the number of people they will allow, many people are resorting to crossing borders illegally – often paying smugglers to transport them by boat or lorry. These trips are dangerous and put people at risk, as numerous tragic losses of life have shown.
The news stories describing these events often refer to the smugglers paid to take people across borders as ‘human traffickers’ – but in fact, human trafficking and people smuggling are two very different things.
The distinction between human trafficking and people smuggling can get blurry – and reporters using the two terms interchangeably doesn’t help.
Knowledge is one of our primary tools in protecting vulnerable people from being exploited at the hands of human traffickers, so it’s important to understand why human trafficking and people smuggling are different.
Human trafficking and people smuggling: what’s the difference?
Human trafficking involves people being bought and sold for profit. They are taken involuntarily from their communities by force or deception and are moved to a different place, where they are forced into street crime, domestic servitude, labour and other activities.
The key difference between people smuggling and human trafficking is that those who are being taken across borders by smugglers are doing so voluntarily. Smuggling is a transaction between people who are paying to be taken somewhere and the smugglers who are paid to take them. People are not deceived or taken by force but ‘employ’ smugglers to take them across borders without detection.
Traffickers take people against their will and exploit them for profit; smugglers are paid to take people across borders – this, in principle, is the difference between human trafficking and people smuggling. But there are also some ways in which the two converge – people who pay to be transported across borders put themselves in a situation where they are vulnerable to being trafficked.
People smuggling and the threat of trafficking
Paying to be taken across borders by a smuggler is a desperate measure. The means of transport are crowded and unsafe – thousands of people have lost their lives trying to reach their destination at sea or by land. People put themselves entirely at the mercy of the smugglers who are responsible for transporting them, which can lead to them being taken advantage of. It is in situations like this where the line between people smuggling and human trafficking becomes less clear.
In principle, the relationship between the smuggler and the people being taken across borders should end when they reach their destination – this is what people believe when they pay to be taken across borders. But in practice, this may not be the case.
Smugglers often keep people in their power even once they have reached their destination – they can force people to work for years in illegal industries in order to pay off their debts to the smuggler. Further, smugglers are even able to take people to destinations they did not want to end up at. In entering into agreements with smugglers, people give smugglers a power over them that can be abused.
Even if people manage to safely cross borders, their illegal status can make it difficult for them to find work to support themselves. This means that they are especially at risk of being targeted by traffickers. Traffickers prey on people who are in desperate situations by making false offers of well-paying jobs and a better life – but the traffickers’ true aim is to exploit people for their own gain.
Why we need to protect refugees from the threat of trafficking
At STOP THE TRAFFIK we work to stop people being bought and sold, exploited for profit by others and treated as products rather than human beings. In principle people smuggling doesn’t involve any of this. Although people smuggling is an illegal and dangerous practice that puts peoples’ lives at risk, these people are voluntarily committing to being smuggled across borders.
But we must be aware that when people are in precarious circumstances – like having to cross borders in search of safety from war – they are particularly at risk from human traffickers. Regardless of our views about immigration, those of us who are committed to stopping human trafficking need to look out for people who are in situations where they can be targeted by human traffickers.
It’s only by working together to offer protection to the most vulnerable members of our global society that we can prevent human trafficking from taking place.
(Photo: Christopher Jahn/IFRC)