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Monthly Archives: August 2012

‘Dear God’: Can prayer stop trafficking?

I recently attended an edited excerpt of the film Nefarious: Merchant of Souls by Exodus Cry, an event organised by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Human Trafficking, with an introduction by Exodus Cry’s Director of Awareness and Prevention.  While I personally objected to the quality of the ‘documentary’ with its CSI style re-enactments of  women being ‘traded’ by sex traffickers and interviews with former British and American prostitutes  replete with moral condemnation for those who choose to go into sex work, it was the accompanying promotional literature which stood out.  It stated:

Prayer is our central value.  We believe it is the most powerful and effective weapon to combat slavery.  Our global prayer initiatives include City in Focus, Exodus Cry Prayer Watch – a coalition of prayer meetings – Adopt a Nation, and the Red Light Prayer initiative. (more…)

Hell bent on “abolition”

Abolitionist rhetoric is widely used within the anti-trafficking movement to call individuals to action – to be part of a movement to end modern-day slavery. These days, becoming an abolitionist seems fairly straightforward. One can influence change by taking part in education, outreach or advocacy efforts. Abolitionism itself has become a raison d’être with which to engage the public, spread awareness and create support for the issue. Unfortunately, as we’ve seen elsewhere in the anti-trafficking field, where language intends to evoke an emotional call to action – and does so successfully – its influence is seldom questioned. (more…)

TTRP in the media!

TTRP features in an article by Georgina Vass on Public House Singapore.  The article gives an impression of who TTRP are and what we are trying to achieve.

More than just sex trafficking

By Georgina Vass

Introducing The Trafficking Research Project.

Georgina Vass speaks to Kathryn Baer and Caroline Parkes about “The Trafficking Research Project“, which is aimed at making a positive and pragmatic contribution to the current policy and research developments on the issue of human trafficking.

Kathryn Baer and Caroline Parkes met last November in a coffee queue at a human trafficking conference in Singapore. They immediately agreed that it was difficult to discuss trafficking in Singapore in detail because so little is understood about the situation here.  Baer and Parkes realized they were in a unique position to develop a research project on the subject given their past work experience: Baer has a background in woman’s rights and social policy while Parkes worked in human rights. Two months later, The Trafficking Research Project (TTRP) was “live” and seeking to fill a policy research gap in the fledgling Non-Government Organization, (NGO) sector in Singapore. (more…)

If you build it, they will come…

Big sports events = trafficking (or so the perception would have us all believe). Campaigns in anticipation of the Olympics in Athens (2004), World Cup in Germany (2006), Winter Olympics in Canada (2010) and the World Cup in South Africa (2010) have all highlighted this issue.  This has also been the accepted position of the UK Government, some NGOs and the media in the run-up to the London Olympics.  In 2009 the Metropolitan Police Authority warned that the Olympics would lead to a rise in sex trafficking and prostitution.  The following year, Tessa Jowell, then Minister for the Olympics, commented: ‘Major sporting events can be a magnet for the global sex and trafficking industry; this is wholly unacceptable.  I am determined that traffickers will not exploit London 2012.’  Out of this landscape emerged the Human Trafficking and London 2012 Network (henceforth, the Network) which included stakeholders such as Metropolitan Police, the Human Trafficking Foundation and Anti-Slavery International.  According to their website, the Network aims:

to build on lessons learnt from previous sporting events and work with all the relevant agencies to avoid duplication, identify gaps and emerging issues and work together to tackle them. [… and they] have delivered a series of outcomes including securing the commitment of LOCOG and the GLA City Operations Team to give prominence to anti-trafficking messages within promotional materials, ongoing engagement with various sectors to raise-awareness of human trafficking and producing a set of indicators to help identify victims of forced labour. (more…)

Constructing the Big Bad Wolf in Northern Ireland

In April 2012, Northern Ireland achieved its first trafficking conviction when Matyas Pis was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment followed by 18 months on licence (parole) at Belfast Crown Court. The Belfast Recorder (judge) was clear in his judgment: ‘…I want to take this opportunity to make it very clear that anyone who is brought before the courts in Northern Ireland for offences of this nature can, other than in exceptional circumstances, expect a custodial sentence.’ (While his comments are positive, one wonders what is meant by the term ‘exceptional circumstances’.)

For a society emerging from over 30 years of conflict, the presence of human trafficking could be considered a mark of the normalised criminal landscape in Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland is unique in the United Kingdom as it shares an international land border with another state, the Republic of Ireland; this, largely indiscernible, border potentially functions as an open gateway for illegal migration into the UK. This route has taken on a new significance for traffickers following increased security in place at UK airports; according to the 2012 US Trafficking in Persons report, this border has seen a rise in trafficking in 2011-2012. (more…)