The Trafficking Research Project has gone from strength to strength in our second year. We have expanded our geographic scope to include the United States, gained high profile contributors and seen our blog “hits” increase substantially. TTRP also launched our new logo, with credit and thanks to Alex Kim. We continued to strategically define our organisational purpose and value, made a number of submissions to consultations and inquiries, were active participants in Singapore’s civil society forum on trafficking and monitored the development of legislation in a number of jurisdictions.
TTRP kicked off the year by responding to a call for submissions from the UK’s All Party Parliamentary Group on Prostitution and the Global Sex Trade. Treading well-worn ground, the inquiry sought to “assess the operation of the current legal settlement on prostitution in England and Wales”, our submission focused on highlighting the dangers of criminalising sex workers and the problems with the much lauded Swedish model. We also critiqued the consultation process for the UK’s draft Modern Slavery Bill. In Singapore, we highlighted our concerns about the State’s response to the riots in Little India, and commented on to the US Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report’s assessment of the Singapore’s approach to trafficking.
The TTRP blog has covered a broad range of topics including the use of witchcraft in trafficking, adolescents in the sex industry, the role of recruitment agencies, changes to the UK Crown Prosecution Service’s guidance on prosecuting domestic trafficking cases, the use of blacklisting in the UK, and the tensions around the concept of agency and evolving capacities in young people, among others.
This year we expanded our range of contributors. Libby Clarke of HOME kicked off the guest posts for the year by evaluating the World Social Forum on Migrations while Meena Varma from the Dalit Solidarity Network discussed the relationship between caste discrimination and trafficking. Bringing a new dimension to the debate, Neill Wilkins, from the Institute for Human Rights and Business, looked at the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Turkey provided the focus of Stephanie Nawyn’s post, while journalist Stephanie Hepburn scrutinised the relationship between displacement and human trafficking in Syria. A number of our contributors assessed proposed legislation, Professor Nicola Phillips examined the Transparency in UK Company Supply Chains Private Members Bill, while Mike Dottridge discussed the use of the term “modern slavery”. TTRP co-authored a post with SWEAT, a South African sex worker advocacy organisation, on constructive collaboration between NGOs and Khara Glackin, from STEP, explored forced labour in Northern Ireland.
Our blog hits have increased by 25% in the last 12 months and continue to grow. While the bulk of our hits come from the UK, United States and Singapore, we have had visitors from Palestine, Aruba and Vatican City, to name but a few of the 128 countries. Dr Graham Ellison’s post, The sex trade in Northern Ireland: the creation of a moral panic?, and Paul Buckley’s post, The bias in counter-trafficking data and need for improved data collection: reflections on trafficking onto fishing boats, were well received. While the presence of trafficking in the fishing industry was also considered by Rebecca Surtees, of the NEXUS Institute, who examined the application of the relevant legal and regulatory framework. Our most regular contributor, Rebecca also looked to the Balkans in her assessment of the ethical principles of the re/integration of victims of trafficking and the challenges in research in human trafficking.
We are very grateful to everyone for giving their time and thoughts so generously.
As in 2013, we are keen to further develop international dialogue on issues concerning human trafficking and exploitation and engage new contributors, so please email us thetraffickingresearchproject[at]gmail.com if you would like to write a post. We are particularly interested in expanding our geographical reach and the range of expertise on this blog.